Zurich to become Australia’s largest retail life insurer

Brad Buzzard 12 December 2017 NEWS

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The Swiss giant's newest acquisition solidifies its strong Australian presence.

Zurich Financial Services has acquired ANZ’s OnePath Life, marking its latest foray into the Australian market.

Pending approval, the $2.85b acquisition will add 1.5 million new customers to Zurich’s books, allowing the Swiss insurance giant to become Australia’s largest retail life insurer as measured by in-force premiums.

Asia Pacific has been a recent focus for Zurich, having acquired Macquarie’s life insurance business in March 2016 and the Cover-More Group (travel insurance) in April 2017.

“Our global leadership has earmarked the Asia Pacific region to be a major engine of growth for the Zurich Group, and this opportunity allows us to accelerate that growth by building on our other recent Australian acquisitions,” Zurich’s APAC CEO Jack Howell said in a statement.

As part of the deal, Zurich also entered into a 20-year agreement with ANZ that allows it to distribute its insurance products through ANZ’s existing distribution channels.

Zurich plans to retain the OnePath branding and will offer the OneCare range as core products alongside Zurich’s own Wealth Protection range. They also plan to provide continuity to OnePath employees affected by the acquisition.

“We are excited about the opportunity to bring two highly talented teams together. OnePath Life is a blue-chip life insurance brand with a long heritage in the Australian market and an experienced, well-regarded team,” Howell said.

So what does this mean for customers? ANZ CEO Shayne Elliott says the sale of OnePath Life was about finding a better fit for the product line so that customers could ultimately be better served.

"The way to win for our customers and our shareholders is to do a few things and do them incredibly well. We're really clear on what those few things are and essentially we are just exiting, shrinking or partnering on everything else," Elliott said during an interview with bluenotes, ANZ's digital publication for news. "It's a marriage of two great companies to do the right thing by customers... it's really about focus, and a commitment to each other to do the best."

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