BT Financial Group aids Westpac’s strong half year results

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BT Financial Group contributed a decent lump to Westpac’s strong half-yearly results, which were released yesterday.

While Westpac made $3.62 billion in the six months to the end of March increasing the half-year profits by 10%, BT went a step further and posted a 21% increase on the same period last year.

It maintained its number one ranking in the market across all platforms.

These cash earnings of $438 million added a significant contribution to the impressive results of its parent Westpac.

Within BT, the life insurance sector performed particularly strongly, with 1450 claims paid to the value of $85 million.

The growth in this sector has been very solid, BT Life Insurance head Phil Hay told Wealth Professional.

He said in terms of individual retail sales, BT Life Insurance posted an increase of 14.2% against a market average of 2.7%. Total inflow was 19.2% against the market, which is 8.8%.

“We’ve gone six times systems growth,” Hay said “It’s good, strong growth and the lapse rates are continuing to outperform as well.

Hay puts BT Life’s success down to a long-established management team, continuing innovation, and recognising the need to constantly be relevant to advisers.

“Going through the products we’ve had a strong focus on continuing to innovate and using the product innovation to assist financial advisers in [a way] that resonates with them just as much as the customers,” he said.

Another point of success has been a strong focus on the BT Life’s claims process. It puts itself through regular independent reviews – the latest of which was a few months ago. For the past three years it has held an A star rating.

“The proof point is in what can be a customer’s darkest hours they get the whole holistic package,” Hay said. “It’s making sure that every claimant is treated on their own merits. It’s all really personalised and with the full involvement of the advisers.”

Looking forward, BT Life’s focus will continue to be on profit and sustainability, however it will continue to make its services more accessible and relevant to advisers, he said.

“You’re always looking to what is the next innovation, and how can we simplify it.”

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