nib Health Funds

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nib Group
FounderBHP Steelworks workers
Key people
Steve Crane (Chairman)
Mark Fitzgibbon (CEO and Managing Director)
ProductsHealth insurance
Travel insurance
Life insurance
RevenueIncrease A$2.522 billion (2020)
DecreaseA$90.1 million (2020)
Number of employees

nib Group (nib, formerly Newcastle Industrial Benefits) is an Australian health care fund. It was established in the NSW Hunter Region in 1952 to provide health insurance for workers at the BHP Steelworks, and has since grown into a national and international operation.[1] As of 2017, nib held an 8.3% share of the Australian private health cover market.[2]


nib was established in the NSW Hunter Region in 1952 to provide health insurance for workers at the BHP Steelworks.

In 1995, nib was involved in a landmark court case after they rejected family health cover to a homosexual couple. While most health insurers at the time were choosing to recognise same-sex relationships, there had been no official ruling on the matter. The subsequent court case, Hope & Brown vs NIB, found that nib had violated the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977, setting a legal precedent that redefined 'family' to include same-sex couples and their children for the purposes of health insurance.[3] nib appealed the ruling, but their application was dismissed by the Supreme Court of New South Wales.[3]


In 2007, eligible policyholders and company members voted in favour of demutualisation of the health fund. The Federal Court of Australia approved the demutualisation on 5 November 2007.[citation needed] Later that day, nib became the first private health insurance fund to list on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX).[4][5]

Diversification and expansion[edit]

In 2010, nib set about expanding globally, purchasing IMAN International Pty Ltd, a specialist provider of health cover for temporary migrant workers in Australia for approximately $25 million.[6] In 2012, they acquired the New Zealand health insurer, TOWER Medical Insurance, from Tower Insurance, for approximately NZ$102 million (A$80 million).[7] As of 2012, nib New Zealand was the country's second largest health insurer, providing health and medical insurance to around 160,000 New Zealanders.[8]

In 2013, nib launched Whitecoat Health Service Directory, a free online search and comparison service.[9] The site has been likened to being the TripAdvisor of the healthcare sector.[10] While popular with consumers, the service has received significant criticism from doctors and medical groups.[11][12][13]

In 2014, nib entered a distribution alliance with Suncorp subsidiary Apia to sell private health insurance under the Apia brand.[14] Later that year, nib partnered with global medical insurer AXA PPP International in launching a global health cover pilot product in New Zealand.[15]

In 2016, nib announced the acquisition of World Nomads Group, Australia's third-largest distributor of travel insurance, for $95 million.[16] In 2019, nib rebranded World Nomads Group to nib Travel. The following year they acquired GU Health, Australia's only established specialist corporate group health insurer, for $155.5 million.[17]

In 2019, nib acquired QBE’s travel insurance business, QBE Travel, as part of its World Nomads Group expansion. nib also announced a partnership with Tasly, a Chinese pharmaceutical company.[citation needed]

nib foundation[edit]

nib established the charity group nib foundation in 2008, following a $25 million donation raised through the issue of new shares at the time of listing nib on the Australian Securities Exchange in November 2007.[citation needed] Since inception, over $19 million in grant funding has been provided to aid the development and delivery of health and wellbeing initiatives. The foundation has partnered with 140 Australian charities at a local and national level.[citation needed]

Sponsorship and ambassadors[edit]

nib sponsors a number of major sporting organisations in Australia and New Zealand, including the Newcastle Knights, the New South Wales rugby league team, the Auckland Blues, the Richmond Tigers Men's and Women's leagues[18][19] and the Newcastle Jets W-League.

Former rugby league footballer, Paul Harragon, has been the face of nib in Australia since 1991.


  1. ^ nib Health Funds Company History
  2. ^ "2017 State of the Health Funds". Private Health Insurance Ombudsman. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  3. ^ a b "It's Time for a Positive Change". Newcastle Herald. 5 June 2015. Retrieved 8 September 2020.
  4. ^ ASX nib holdings limited
  5. ^ "nib shares debut at healthy premium". The Age. 6 November 2007. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
  6. ^ "IMAN announcement" (PDF).
  7. ^ "AFR article". Archived from the original on 14 April 2017.
  8. ^ "nib NZ" (PDF).
  9. ^ "New website Whitecoat lets NIB users compare physiotherapists dentists and chiropractors". 7 November 2013. Retrieved 26 November 2014.
  10. ^ "Whitecoat". 28 July 2016.
  11. ^ "Doctors see red over whitecoat website". The Sydney Morning Herald. 26 May 2011. Archived from the original on 23 November 2020.
  12. ^ Dunlevy, Sue (28 July 2016). "First TripAdvisor, then Uber now there's an online website to help you find the cheapest, best doctor". Archived from the original on 31 October 2020.
  13. ^ "Launch of website to rate NZ doctors a 'serious concern', says medical union". TVNZ. Archived from the original on 24 October 2020.
  14. ^ "nib and Apia enter distribution alliance".
  15. ^ "International health insurance".
  16. ^ "Health insurer nib buys OnePath NZ book for $22.6m". Sydney Morning Herald. Nine Entertainment Co.
  17. ^ "GU Health".
  18. ^ "The Check up - Health Insurance & Healthy Living News | nib".
  19. ^ AFLW

External links[edit]