Pinnacle Life – Everything you need to know
About Pinnacle Life
Pinnacle Life is a New Zealand life insurance company providing a range of life and health products to the New Zealand market. It offers life insurance, income protection, funeral cover, mortgage cover, disability cover and critical illness insurance.
It holds an insurance license from the Reserve Bank of New Zealand under the Insurance (Prudential Supervision) Act 2010, and is a member of the Financial Services Council (FSC) and a Qualifying Financial Entity (QFE). Its life insurance policies are backed by Hannover Life Re of Australasia, which has backed the business since its inception. Hannover Re is one of the five largest reinsurance groups in the world, backing around 5,000 insurance companies across 150 countries.
Pinnacle Life’s key value is affordability, and it maintains a constant focus on keeping costs low and maintaining a competitive pricing structure. It aims to be a private and accessible insurer with everything written in plain English, and customers can obtain a quote in 30 seconds and be covered within 10 minutes.
It is based in Newmarket, Auckland.
Brief history of Pinnacle Life
Pinnace Life started in 1998 and offered New Zealanders the choice of buying their life insurance directly. It has since invested in various technologies to improve its insurance purchasing process, and conducts its business entirely online. This keeps operating costs down, and the company passes the benefit on to its customers in the form of lower premiums.
Pinnacle Life raised $3 million through the issue of preference shares in 2015, allowing it to significantly expand its business. It appointed Gillian Vaughan as its new CEO in March 2018 - she took the position following almost 20 years at Pinnacle Life.
It also received the green light from the FMA to provide digital advice to its customers in June 2019, with general manager Amy Cavanaugh stating that this would extend the company’s online service offering and offer a more personalised experience to customers.
Leadership at Pinnacle Life
Gillian Vaughan – Chief Executive
Vaughan was appointed as chief executive of Pinnacle Life in April 2018 following almost 20 years’ experience within the life insurance sector. She joined Pinnacle in 1999 soon after its foundation, and has worked across almost all areas of the business including strategy, technology, risk, customer service and sales, her most recent role before promotion having been general manager of operations.
Amy Cavanaugh – General Manager Operations
Cavanaugh joined Pinnacle Life in June 2018 and leads the company’s operations team, managing everyday processes across finance, risk, technology and product. Prior to joining Pinnacle she spent several years in various roles with Tower Insurance, her most recent role being claims operations manager. She also has a strong banking background, having spent a number of years with Westpac and Kiwibank before moving into insurance.
Ben Coulter – Appointed Actuary
Coulter was appointed Pinnacle Life’s Actuary in September 2017, and is a director with PwC New Zealand. He brings over 15 years’ insurance experience, having worked across various roles involving pricing, product development, valuation and capital management.
Culture at Pinnacle Life
Pinnacle Life works with a number of organisations which help support families and the older community. It partners with New Zealand Seniors to provide simple and accessible insurance products, and to develop products which protect the wellbeing of Kiwis over 50.
It also partners with OneChoice, which offers simple products tailored specifically to families which cut out the complex paperwork and medical tests required by other insurers.
Other partners include Belong, which helps provide insurance to Kiwi businesses and employers, Trust Us, which helps customers set up their own family trust, and Perpetual Guardian, which helps New Zealanders with wills and estate planning.