The company formerly known as National Mutual

If you spent any time watching Australian TV back in the 1990s, then this little Youtube snippet should be familiar to you – or at least the opening tune.

It’s the intro to a Channel 9 newsbreak, with the sponsor being National Mutual. The full name of the company was “The National Mutual Life Association of Australasia” and as a mutual insurance company, they had no shareholders, being entirely owned entirely by their policyholders.

The company was formed in 1869 by actuary John Montgomery Templeton, and was continually headquartered in Melbourne, with their final head office being National Mutual Plaza at 447 Collins Street. Construction commenced in 1960 on the 24 story tower, built in International style with an open plaza to Collins Street, a 3-story podium to Flinders Lane, and wrap-around balconies and marble clad finishes to the exterior walls.

Northern facade of the National Mutual Plaza, on Collins Street Melbourne

As well as their office building dating, by the 1990s the concept of policyholders owning a company was also becoming old hat in the eyes of some. Many financial wizards pushed mutual insurers to “demutualise” – offering policyholders cash or shares in the company, allowing it to be listed on the share market. The list of Australian companies that have demutualised is long, and contains many familiar names:

  1. AMP Limited
  2. Colonial Mutual
  3. NRMA Insurance
  4. St.George Bank

National Mutual was demutualised in 1996, with French firm AXA purchasing 51 percent of the shares, and renaming the company to AXA Asia Pacific in 1999. The new company remained in their Collins Street building until 2009 when they moved into a new building at Docklands. Today National Mutual Plaza is occupied by another insurance company: Suncorp.

Curtain wall of the National Mutual Plaza

You can find a longer history of the company in this article on “The AXA Collection” held by the University of Melbolurne.

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

19 Responses to “The company formerly known as National Mutual”

  1. […] I have previously written about the former National Mutual Plaza building located at 447 Collins Street in Melbourne, but on […]

  2. Kerry Daly says:

    Trying to find out about an insurance policy that I took out in 1998 with National Mutual. Can you tell me where I can locate information on this policy. Thank you

    • Marcus says:

      National Mutual became part of AXA Australia, but since I wrote this blog post, that company is now part of AMP. So presumably any insurance policies issued by the predecessor companies are now administered by AMP – their website is http://www.amp.com.au/.

  3. Ruth Landsberg says:

    Hi,
    I am trying to ascertain the deemed cost of AXA shares acquired on the demutualisation of National Mutual in 1996. If you can assist it would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks
    Ruth Landsberg

  4. rohan says:

    Such good photos !

  5. T Nguyen says:

    I just found out My superannuation with national mutual when I work with GMHA how i can move that to my current superannuation now

  6. […] The company formerly known as National Mutual […]

  7. […] The company formerly known as National Mutual […]

  8. harold john fleming says:

    Can you please tell me when National Mutual ceased being in operation in Australia and where are all policy holders been transfered to and where did Paul Ieraci go to as he was the agent that signed me up in Adelaide

    • Marcus Wong says:

      National Mutual became part of AXA Australia, but since I wrote this blog post, that company is now part of AMP. So presumably any insurance policies issued by the predecessor companies are now administered by AMP – their website is http://www.amp.com.au/.

  9. lynne M says:

    I had a will drawn up by national mutual back in the early 1990s how do i get the original many thanks

  10. Nellie Reeder says:

    I have found a share cte for 1000 National Mutual Holdings Ltd shares dated 8 October 1996. My new address was never notified. How can I find out whether these are of any value today and what do I who do I need to contact

  11. dianne Case says:

    I am looking for codes of conduct for NMLA planners in 2003-2006. I am particularly interested in if planners were allowed to be a NMAL rep and create their own investment on the side. From my knowledge this was not the case. I am needing this to help clients caught by a fraudster who was working under NMLA at that time

    • Paula Henderson says:

      Hi Dianne, I’m looking for documention etc on a policy never paid, im wondering if policy was prepared by the same fraudster.

  12. Bev Hearn says:

    Hi. I have found old bonus certificates from National Mutual dating from 1934. The owner passed away in 1990. How do I find out if the policy was claimed. The original sum insured was 200 pounds and each certificate says they must be delivered up when the bonus is claimed. So presumably that did not happen. Regards

Leave a Reply