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Nib eyes travel growth after QBE deal

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Health insurer Nib Holdings says travel insurance and other “adjacent businesses” may soon account for half its earnings following the proposed purchase of QBE’s travel insurance business for $25 million.

As reported by last week in a Breaking News bulletin, the deal is expected to be completed in the first quarter of next year.

QBE Travel is Australia’s fourth-largest travel insurer with about 7% of the market, but it accounts for less than 0.5% of QBE Group’s gross written premium.

Nib says the deal could grow the gross written premium of its World Nomads Group (WNG) by 40%.

“Since acquiring WNG in mid-2015, we’ve made no secret that we like the fundamentals and growth prospects that underpin the travel insurance market,” Nib MD Mark Fitzgibbon said.

“Travel insurance is much closer to health insurance than most imagine, given more than 60% of travel insurance claims are medically related. And, of course, people travelling internationally more and more is a mega-trend.

“We’re benefitting from this, not only in the Australian market but also the overseas markets, which today account for almost half of WNG’s sales.”

QBE says the decision to sell follows an extensive review and is part of the insurer’s drive to build a “stronger and simpler” business.

“While we’re proud of our long history in this market and strong industry partnerships, we felt this was the best outcome for our customers and business partners as we simplify and strengthen our business,” Australia and New Zealand CEO Vivek Bhatia said.

“In Nib we have found a buyer that is looking to grow its travel insurance business and it saw a great opportunity to deliver that through this acquisition.

“We believe Nib is a good natural fit given its commitment to the travel market and the obvious synergies with health insurance.”

QBE says there will be no impact on customers. The deal affects 150 QBE employees, who will be offered roles with Nib.