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Southern Cross Health Society and Southern Cross Pet Insurance respond to FMA public notification

Tuesday , 26 March 2024 by Sherryl Arneil

Southern Cross Health Society and Southern Cross Pet Insurance acknowledge and accept a public warning issued by the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) over system-based discount errors which the businesses identified and subsequently remediated.

Both businesses have carried out a comprehensive process of contacting and refunding members and customers affected by the errors, which were uncovered between 2022 and 2023.

Southern Cross Health Society, a member-driven Friendly Society, has 953,879 members , and its subsidiary Southern Cross Pet Insurance insures 65,464 pet lives. Southern Cross Travel Insurance is also a subsidiary of Southern Cross Health Society.

Southern Cross Health Society Chief Executive Officer Nick Astwick said that as an organisation that is driven by purpose, not profit, the intention is always to do the right thing by members and customers and to look for ways to support them.

“With a business of the Health Society’s size, where we pay more than $6.5 million dollars in health insurance claims every business day, and Southern Cross Pet Insurance paying $100,000 in claims daily, mistakes can unfortunately happen. What’s important is that we find them fast and put things right quickly.

“We’re extremely disappointed that on this occasion we didn’t give our members and customers the value they were expecting, falling short in delivering what they were entitled to. We moved quickly to put it right and we know we simply need to be better for our members,” he said.

Astwick said the issue was acknowledged in the Health Society Group’s FY23 Annual report, which is publicly available.

“I want to assure all of our Society members and Pet insurance customers that we took steps to remedy these matters as soon as they were discovered and we’re confident we have identified all who may have been impacted by these issues,” he said.

“We value our members and customers and will continue working hard to earn the trust they put in us every day.”

Both Southern Cross Health Society and Southern Cross Pet Insurance worked closely with the FMA since discovery of the discounting issues. The FMA, in detailing its decision, recognised the businesses’ transparency, cooperation and completeness in refunding affected members and customers.