SYDNEY (AFP) – ANZ Bank unveiled plans yesterday to offload its life insurance arm to Zurich for Aus$2.85 billion (US$2.14 billion), making the Swiss giant Australia’s largest retail life insurer by premiums.
It follows National Australia Bank selling most of its life insurance business to Japan’s Nippon and Commonwealth Bank shedding its insurance arm to AIA in recent years as Australia’s top lenders streamline operations.
ANZ said the sale of One Path Life Australia Holdings, subject to regulatory approvals, was another step in its strategy to create “a simpler, better balanced bank focused on retail and business banking in Australia and New Zealand”.
“From the outset we’ve been focused on partnering with a high-quality organisation culturally aligned to ANZ,” said ANZ’s Executive Wealth Australia chief Alexis George.
“We’re pleased we will be able to provide our customers with access to wealth products from one of the world’s leading and most respected global insurers.”
It described the deal as a good outcome for both customers and shareholders, citing Zurich’s “commitment to innovation and strong presence in Australia”.
It follows ANZ’s sale of its OnePath pensions and investments business to IOOF Holdings in October for Aus$975 million.
The bank’s shares were 0.44 percent higher at Aus$28.62 in afternoon trade.