HBF to acquire CUA under new partnership agreement

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HBF has announced it will acquire 100 per cent of the shares in counterpart CUA in a deal that will add to the Perth-based insurer's presence outside Western Australia.

HBF and CUA have also partnered under a five-year distribution agreement that will see HBF’s health insurance policies marketed to CUA’s banking customers including distribution through CUA branches.

CUA Health’s approximately 79,000 members will see no immediate change. All CUA employees currently working in their health insurance business will be offered a role with HBF in Brisbane.

HBF CEO John Van Der Wielen said, “HBF and CUA are highly compatible, purpose-driven organisations that have a member-first ethos and I look forward to warmly welcoming CUA Health’s members and staff to HBF.

“Acquiring CUA Health is a significant and compelling strategic move for HBF to further propel our national growth strategy, building on the strong organic growth we’ve seen across Australia since our bold advertising campaign launched nationally in 2020. It will drive our membership base beyond 1 million, with approximately 17 per cent living outside of WA, up from around 11 per cent currently, and will provide us with great opportunities to grow our number of employees outside WA.”

“Delivery of this growth strategy is about enhancing HBF’s ability to become national and will further strengthen our industry leading balance sheet. By building economies of scale at a national level we will continue to provide competitively-priced products and maintain high-value health cover for every one of our members. HBF is committed to doing the right thing by its members, as seen with the upcoming return of surplus deferred claims provisions from COVID-19, our full 12-month cancellation of 2020 premium increases in response to COVID-19, and a track record of keeping downward pressure on premium increases over the past decade.”

CUA CEO Paul Lewis said,“Our two companies have long and proud histories and share similar values, with both organisations committed to a customer-focused business model delivering strong value for customers.

“This move allows both of us to focus on our core business and key strengths. For CUA, we can focus on our core banking business and helping customers with all aspects of their home ownership journeys, whether it’s saving for a first home, buying a portfolio of houses, or being financially secure enough to help the kids buy their first property.

“CUA’s purpose is to help all Australians own their own homes. The money raised from this sale will increase our ability to achieve this and give us the opportunity to pursue growth options for our core banking business. This is just the next step in what is going to be a huge year for CUA as we transition to Great Southern Bank.”

Completion of the acquisition is targeted for later in the third quarter of the current calendar year with no formal regulatory approvals required for the acquisition. The terms of the acquisition are confidential. HBF said the purchase price will be funded from its existing cash reserves.