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Rating Underlines Financial Strength

3 October 2005

Southern Cross Rating Underlines Financial Strength

Southern Cross Medical Care Society has had its A+ credit rating reconfirmed by Standard & Poor’s, a result which its Chairman, Dr John Matthews, says underlines the financial stability of the not-for-profit healthcare organisation.

While the New Zealand health insurance market is not regulated, Southern Cross has voluntarily sought a rating since 1994 to provide its members and the public with an independent assessment of its financial position.

“The reconfirmation of our A+ rating, and Standard & Poor’s opinion that the outlook is stable, again highlights that we have the sound financial footing which provides our Members with the confidence that we are financially secure and able to meet all eligible claims.”

The Southern Cross Medical Care Society is the only specialist health insurer in New Zealand to have a rating solely for its health insurance business.

Dr Matthews said the rating provided assurance to the Society’s members and to consumers and was in line with the Society’s policies around prudent fiscal management.

Those policies saw the Society within the range of the solvency target adopted by the Board - in line with standards used by Australian health insurers.

Editors Notes:

1. Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services is a global leader in objective, insightful risk analyses and evaluations of the credit worthiness of issuers worldwide.

2. Southern Cross Healthcare is comprised of two organisations that focus on the health sector in New Zealand:

- One organisation, the first created, is the Southern Cross Medical Care Society with around 800,000 members. Established in 1961, it is a not for profit Friendly Society that focuses on delivering health insurance services for both individual members and group schemes.

- The other organisation is the Southern Cross Health Trust. It consists of the Southern Cross Hospitals, New Zealand’s only private hospital chain and Southern Cross Travel Insurance.

ENDS

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