MetLife’s new CEO optimistic on group

Newly-incumbent MetLife Australia chief executive, Richard Nunn, is in the somewhat unique position of being able to view the impact of the Federal Government’s changes to insurance inside superannuation two points of view – that of insurance company CEO and industry fund CEO.

Speaking to Super Review, in one of his first interviews since taking up the reins at MetLife after his years as the chief executive of Statewide Super, Nunn was pragmatic in his assessment of just important it would be for funds and insurers to adjust to the new regime within which those aged under 25 or with low balances will new to opt-in to their insurance cover.

He had seen the estimates that the changes would result in increases in premiums of between 25 per cent and 30 per cent, but he did not believe the outcome would necessary end up being that extreme.

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But in Nunn’s view, the ultimate impact would depend in large measure on how well superannuation funds worked with their insurers to communicate to younger members the value of insurance inside superannuation.

“It is up to funds to communicate with their members, and we will be working with our clients to assist in that communication,” he said.

Nunn assumed leadership of MetLife in Australia as a result of the departure late last year of his predecessor, Deanne Stewart, to take up the plum role of chief executive, First State Super, and he believed he had inherited a strong team that had ensured the insurer stayed on the front foot in the group insurance space.

“Group is a critical part of the business and I have been impressed with how well it has built by the current team,” he said.

Nunn said that notwithstanding the challenges associated with the Government’s recent legislative changes to insurance inside superannuation, MetLife believed there was nonetheless still room to grow and to provide some competition to the two big players in the space – TAL and AIA Australia.

He said he regarded MetLife as sitting at number three in terms of group insurance market share with an ability to grow, notwithstanding that group tended to be a “lump” business.

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