AMI Insurance: Everything you need to know
AMI Insurance was founded in Christchurch in 1926 as the South Island Motor Union (SIMU). It quickly grew to become the second largest residential insurer in New Zealand, becoming known as Allied Mutual Insurance (AMI).
The Christchurch earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 hit AMI hard, with the company suffering doubts over its level of reinsurance, its ability to cover any potential further earthquakes and the sustainability of its financial state. The New Zealand government granted a $500 million support deed to avoid AMI’s collapse, however, it still fell short of its regulatory capital requirements and so that forced the sale of AMI to the New Zealand arm of IAG.
The buyout was controversial, as IAG had already purchased local insurers NZI and State Insurance, and AMI’s sale ultimately gave it 60% of the domestic insurance market. AMI was owned by its policyholders as a mutual company before becoming part of IAG’s portfolio of brands in December 2011.
AMI currently offers car, home and contents, business and travel insurance policies, and also offers specialist products covering boats, caravans and trailers, motorcycles and lifestyle blocks. It used to offer life insurance products, but stopped taking on new life business on May 13, 2019. Its existing life policies are managed by Aon, and continue to be underwritten by AIA New Zealand.
AMI currently has 65 branches located throughout New Zealand, and serves over 500,000 customers.
AMI Insurance in the news
1926: AMI is founded in Christchurch as the South Island Motor Union (SIMU)
2011: AMI suffers heavy financial damage following the Christchurch earthquakes and is brought out by IAG, joining its group of New Zealand insurance brands
2017: AMI adds a clause to its car and contents policies stating it will not pay out claims in the event of a terror attack
2018: AMI joins Chinese social media platform WeChat, using it to offer insurance advice to its customers and communities|
2019: AMI announces plans to close its stores in Alexandra, Feilding, Hawera, Motueka, Porirua, South Dunedin and Thames in favour of interacting with customers through its website, phone and social media
Key people as of 2019 (parent company IAG)
Craig Olsen – Chief Executive
Olsen was appointed CE of IAG New Zealand in December 2015. He joined IAG Australia in 2000, and held various senior leadership roles across both Australia and New Zealand. He was responsible for the integration of AMI Insurance into IAG New Zealand, and acted as executive general manager direct insurance until his appointment as chief executive in 2015. He is a board member of the Insurance Council of New Zealand and Loyalty New Zealand.
Garry Taylor – Executive General Manager Business
Taylor stepped into his role in May 2018, having previously been the general manager for the company’s claims division. He has been with IAG for over 24 years, and is currently responsible for strategy, distribution and relationship management for the NZI business.
Melissa Cantell – Chief Operating Officer
Cantell became COO of IAG in July 2017, prior to which she was executive general manager - transformation. She oversees the insurer’s claims operations, supply chain and digital strategy. Before joining IAG, she led a number of business operations at companies including Fonterra and Coca Cola.
AMI sponsors a number of organisations and community initiatives throughout New Zealand, providing both funding and hands-on support. It currently partners with Red Cross, RYDA, Neighbourly and Walking School Bus.
AMI is also a member of the Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ) and abides by the Fair Insurance Code. It has received the Rainbow Tick, which recognises inclusive and diverse companies.