Insurance in Australia
Life insurance products sold in Australia include term life insurance and disability income insurance. Australian insurers are unusual in providing a lump sum Total and Permanent Disability insurance. Life insurers also sell superannuation investment products. Life insurance in Australia is sold through intermediaries (such as brokers) as well as direct to the consumer, in fact Australia is one of the leading countries when it comes to selling life insurance through direct channels.
Some of the life insurance companies which operate in Australia are:
AXA Note: As of 30 March 2011, AXA Asia Pacific Holdings Limited and all of its Australian and New Zealand subsidiaries ceased to be members of the Global AXA Group and became members of the AMP Group.
Asteron Life (Suncorp)
TAL (previously Tower Australia)
In addition, life insurance is also sold by friendly societies, credit unions, health funds and large retailers such as Coles Supermarkets and Woolworths Limited.
General insurance products sold in the Australian market can roughly be divided into two classes:
Liability insurance such as Compulsory Third Party (CTP) motor insurance, worker's compensation, professional indemnity insurance and public liability insurance, business insurance;
Property insurance such as Home and Contents insurance, travel insurance, and comprehensive motor vehicle insurance
Certain types of insurance, such as CTP and worker's compensation, are statutory (i.e. are required by law), and can differ considerably by state.
Large general insurer groups include:
Insurance Australia Group (brands include: NRMA, RACV, CGU, SGIO, Buzz)
Suncorp (brands include: AAMI, GIO, APIA, Just Car, Bingle, Vero, InsureMyRide, Shannons, CIL, Terri Scheer)
Auto & General (brands include: Budget Direct, Australia Post, Virgin Money, and they underwrite home and car insurance from 1Cover)
Allianz Australia (brands include: Club Marine and Hunter Premium Funding, and they underwrite travel insurance from 1Cover)
Hollard Insurance (brands include: Real Insurance, Guardian)
Previous insurers include:
Promina Group merged with Suncorp in 2007
SGIO and SGIC purchased by IAG
HIH Insurance collapsed in 2001
MMI taken over by Allianz in 1998
The Australian Government provides a basic universal health insurance, Medicare. Private health insurance in Australia is limited to those services not covered by Medicare or to services provided in private hospitals.
The Australian Taxation system encourages middle to high income earners to take out Private Health Insurance. While most taxpayers pay a 1.5% Medicare levy, an additional 1% Medicare Levy Surcharge is payable by those taxpayers who earn more than $88,000 and do not have Private Health Insurance.