Supermarket expands insurance offering

Coles

Coles has made a new foray into insurance, announcing a plan to sell customers life insurance for as little as $1 a week.

The supermarket this morning launched Coles Life Insurance, underwritten by MetLife, expanding its reach beyond car and home insurance.

Coles is keeping premiums down in part by offering minimum sums insured as low as $50,000, below the industry standard.

MetLife Australia Chief Distribution Officer Mike Goodall says: “As an industry, something we are working hard to convey to Australians is the fact that life insurance is something that doesn’t have to be complicated and time consuming. However you also don’t want to get it wrong.”

A recent report from the Financial Services Council and Metlife estimated the underinsurance gap in life insurance at $1.1 trillion and found much of that stemmed from public misconceptions over what life insurance covered and how expensive it was.

Research commissioned for the report found most people thought an average life policy would cost $1500 in premiums annually, when the actual figure is $600.

The launch came as Suncorp announced a $500 million write-down of its life insurance business.

Suncorp Group CEO Patrick Snowball says the life industry is facing headwinds and a deteriorating situation.

“The structural and cyclical life insurance issues have now been recognised by most life insurance companies and reinsurers,” he says.

“However, we are frustrated that industry change is not occurring at a more rapid pace.”