While most insurers distribute either direct to customers or through an adviser network, a lesser-known distribution method is the partnerships model - something one New Zealand insurer is looking to turn into a key part of its ongoing strategy.
Tower Insurance has introduced a number of new partnerships over the past year, and now provides insurance products specific to the customers of those organisations. Managing director of partnerships Jonathan Beale said that partnering with more companies will be a key part of Tower’s customer outreach strategy, and more announcements on this can be expected soon.
“The high-commission world of brokers and intermediaries seems to be changing, both in New Zealand and overseas,” Beale commented.
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“What we really want to be able to do is work with companies that want to offer insurance to their customers, and that would lead to us having relationships with a wide range of different partners. We can then enable them to have our insurance products as part of their value proposition.”
“We can also then focus on the product itself, and whether it’s going to be right for that particular organisation’s customers,” he explained. “That’s where the product development side will have a chance to come in and create something that works for everyone.
“We think Tower can really reach more customers through that partnership model, and that was the main reason our CEO brought me in to run the new partnerships division of Tower.”
Beale said that although the model is currently uncommon in New Zealand, Tower’s new digital capabilities will enable it to create more ‘niche’ products specific to a particular customer base - something which will ultimately help the partnered organisation, the end customer, and also the intermediary channel.
“Now that Tower has its own platform, is more digitally focused and has more sources of data, the number of questions that we have to ask the customer has reduced,” Beale said.
“This makes things easier for everybody, including the brokers.”
“Our model is very different to other strategies that you might see in New Zealand, but if you go overseas - particularly in the UK - you’ll see that this partnership model has really grown among their insurers,” he added.
“We’ve got a new partner on board that we’ll be announcing soon, and the product we’ll be offering through them will really broaden our reach, which we’re really excited about.”