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Tower announces major investment into Pacific Insurance Digitisation

27 November 2020

Tower Limited (NZX/ASX: TWR) announced it will be rolling out new digital technology to make life easier for its Pacific customers following this week’s profit announcement.

In a release to markets, Tower (which also trades as National Pacific Insurance in Samoa, Tonga and American Samoa) advised that strong customer and profit growth was achieved thanks to its continued focus on digital and data.

Tower Managing Director – Pacific, Paula ter Brake says the improving underlying performance means Tower can proceed with digitisation plans across its Pacific Island business, starting with a new private motor vehicle product in Fiji in December 2020.

“The Pacific Islands are an incredibly important part of our business. We’ve been operating here for over 145 years and we are excited to be the first insurer to provide a fully optimised digital platform for our customers to use across the region,” says ter Brake.

“Starting in Fiji, customers will be able to do much more online – including getting a quote, buying a policy and making a claim. We want to give our customers more options and give them control over how they communicate with Tower, so it works best for them.”

ter Brake says providing customers with more options to manage their insurance has already proved popular in New Zealand.

“Following digitisation in New Zealand, we are seeing 65 percent of all new business sold online and we believe that we can replicate this success across the Pacific,” says ter Brake.

“We know that one of the biggest barriers to insurance uptake in the Pacific is accessibility and being fully online can really help make it easier for our customers to talk with us.

“At the moment, we are trying to help customers across an enormous geographical region from just 10 branches throughout eight nations. We know this is not practical for many of our customers, some of whom are located on outer islands or in rural communities.

“We are committed to do better for these customers, and digitisation allows us to do this.”

ter Brake says the digitisation will also be good news for employment in Fiji.

“We will be using the same platform as we use for our New Zealand customers, meaning that our Pacific Operations Hub in Suva will also help service our New Zealand business. As a result, we’ve already recruited ten new customer service and claims representatives in Fiji.

“Given the impact COVID-19 has had on Pacific Island economies, we are even more determined to provide our customers with quality service and good value, as well as a continued commitment to work with those customers who are facing hardship.”

Tower’s underlying profit excluding large events increased 23% on the prior year to $34.7m with its underlying profit including large events increasing 3% on the prior year to $28.4 million.

Tower’s reported profit of $12.3 million, includes a $9.5 million impact from the recently announced EQC settlement of $42.1 million. Tower will receive $42.1m after disbursement to reinsurers and cost which amounts to 76% of the gross carrying value listed in Tower’s accounts.

“Tower’s financial results demonstrate that the company is well capitalised and in a strong position to continue to support the region and build resilience in the years ahead as we work together to help the Pacific Islands realise their potential,” says ter Brake