01/09/2009 - 14:32

HBF forecasts $115m full-year loss

01/09/2009 - 14:32

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The state's largest health insurer HBF is forecasting a loss of $115 million for the 2009 financial year but says it has strong financial reserves, accumulated during recent years, to weather the financial downturn.

The state's largest health insurer HBF is forecasting a loss of $115 million for the 2009 financial year but says it has strong financial reserves, accumulated during recent years, to weather the financial downturn.

 

The announcement is below:

 

 

Strong financial reserves accumulated during recent years have enabled WA's biggest health insurer to weather the challenges of the financial downturn while paying record amounts in health benefits to members.

HBF is currently finalising its annual results for 2008/09, and expects to report an operating profit of $15.6 million for the year.

A 22% reduction in the value of investments as a direct result of the downturn in financial markets means that HBF is forecasting a net loss of $115 million for 2008/09.

During 2008/09 benefits to members totalled a record $746 million, an increase of $69 million (10.2%) over the previous year.

In July the rating agency Standard & Poors confirmed HBF's strong financial standing with an A minus credit rating - the highest rating available to health funds in Australia.

HBF Managing Director, Rob Bransby said that even after the drop in the value of its investments HBF remained exceptionally well capitalised and that the loss would have no impact on HBF members.

"The performance of our investments won't come as a surprise to anyone who has checked their superannuation recently. But even after the performance of the markets in 2009, the value of our investments has trebled since 2000 to $549 million," Mr Bransby said.

Mr Bransby said that in contrast to 2008/09 the new financial year had seen investments perform strongly, adding $21 million since the end of June.

During a year in which competition between health funds was fierce, HBF retained its position as the health insurer of choice for Western Australians with over 58% of health cover policies in WA.

Strong sales of HBF health insurance ensured that the number of health policies grew by 5.8% during the year. A total of 848,000 members were covered by HBF health insurance at 30 June.

Mr Bransby said as a not-for-profit fund HBF's focus in 2009/10 was to maximise benefits for members while keeping premiums as low as possible.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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