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Pecking order for insurance steady

DESPITE its boardroom wrangles, New South Wales-based insurance company NRMA still reigns supreme in Australia’s general insur-

ance industry, according to a survey by accountants Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu.

WA’s big insurers, Wesfarmers and RAC, were listed in 12th and 13th places respectively.

The next available statistics will be of significant interest as second placed Suncorp, together with its takeover of AMP General/GIO, may rival the NRMA juggernaut that has remained unchallenged for decades.

Analysis of the top 20 suggests six major groups have emerged as the dominant forces that will rise and, indeed, prosper from the HIH crash.

The top six, including CGU/Fortis, Royal &Sun Alliance, QBE and Allianz presently dominate more than 80 per cent of the market.

Deloitte’s National Insurance Industry Group chairman Peter Caldwell believes this news should not concern specialist insurers, who can expect a significant slice of the market, filling various niches.

“The next rankings will still show Suncorp in pursuit of NRMA, although the gap will have widened in the short term because of NRMA’s take-up of HIH’s workers’ com-pensation portfolio,” Mr Caldwell said.

Suncorp could assume the top spot with another successful takeover bid, provided NRMA avoids similar measures, such as creating another major strategic venture.

Mr Cadwell believes that, over the next five years, those insurers that readily adapt to the post HIH era – with its more stable underwriting and pricing conditions – should dominate the rankings and be well positioned to take full advantage of future opportunities.

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