Strong result for HBF

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A strong result for HBF with the Perth-based insurer reporting a 68 per cent rise in its annual surplus to $59.5 million.

The insurer, with a membership of 1.03 million, delivered the result on the back of a strong performance from its investment portfolio.

Gains from investments were complemented by revenue from the insurer's general and life insurance business.

According to CEO John Van Der Wielen, the insurer has no plans to demutualise or go public, but raised the possibility of acquisitions through "inorganic opportunities" to grow nationally.

“We’ve had 75 years as a not-for-profit and we can do a lot more as a not-for-profit,” he told The West Australian.

“This can be a really high-performing business that can take on major competitors.

“But we have to get fit first, and that’s probably got another six-eight months to go, and at the end of that we will look at expanding our horizons and what other things we can do with our balance sheet.

“We need to become a more performance-based business, we need to get our costs down and we need to get our scale up.”

A factor for the insurer has been a series of cost-cutting measures that have already delivered $10 million of $15 million in targeted savings, including scrapping its sponsorship of the Fremantle Dockers and West Coast Eagles, along with the closure of two branches.

Mr Van Der Wielen also said the insurer planned to simplify its product range.

“We offer 35 per cent of Australia’s products, on 8 per cent market share,” he said. “It's too complex and it’s costing too much money.”