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Our constitutional and legislative base is distinctive, assuring continuity for the benefit of our members. Our Board operates under strict regulations and guidelines and follows rigorous and professional practices normally associated with listed entities. They constantly review corporate governance practices and structures to ensure HBF adapts to the changing regulatory, political and market environment while retaining our core focus of providing affordable services for Western Australians.
The increasingly competitive market for health insurance in Western Australia has underlined the need for HBF to focus on its core health insurance business. The Board believes it is essential that HBF health defends its position as the dominant provider and brand leader in health insurance in this state, through a combination of compelling product offerings, outstanding member service and marketing that sets HBF apart from its competitors. This is a work in progress but already this strategy has resulted in success in arresting the decline in our market share.
HBF has taken a lead role in campaigning against the latest changes in government health policy, taking every opportunity to remind the government, media commentators and others that it not only penalises those who have taken most responsibility for their healthcare, but also threatens the balance between public and private health provision which has served Australia so well.
A brief background
The success of this Western Australian icon lies in the unique combination of the vision of our founding members and our ability to adapt to a modern, commercial environment. HBF was established in 1941 as the Metropolitan Hospital Benefit Fund, with the core purpose of providing affordable health services to as many Western Australians as possible. Our current structure and operations can be directly traced back to our origins as a key provider of social services prior to the introduction of universal government health cover (that is Medicare). It was established to provide a pool of funds from contributors (or members) to cover the provision of health services at Perth's three metropolitan hospitals.
Without any government cover at the time for health services, the organisation was critical in ensuring that Western Australians were able to access quality health services. The organisation was developed not to generate profits, but to ensure the ongoing provision of affordable health services to as many people as possible. Since its inception, our fund has grown from strength to strength, quickly becoming the leading provider of health insurance in WA. Our strong tradition of community support continues today, both in terms of legislative platform and strategic intent. Use our new interactive tool to find out more about the history of HBF.
HBF is a company limited by guarantee, governed by the Corporations Act 2001. The constitution requires that all surplus funds or profits are re-invested in the organisation and its services and are not paid or distributed to members as dividends. The constitution echoes our commitment to returning benefits to its policy holders and underlies our special status as an organisation.
View the Constitution (pdf)
View the Governance Regulations (pdf)
Corporate governance is the process by which HBF is directed, controlled and those in control are held to account. Our Directors and Councillors are integral in this process. The Board has overall responsibility for corporate governance at HBF, including the responsibility to determine, review and approve policy, practices, management performance and financial operations. Directors are elected by Councillors, based on their mix of skills, corporate government experience, suitability and integrity and are subject to strict conflict of interest rules.
In addition to being obliged to comply with the Corporations Act, different companies within the group are regulated by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
View the Corporate Governance Statement - Current Annual Report
The Councillors are the formal custodians of HBF and provide governance input to the board. Councillors are elected by servicing Councillors and Registered Policy holders who have been HBF members for more than 10 years. They also must be suitably qualified in line with our Constitution. The responsibilities and functions of the Council are:
- The election of suitable persons to the Board and if necessary, the removal of unsuitable persons from the Board;
- Ensuring Board members are remunerated at a level appropriate to an organisation of the size, style and complexity of HBF in the context of HBF wishing to attract quality Board members;
- To act as guardians of the Constitution of HBF, which can only be amended by a special resolution passed at a General Meeting of Councillors.
Our Directors bring a wealth of corporate and financial knowledge to the organisation.
- Tony Crawford (Chairman)
- John Van der Wielen (Managing Director)
- Valerie Davies (Deputy Chair)
- Richard England
- Helen Kurincic
- Dr Rod Moore
- Brent Stewart
- Mary Woodford
- Lisa Palmer
For more details on our board members, view their profile overviews (pdf).