Aetna, one of the nation’s largest insurers, is the latest big insurer to pull out of Australia.
Aetna chief executive officer Paul J. DeBartolo told a news conference this morning that his company is exiting Australia amid the financial crisis, which is hitting Australian consumers hardest.
He said his company will exit Australia as soon as possible and will continue to offer health insurance in Australia.
DeBartlo said he expects Australian health insurance providers will continue in the US and other countries as the US government continues to bail out insurers.
He said Aetana is leaving to take on the responsibilities of taking over the health insurance market.
“I can tell you that we are going to have a very large team here, including senior managers, in the United States, in Germany and the United Kingdom, as well as other parts of Europe and elsewhere,” DeBartso said.
Aetana will not be leaving Australia, DeBartyo said, adding that he was hopeful that a “good” deal could be struck with the government and the private insurers that Aetnas policies cover.
“I would hope that we could find a very good solution that would allow us to continue to operate here,” he said.
DeBartyos company has more than 4 million customers in Australia, and has an overall revenue of about $4 billion.
The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) said in a statement that the company was withdrawing its insurance coverage as a result of a “high” number of Aetans policies being cancelled, which were issued as a consequence of the financial collapse.
“The decision is being taken to discontinue Aetan policyholders from their existing insurance,” the statement read.
This comes after a number of other insurers have pulled out of the country in recent months.
In March, Medibank, one the country’s largest insurer, announced it was pulling out of Aussie life insurance markets, citing “a significant risk to the solvency of the industry”.
In March last year, Aetas parent company, Axioma, also pulled out.
Axioma has said it is withdrawing its life insurance business because of a decline in its business, but it has since made a deal with its insurer that means it will continue providing life insurance for Aetanas policies.
Axiomas decision comes as Aeta has announced plans to merge with rival Optus in an attempt to secure more funding from the government.
Optus said last week that it would not be able to provide the kind of financing required to complete the merger, while Aetao is currently negotiating with Optus to secure the financing to complete their merger.
A senior Aetamax source told the ABC the company had also considered leaving Australia.
“Optus and Aetanyas merger would have been a disaster for Australian consumers,” the source said.
“It was clear the government was looking to go back to the drawing board and do deals that didn’t provide the same level of certainty for consumers.”
Topics:health,health-policy,business-economics-and-finance,australia,act,aesti-2440,aurelton-2455,act-1708,tas,taiwan,auFirst posted April 18, 2020 13:25:42Contact James DeBarter