Australian & New Zealand Operations business review
“Our focus on operational efficiencies and disciplined underwriting has delivered a COR of 91.3% – a solid result in light of the storms on the eastern seaboard, fires in South and Western Australia and a competitive trading environment.”Tim Plant
Chief Executive Officer • Australian & New Zealand Operations
Enabling vital helicopter services
QBE has helped a helicopter operator grow from a single aircraft into a fleet of 12 with the capability to provide vital air ambulance services to those in need.
Toll Group is Australia’s largest provider of transport and logistics, including specialised mission‑critical helicopter services. QBE has insured Toll’s helicopter operations since it consisted of one Bell 205 aircraft and our strong partnership delivering risk management initiatives has helped Toll expand its fleet. The latest challenge has involved the introduction of eight state-of-the-art, purpose-built medical helicopters to enable Toll to service its NSW Air Ambulance contract. QBE has been right there to help Toll manage this leap in equipment sophistication and the contract’s rapid timeframe. This included bringing in specialist knowledge to assist with the transition and ensure Toll can provide an outstanding emergency response service.
1 Up 3% on a constant currency basis.
2 Up 2% on a constant currency basis.
Growth expectations for 2016 are underpinned by our successful tender for the South Australian CTP business, a heightened focus on retention, planned enhancements to the customer experience and continued collaboration with our distribution partners. At the same time, our strong and disciplined approach to underwriting coupled with further operational efficiency initiatives will underpin solid returns.
With an increased focus on the customer experience, we will continue to invest in technology and processes to meet changing customer needs and expectations (including offering our customers even greater choice in accessing our services) and building further efficiency into our operating models.
We will strive to make QBE an even better place to work through continued investment in our people via leadership and technical training and will continue our support for the community through the QBE Foundation and its partners.
The Australian and New Zealand economies continue to grow, albeit more slowly than in prior years, impacted by declining commodity prices and increasing levels of government debt. Interest rates continue to trend downwards while unemployment remains low.
2015 saw a number of severe storms on the eastern seaboard and bushfires in Victoria and South and Western Australia. These events have highlighted the important role insurance plays in providing community support. Government is encouraged to support building community resilience and continued prioritisation of mitigation measures in areas exposed to natural catastrophes such as cyclone, flood and bushfire.
The insurance market remains competitive in Australia and New Zealand with increased levels of capital available through local and foreign capital providers. The Australian market has seen rate decreases of around 2% over the past 12 months while New Zealand continues to experience significant rate decreases.
Continued pressure on lenders’ mortgage insurance (LMI) by regulators has seen the housing market slow which has decreased the demand for LMI. Despite lower demand, pricing has held firm and underwriting profitability remains strong.
Our underwriting performance remains strong despite competitive pressures and a higher than average expected level of catastrophes. Significant investment in our workplace environment and new systems has led to improvements in workforce engagement and customer satisfaction.
There have been a number of changes to our executive team this year following Colin Fagen’s transition into a newly created Group role. The transfer of the CEO position from Colin Fagen to Tim Plant has been seamless and reinforces the depth of leadership within Australian & New Zealand Operations.
We have also created a new transformation unit to align and drive strategy, innovation and transformation across our business and will welcome a new Executive General Manager, Marketing in 2016 to further improve the positioning of our product set.
Finally, I would like to thank the Australian and New Zealand teams for their ongoing commitment and for delivering another excellent result.
The QBE Foundation - In the community
Helping Australians achieve independence
Our long-term support of Guide Dogs Australia has helped fund programs that enable children and young people with impaired vision to travel confidently and safely in the community. Their Youth Program helps young people to develop essential skills for future independence, by encouraging them to venture out of their comfort zone by exploring new environments and activities.