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4New­cas­tle pri­vate health in­surer NIB Hold­ings was es­tab­lished as the New­cas­tle In­dus­trial Ben­e­fits Hos­pi­tal Fund in 1952 by work­ers at the BHP steel­works. It sub­se­quently de­mu­tu­alised and be­came the first pri­vate health in­surer to list on the ASX. Hav­ing ac­quired Tower Med­i­cal In­sur­ance and the med­i­cal in­sur­ance book of OnePath, both in New Zealand, it now pro­vides cov­er­age to more than 1 mil­lion peo­ple in Aus­tralia and New Zealand. It also pro­vides life and travel in­sur­ance, as well as spe­cial­ist in­sur­ance ser­vices to in­ter­na­tional stu­dents and work­ers in Aus­tralia.

NIB is adopt­ing a va­ri­ety of strate­gies for ex­pan­sion. It ben­e­fits from an age­ing pop­u­la­tion that needs more med­i­cal care and it is build­ing a na­tional pro­file for its do­mes­tic health in­sur­ance busi­ness. How­ever, med­i­cal in­sur­ance is a highly reg­u­lated in­dus­try, and it is also seek­ing al­ter­na­tive paths to growth. Its other busi­nesses have grown dra­mat­i­cally over the past three years and now gen­er­ate more than 30% of rev­enues. The com­pany be­lieves this fig­ure will even­tu­ally reach 50% as it con­tin­ues to di­ver­sify. It views travel in­sur­ance as an ac­tiv­ity with po­ten­tial, and it is work­ing to build this busi­ness. It is also con­sid­er­ing a col­lab­o­ra­tion with a Chi­nese phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals com­pany to en­ter China’s health in­sur­ance mar­ket. In Septem­ber 2017 NIB an­nounced the $155.5 mil­lion ac­qui­si­tion of cor­po­rate group pri­vate health in­surer GU Health and it has said it views the cor­po­rate health in­sur­ance sec­tor as a new area for growth.

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