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Lenders offload insurance businesses

A major bank and a non-major lender have successfully completed the sale of their insurance businesses, while AMP has delayed the commencement date of its new group CFO due to insurance sale delays.

In its continued efforts to “simplify” the bank, ANZ has announced the completion of the sale of ANZ’s life insurance business, OnePath Life, to Zurich Financial Services Australia (Zurich).

As originally announced in December 2017, the sale – estimated to be worth around $2.85 billion – marks the commencement of a 20-year agreement in which Zurich will provide life insurance products to relevant ANZ customers through the bank’s channels.

It is estimated that Zurich will now have a market share of around 20 per cent in retail life and 6 per cent in the local group life market.

ANZ has revealed that more than 500 former ANZ staff members have joined Zurich’s life and investment team as part of the transaction.

Further, a new combined leadership team will take effect, comprising senior members from both the previous Zurich and ANZ/OnePath teams.

Both the Zurich and OnePath brands will continue to compete with each other in the market.

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Commenting on the sale completion, ANZ’s deputy CEO and group executive of wealth Australia, Alexis George, said: “The completion of this sale demonstrates a significant step in our strategy to simplify ANZ, while also providing ongoing support for our customers who want protection with life insurance solutions.

Ms Georgie continued: “Importantly, current ANZ and OnePath life insurance customers will continue to receive the same high quality service and solutions from Zurich, a global insurer with a strong track record of service and innovation.”

Zurich has said that advisers and customers should expect to notice “little, if any, change” as a result of the acquisition, with the “dedicated infrastructure” of both businesses remaining in place.

According to Tim Bailey, CEO of Zurich Life & Investments, by having both the OnePath and Zurich brands in the market, customers and advisers would be able to access a wider breadth of choice.

Updated product and service offerings are expected to be rolled out by both OneLife and Zurich brands during the course of the year.

Mr Bailey commented: “We’re delighted to see the OnePath Life and Zurich teams come together to create one of Australia’s leading life insurers.

“Both Zurich and OnePath share a longstanding Australian heritage, with strong brands that are well supported by advisers and customers.”  

Suncorp sale completion

As well as the ANZ announcement, Suncorp has also revealed that it too has successfully completed the sale of its Australian general insurance distribution business, Resilium.

Effective 1 June, Resilium will operate as a standalone business, with Adrian Kitchin continuing as managing director.

Under the agreement, Resilium will continue to distribute Suncorp’s GIO and Vero-branded products through a “strategic alliance agreement”.

The sale of Resilium reflects Suncorp’s strategy to “further optimise its business while continuing to connect customers to products and services from third parties and intermediated partners”.

Pip Marlow, the CEO of customer marketplace at Suncorp Group, commented: “Suncorp’s relationship with Resilium will continue as we work together to build a strong, successful partnership, with a sharp focus on delivering value to our customers and helping them protect what matters most.

“This is an exciting new chapter for Resilium, and we wish Adrian and the team the very best.”

AMP CFO update

In related news, AMP has announced that its group chief financial officer, Gordon Lefevre, is to remain at the company a while longer as it works on its sale of the Resolution Life business.

As previously announced, AMP appointed a new chief financial officer, John Moorhead, to replace Gordon Lefevre from 1 June 2019.

However, the wealth giant has now revealed that, in order to “ensure an orderly transition and continuity of leadership of the Resolution Life transaction”, Mr Lefevre will remain as group CFO through the 1H19 result to continue to drive the transaction with Resolution.

Mr Moorhead’s commencement as group CFO has therefore been postponed until 1 October 2019.

AMP issued the following statement regarding the matter: “As indicated at the AMP 2019 AGM, the separation is difficult and complex. AMP continues to deal with multiple regulators in different jurisdictions and with other challenging processes to achieve the conditions precedent for the transaction.

“In some instances, these regulatory requirements have changed since the transaction was agreed. However, we continue to work towards completion of the sale by the end of the third quarter of this year.

“During the transition period, Mr Moorhead will assist the CEO with the completion of AMP’s strategic plan.”


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