Suncorp has confirmed that Asteron Life New Zealand was not included in the sale of Suncorp’s Australian life business to TAL Australia.
Chief executive, Paul Smeaton, says the company’s life business remains core to the Suncorp New Zealand strategy moving forward.
TAL stated the deal would cost approximately $640 million plus adjusted net worth on completion with Suncorp telling its shareholders the total cost would be approximately $725 million.
The two groups have yet to complete legally binding sale agreements but in an announcement to the ASX, Suncorp noted this was expected to be completed by the end of the month.
Suncorp also stated it expected the transaction to be completed by 31 December 2018, subject to the satisfaction of conditions and approvals in Australia and Japan.
Suncorp New Zealand’s life insurance business profit has remained steady, the company reported in its full year results.
Asteron Life and AA Life (a joint venture with the New Zealand Automobile Association) delivered Net Profit After Tax (NPAT) of $39 million, down $1 million on the prior year due to lapse and claim volatility. In-force premium grew by 4.9%.
Smeaton said the business expects in-force premium and underlying profit to continue to grow.
“In 2017 we introduced AsteronConnect to provide our life insurance advisers with a digital platform to make it easier for them to on-board new business,” said Smeaton.
“We also continue to lead the market on retention rates and sustainable business practices that deliver better outcomes for our customers,” he added.
Looking ahead to 2019, Smeaton said that he expects the business to continue to grow as it delivers a range of initiatives against its three strategic priorities, Elevate The Customer, Inspire our People and Drive Momentum and Growth.
“Our vision is to be the number one choice for New Zealanders for the moments that matter, and we continue to work with brokers and business partners to enhance the way we meet the needs of our customers,” he said.