The 2021 fiscal year has been a challenging one so far for any company involved in the travel marketplace. In the same period last year, Australian insurer nib sold nearly 160,000 travel insurance policies. Nonetheless, Fitzgibbon remains philosophical, saying to Financial Review: “We’ll see what the world looks like when, hopefully, Covid-19 is behind us. We’re not a distressed seller. People will travel again. And there’s a nice symbiosis between selling health insurance and travel insurance.”
Indeed, the lack of travel insurance sales has been somewhat offset by an increase in customers buying health insurance – there has been a 1.9-per-cent increase in health insurance customer numbers, although this news is tempered by the fact that claims are outpacing revenue growth. nib has, therefore, reported a 40-per-cent fall in full-year profit for the 2019-2020 fiscal year. The fallout from the pandemic, noted Fitzgibbon, has ‘blurred what were otherwise some good results’.
He explained: “We actually accounted for more than 41 per cent of total industry growth for the year. Our thinking is that the pandemic has heightened community awareness of the risk of disease, the need for protection and the valued role private health insurance plays.”
Over half of new policyholders were under the age of 40, which certainly demonstrates the power of a new risk to a demographic that wouldn’t previously have considered their need for health insurance to be very great. Of the 12,000 net added policyholders, well over two-thirds invested in increased hospital coverage amounts. Perhaps the ongoing news of pressure on public healthcare systems has increased the awareness of many about the need for guaranteed access to high-quality care, no matter what the global health emergency situation.