Further to much speculation in the market since last November, Aviva Health has been sold to the Irish Life Group who itself is owned by Great-West Lifeco, a Canadian insurer. Irish life who already held a 49% shareholding in GloHealth, the country's fourth largest insurer, has also bought out the minority shareholding of GloHealth with the intention of merging the two businesses.
The sale of Aviva Health will first have to pass regulatory approval which is expected to be completed by quarter 3 of this year, so it is likely that both insurers will run as is until at least July. The acquisition see's no job losses as all 160 employees of Aviva Health are to be retained as part of the new Irish Life business.
What does this mean for customers and the market in general?
It is fair to say on analysis of their policies, that when Great-West Lifeco invests in a market, they generally do so with the intention of being at the top of that market. Likewise for Irish Life as reflected in the statistics showing them as Ireland's largest Life & Pensions provider and with over €50 billion in assets under management. Indeed the same intent has always been evident with GloHealth who since launching in 2012 very quickly formed a strong brand and in that short time has attracted some of the top multi-national clients in the country. Aviva Health too was borne out of the same entrepreneurial spirit going back to the creation of Vivas and who now also insure some of the country’s most well known multinational corporate clients.
So we can anticipate huge investment from Irish Life with a view to aggressive expansion. They already have a flying start with 2 formidable health Insurance teams in both GloHealth and Aviva Health with years of expertise in this market. Both companies are entrepreneurial at their core and now have a collective membership of over 420,000 health insurance customers amounting to almost 20% of the insured population. Coupled with Irish Life's customer base of approx 1 million clients and the fact that 9 out of 10 biggest US Companies are with Irish Life for their Irish employees pensions and 8 of 10 Irish companies likewise and you can see where that room for expansion exists even before considering the percentage of the market that they currently have no relationship with. This will broadly change the landscape to look like Irish Life with 20% market share, Laya Healthcare 24% market share and Vhi Healthcare 56% market share.
All in all, and in contrast to the view often taken with a reduction in competition in terms mergers, I anticipate this being good news from a customer perspective, corporate and consumer.Needless to say, this presents a good and timely opportunity to speak with an independent advisor in advance of your next renewal.
Irish Health Insurance
QFA, APA PMI, APA GI