Chief Group Insurance Officer James Carey on MetLife’s support for its partners and the role of life insurance in Australia.

How small-and medium-sized funds can improve their outlook

There’s been a lot of opinions around the need for small funds to get bigger and deliver scale. But we believe there are a lot of smaller funds serving a niche of members. They are unique because of their customers and the type of work they’re doing.

At MetLife, we believe those funds still have viable futures, but they will be challenged in delivering services that are the equivalent of their larger competitors. They need to offer products and outcomes at a reasonable cost and not unnecessarily erode the retirement benefits of their members. To stay relevant, those funds will need to show they can provide competitive returns for their membership.

Many funds have stuck with traditional death and TPD type designs that are now too simplistic. We’re working with them to find appropriate benefit designs for their memberships while trying to introduce new thinking into that equation. We’re helping those funds show they’re differentiated and can provide an outstanding product solution that fits the needs of their members.

How funds are adapting to industry changes, mergers and acquisitions

When our partners are involved in mergers, we’re very focused on how we can bring two, often differentiated, membership cohorts together. We want to support them with products and thought leadership around the right benefits to harmonise the arrangements across those groups of members. Our fund partners are very focused on making sure the new benefit designs for the collective membership are fit for purpose.

The role of life insurance in Australia

I want consumers to know the life insurance industry and the people running these companies believe we serve a noble purpose. Unfortunately, over time that purpose has sometimes gotten lost in the race to growth and to be the biggest player in the market.

We truly believe there’s a new breed of life insurer emerging, and MetLife aims to be at the forefront of that trend. We aim to be customer-focused, listening to feedback and we’ll be there in the moment of need.

We’re not here just to profit. The industry pays out over 80 cents in claims for every dollar collected in premiums in the superannuation segment.

MetLife’s commitment to Australia

MetLife has a long history in the Australian market, but during these uncertain times it’s reasonable to question business sustainability. MetLife is 100 per cent committed to its Australian business and you can see this through our investment in the retail business and the development of that market locally. We will be a significant life insurance player in the Australian market for a long time to come.