Media releases 2014


Southern Cross expands into new territory

Sunday, 9 February 2014 by Aimee Bourke

New Zealand’s largest health insurer, Southern Cross Health Society, is expanding into new territory with the launch of a direct-to-consumer product at a price point of $1a day for those aged under 35 years.

Stepping outside of its well-established comfort zone with this entry level product, ‘HealthEssentials’ is targeted at the 20’s and 30’s age groups, a demographic that has traditionally eschewed health insurance.

Southern Cross research carried out by TNS shows that 72% of the 20 – 39 market don’t have health insurance and, of that, 37% say they won’t consider getting it.

However they are users of health services. In the last year 69% of this group went to a GP, 31% have been to a dentist or hygienist for a check-up, 19% purchased glasses or contact lenses and 17% went to an optometrist for an eye exam.

Peter Tynan - Southern Cross Health Society Chief Executive, says we first looked at this in 2012 and realised we needed to offer a non-traditional health insurance product.

“Research with the ‘under 40’ market told us that 45% worry about paying for day-to-day living costs and 37% their personal health.

“Whereas health insurance covers you for unexpected health events and typically covers high costs like surgery, diagnostics and specialist consultations, HealthEssentials provides cover for day-to-day health costs.”

The product covers up to 75% of the cost of GP consultations, dental and optical costs, physiotherapy, acupuncture, dietician, chiropractor, osteopathy and remedial massage costs up to the policy limits.

Tynan says the product is designed for younger New Zealanders who want to take more responsibility for their health but struggle to relate to the need for full health insurance.

“With the aim of keeping things easy, members can get a quote, apply and manage their policy online. There has also been a mobile app released today. This is a first for New Zealand and enables members with HealthEssentials to instantly claim and check their benefits.

“Day-to-day cover products are well-established and popular overseas. Southern Cross’ own research shows that the top two perceived benefits of these products are:

  • It covers the essentials without blowing my budget 46%
  • It minimises any financial surprises 45%.”

Editor note:

The research quoted was carried out with between 1,000 – 2,000 New Zealanders. It was conducted by TNS on behalf of Southern Cross in September 2013. Responses were weighted to be representative of the New Zealand over 15 population by age, gender and region.