Southern Cross hits 13 year membership high

Wednesday , 3 March 2021 by Susannah Walker

Membership of New Zealand’s largest health insurer is at its highest in more than a decade.

Southern Cross Health Society’s membership grew to 881,345 New Zealanders on 31 January 2021, up 6,000 from January 2020.

The number, not seen by the insurer since before 2008, comes on top of four consecutive financial years of member growth.

Southern Cross is a not-for-profit Friendly Society that operates for the benefit of members, not shareholders or overseas owners.

CEO of Southern Cross Health Society, Nick Astwick, said membership numbers were very strong despite the ongoing uncertainty of the pandemic.

“What we have found is that far fewer members have cancelled their insurance as a result of the circumstances around COVID-19 than you might expect.

“We are actually seeing a significant drop in cancellation rates because people want more assurance around their health at this time.”

The growth in membership showed that New Zealanders recognised the importance of health insurance and spoke to the value Southern Cross provides for members, Astwick said.

“Delivering value and affordability for our members is a relentless focus for us. We are committed to delivering the highest level of care through the services we provide.”

The Health Society was constantly innovating in pursuit of better value for its members, including piloting new healthcare initiatives and outcome-based care.

“We want to challenge the way health services are provided.”

Southern Cross Health Society is part of the Southern Cross group, comprised of independent health and insurance-related businesses that share a not-for-profit ethos.

Being part of the wider Southern Cross group offered the potential to leverage the collective power of its healthcare, travel insurance, and pet insurance brands, Astwick said.

“As a group we are committed to finding solutions which deliver more value to New Zealanders.”

“The value we give back to our members and wider customer base is part of the Southern Cross difference and delivering this level of value remains front and centre for us.”

Southern Cross Health Society’s market-leading care of members during the pandemic includes returning $50 million to its members through premium rebates and introducing a range of hardship options.