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Zurich announces new advice business service

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Zurich Australia is launching a new advice business, as the insurer looks to step up its retail life presence.

A spokesman says Zurich Assure has been set up to offer professional and affordable life insurance advice to ANZ’s retail life insurance customers, following the bank’s decision to discontinue providing advice to its affluence segment.

“Additionally, Zurich Assure will give Zurich an opportunity to start providing life insurance advice to its retail life insurance customers, including its unadvised OnePath and Zurich customers,” the spokesman said.

Zurich will start servicing customers with existing retail life insurance policies through Zurich Assure from July 29.

The spokesman says Zurich Assure’s focus will be limited to retail life insurance, including life insurance held in superannuation funds.

Zurich Assure is not a “comprehensive” advice division,” the spokesman said.

“Zurich remains committed to the independent financial advice market, and retail advice will continue to be provided through these partnerships.”

The insurer also announced that it is making a joint Federal Court application with OnePath Life to transfer over the latter’s life insurance business. Zurich completed its $2.85 billion acquisition of ANZ’s OnePath life insurance business in 2019.

The court application seeks to confirm a scheme under Part 9 of the Life Insurance Act 1995 to transfer the business.

“The proposed transfer is a key milestone and the final step in the process of formally bringing together the businesses of our two Australian life insurers,” Zurich said in a statement.

“This consolidation will also assist us in managing our regulatory requirements more efficiently and simplify financial, operational and administrative processes.”

The Zurich statement says should the scheme be confirmed, OnePath Life policies will be treated as if they had been issued and administered by Zurich rather than OnePath Life. OnePath Life will, however, retain assets to meet regulatory capital requirements.

The confirmation hearing is scheduled for July 6 or such other date as the court determines, Zurich says.

“It is intended that the proposed transfer take effect on August 1 2022,” the statement said.