Corporate governance

Defence Health Limited is committed to the highest standards of corporate governance. Our Board of Directors is highly experienced, is independent of management and has established strong risk management and internal control frameworks. 

Company structure

Defence Health Limited is a company limited by guarantee, incorporated and operating in Australia. The ‘members’ of the company include the Chief of Army, Chief of Air Force and the Board.

We’re a not-for-profit, restricted access private health insurer. We were established in 1953 to insure the families of Australian Defence Force members and the wider Defence community.

The Board has ultimate responsibility for the operation of the business. The following committees provide expert advice to the Board.

  • Risk, Compliance and Audit Committee to oversee the risk management and internal control frameworks.
  • Investment Committee to manage the company’s investment portfolio.
  • Business Strategy Committee to oversee strategy planning activities.
  • Nomination and Remuneration Committee to oversee Board and senior management appointment and remuneration.

Reporting and disclosure

Our health insurance operations are currently regulated by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA). The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) monitors our corporate responsibilities and the conditions of our Australian Financial Services Licence. Our members can access the services of the Commonwealth Ombudsman for health insurance matters and the Financial Ombudsman Service for other financial services matters.

Ethical behaviour

Our corporate code of conduct provides clear guidance to staff on expected standards of behaviour. Defence Health is also a signatory to the Private Health Insurance Code of Conduct, with a commitment to communicate to members in plain and understandable language; provide relevant information to members in their decision making; ensure they deal with trained and knowledgeable staff; and provide members with easy access to dispute resolution processes.

Risk management

Our risk management framework is based on Australian and New Zealand Risk Management Standards. The objective of strategic risk management planning and operational reviews is to identify and evaluate any potential business risks.

Each year a full risk assessment and mitigation plan is prepared and endorsed by the Board. The risk assessment process includes input from the Board, executives and management. The Board regularly receives updates on the status of key business risks.

KPMG Audit and Risk Advisory Services is engaged annually to perform a risk-based internal audit. All significant audit reports and a summary of other audit reports are reviewed and approved by the Risk, Compliance and Audit Committee.