Zurich Financial Services Australia will buy OnePath Life from ANZ for $2.85 billion in a deal which will elevate it to the position of the largest retail life insurer in Australia by in-force premium.
Under the terms of the deal, which is subject to regulatory and other approvals, Zurich will sign a 20 year agreement to distribute life insurance products via ANZ’s bank channels and will also be looking at a strategic alliance with IOOF, which recently purchased ANZ’s investment and advice businesses (see: ANZ Wealth to Keep Insurance on the Table).
The deal will result in Zurich purchasing the retail advised, direct and group life suite of products offered by OnePath, as well as master trust and consumer credit insurance products offered by OnePath, but does not include any part of ANZ’s OnePath business in New Zealand.
Zurich Australia Life and Investments Chief Executive, Tim Bailey said both Zurich’s and OnePath’s range of products would remain as core offerings, and be offered concurrently into the market.
“We recognise that Zurich has a strong reputation and position and so does OnePath…and both brands have a strong heritage and are very well regarded by IFA and customers,” Bailey said.
“The OnePath/OneCare range and Zurich Wealth Protection range remain core to our plans going forward…”
“We also believe the underlying product ranges enjoy strong reputations. The OnePath/OneCare range and Zurich Wealth Protection range remain core to our plans going forward and we intend to run both of those brands in the open market,” he said.
The combined product set will result in Zurich holding a 19 per cent share of the Australian retail life insurance market, and six per cent share of the group life market, positioning it as the largest retail life insurer by in-force premium.
Bailey said Zurich did not have currently have a strong position in the group market but it was an area that it hoped to develop further following the acquisition.
“Group life is not a channel that we operate in Australia but it is one that Zurich focuses heavily on from a global perspective, and we are very pleased to enter that part of the market and are committed to growing it,” Bailey said. He added, “…this is the channel where scale matters and we are pleased to achieve that scale through this acquisition.”
The purchase price includes a $1 billion reinsurance agreement under which Zurich will acquire the rights to a portion of the profits from OnePath Life’s in-force insurance book and ANZ, in turn, will receive reinsurance recoveries from Zurich on business reinsured.
The reinsurance arrangements are scheduled to be in place by May 2018 and the total sale is expected to be completed in late 2018, while all products lines will be fully separated from ANZ by 2020.
“Securing a long term partnership with one of Australia’s largest banks and an opportunity to establish a strategic alliance with the second largest advice business in the market will provide us a fantastic base for continued growth and reflects our ongoing belief in, and commitment to, the value of financial advice,” Bailey said.
“This deal sees two true insurance specialists come together, and opens up exciting opportunities for us to invest in new ways to make life insurance more relevant, more engaging and more accessible to Australians,” he added.
“It also makes us the number one retail life insurer in Australia, and we look forward to extending our award-winning proposition to a much expanded customer base,” Bailey said.