Foul play towards new industry arrivals backfires

by Maryvonne Gray 17 Aug 2016

Foul play towards new industry arrivals backfires

Two new players who have entered the New Zealand insurance industry in the past couple of years have revealed some of the foul play and dirty tactics they experienced have had the opposite effect to what was intended.

Ando’s John Lyon and Delta’s Ian Pollard joined forces to speak at the ANZIIF Insurance Conference last week and revealed the reaction from certain members of the established industry initially made things challenging for them.

Pollard said while the majority of their competitors were fine when they launched two years ago, there were a couple who resorted to some ‘dirty foul play’ behind the scenes.

“There was a bit of undermining going on, you know, and they’re tricks that I’d probably use as well quite frankly,” he joked.

“But what it did, and I need to actually thank those competitors and shake their hands, it actually consolidated the team so much it harnessed our collectiveness as a team.”

Self-professed Star Wars fan Pollard had earlier drawn a comparison to Delta as the underdog ‘rebel alliance’ taking on the Death Star, which seemed particularly apt in this instance too.

“We actually had an enemy to point to and to go after, it had the most powerful effect on the team bringing us all together. And not just within our team but also our capacity providers, Allied World, bringing us even closer to them. We’re now working on a further 10 year extension of our relationship.”

Pollard said it wasn’t just their competitors in the market, but some brokers too.

“Again, 99.9% of the brokers were very, very supportive when we were starting up but there were a couple of segments in the market that saw us as a bit too sexy, a little bit too fresh and full of too many fancy ideas that they did their best to block us as well.

“But, you can’t be friends to everybody, and you can’t be all things to all people, so that actually suited us as well.”

John Lyon said Ando had also seen evidence of anti-competitive behaviour but was quick to point to the positives to be drawn from it.
“It was probably driven more by an emotional response to the threat of a new arrival, and it is settling down now, but there’s certainly elements in the market that don’t like us being here.

“That’s good, that means we’re challenging. And we want to continue to challenge.

“We’re not here to be liked by others, we want to be liked and loved by our brokers and customers but having that challenge out there is a good thing.

“It’s one of those things that the more push back we get from the market, the more it galvanises us to achieve what it is we’re here to do which is to shake up the market a little bit, put a bit more focus on the customer and challenge the establishment.”

Pollard said even two years in, rumours about Delta were still flying, including the latest which was that they were due to merge with Ando.

“Which is not true!” he said. “Although we do get on very well and can speak together on a panel.

“But stuff like that is actually quite heartening because people are talking about you in the marketplace, and if they’re not talking about you in the marketplace then you‘re not a threat and you’re not doing the right things as a competitor.”
 

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