The recent completion of the sale of AMP Life to Resolution Life marked the end of an era in the rich history of the Australian life insurance industry.
At the same time, however, it seems that the entry of a firm such as Resolution Life into the Australian market can also herald a new beginning for the sector, as AMP Life CEO, Megan Beer, explained to Riskinfo…
AMP Life CEO, Megan Beer, is seriously upbeat about both the challenges and opportunities ahead of the insurer, following the completion of its sale to Resolution Life.
Rather than reflecting on the end of an era, Beer couldn’t have been more positive in her approach towards what lies ahead for her and her colleagues at AMP Life, together with the thousands of advisers and 1.5 million AMP Life policy holders across individual and group, who will be sharing this journey.
Speaking with Riskinfo, Beer was at pains to correct any preconceived notions that some in the sector may hold about the nature of AMP Life as a now-closed book of business. For those looking in from the outside it may appear, given Resolution Life refers to itself as ‘…a global manager of legacy life insurance portfolios’, that the AMP Life book will simply be administered and maintained while the long tail of business gradually tapers in the years ahead.
But nothing could be further from the truth. Rather than tapering, Beer’s agenda includes growth of the AMP/Resolution Life model by eventually consolidating with other legacy books of business.
So, let’s stand back for a moment and consider what businesses such as AMP Life/Resolution Life may be able to offer the Australian market…
A win/win outcome?
One of the millstones around the neck of any life company is the challenge it faces in maintaining closed books of business, or legacy books. Legacy business has been a constant source of frustration over many years, sometimes preventing insurers from their goal of becoming nimbler, more flexible, more innovative and better able to respond to the demands of consumers in a changing world. There are plenty of great product and service ideas which, regrettably, have never seen the light of day because of insurers’ historic inability to efficiently manage old business on new systems. In some cases, the tail has been wagging the dog for decades.
The entire premise around which the Resolution Life business has been built is one that focuses on expertly managing closed books of business – and the company has achieved significant growth in developing its model.
Since 2003, according to Resolution Life commentary, the insurer and its associated entities have committed over US$16 billion of equity in the acquisition, reinsurance, consolidation and management of 28 life companies around the world. It says these 28 insurers have served the needs of over 11.5 million policyholders while managing over US$320 billion of assets.
…in-force specialists …have a key role to play
Beer says AMP Life will benefit from being part of a very-well capitalised, scaled business, where her growth agenda is one of consolidation with other legacy books of life insurance business (in whole or in part) that exist within Australia and perhaps in other countries in the Asia Pacific sector in which mature life insurance markets operate. She says in-force specialists such as Resolution Life, which now includes AMP Life, have a key role to play and is excited by the possibilities that lie ahead.
The prospect of a specialist manager of in-force business absorbing legacy books from other mature insurance firms may deliver a win/win outcome. The in-force specialist expertly serves the needs of its policy holders while other insurers may be able to free themselves from the legacy book shackles that have historically bound them and restricted their movement and their ability to innovate.
…it’s about ‘active management’
AMP Life enhancements
Focusing just on AMP Life, however, Beer revealed a number of initiatives the insurer will be taking to raise the level of services it will be delivering to its policy-holders. She says it’s about ‘active management’ of the AMP Life portfolio, in flagging:
- Digital enhancements to policy management and policy-holder communications, including use of artificial intelligence (AI) and other digital technologies to drive better data capture and more detailed client and policy analytics.
- Implementation of new call centre technology, which includes allowing AI techniques to assist call centre agents to better serve policy-holder needs.
- The launch of a new AMP Life website and a range of new digital tools for policy-holders, with an early version of the new services anticipated to be ready for release later this year.
…there will remain continuity of local management
Beer confirmed that AMP Life will have access to financial backing from its parent company to make the significant investments required to deliver these and other enhanced services, but she emphasised there will remain continuity of local management, with Beer and her team empowered by Resolution Life to make these strategic decisions at a local level and to implement them.
Some things will change and some things will stay the same
While still settling in with its new owner, and having an eye to future opportunities, Beer also emphasised to Riskinfo that many services and support will be retained and that nothing will be happening to existing customers. She says a lot won’t change, including:
- Actively managing its $30 billion portfolio of investments to generate strong policyholder returns
- Ensuring competitive premiums are maintained
- Maintenance of high policy management standards
- Responsible, empathetic claims management processes and procedures
- AMP Life remains well capitalised and paying claims will always be a priority
- Retention of the AMP Life company name (although this brand name will be changed in the coming years)
In a concluding message to advisers, Beer reflected on a long-shared history during which AMP, together with advisers, have served their clients. She sincerely thanked advisers for their support in what she says has historically been a great partnership.
Beer says she and her colleagues at AMP Life remain committed to both advisers and their clients and are mindful of their responsibilities in working together as the future unfolds.