Friday, 06 December 2019 10:35

nib, Cigna launch joint venture healthcare company Featured

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Australian-listed health fund nib Group has launched a new specialist healthcare data science and services company in a joint venture with global health services provider Cigna Corporation.

The deal will see each company contribute $10 million in start-up funding, with the new entity operating independently of nib and be led by Rhod McKensey who has been group executive of nib's Australian Residents Health Insurance business since 2013.

nib (ASX: NHF) says the joint venture’s purpose is to:

  • Analyse and interpret underlying individual disease risk;
  • Provide guidance on how this risk can be best prevented, mitigated, managed or treated;
  • and deliver healthcare programs, services and interventions relevant to the disease risk profile.

nib says the new company will draw on and localise existing data science technologies including intellectual property and “deep expertise” from Cigna as well as develop new capabilities.

nib Managing Director, Mark Fitzgibbon said the joint venture is the result of several years of research and preparation.

“Today’s announcement shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone familiar with our business and vision of becoming as much about our member’s good health as it is their financial protection,” Fitzgibbon said.

“It’s a giant step in our ambitions to play a more substantive and cost effective role in healthcare. As a business we’re determined to help our members, in collaboration with their doctors, keep healthy rather than simply be there for them when they’re already sick or injured.

“And with over 740,000 avoidable hospital admissions in Australia every year, representing approximately 7% of all hospitalisations, we think there’s an enormous role for the joint venture to play.”

Fitzgibbon said the joint venture’s immediate priority is deploying and building the necessary technology and capability, and beyond that it will deliver a range of products and services across the nib Group and later to other health payers and clients.

“The purpose of the joint venture is to help people lead healthier lives. It will do this by using data science to understand their current and future health risks and needs and then actively help them prevent, manage or treat that risk,” Fitzgibbon said.

“What we are attempting is the antithesis of what today is too much about cure versus prevention and ‘one size fits all’ healthcare.

“We’ve obviously found a world class partner in Cigna and there is strong alignment in how we see healthcare evolving with a greater emphasis upon the individual and more precise health risk management. Cigna is already significantly improving the health of the customers, clients, and communities they serve around the world.”


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired in 2020. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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