NM Insurance announces NZ operations head

"A significant milestone in our commitment," says CEO

NM Insurance announces NZ operations head

Insurance News

By Daniel Wood

“Insurers’ appetite for risk are being tested and scrutinised following recent large storm events and they are pricing for risks more closely than ever before,” said Andrew McFetridge (pictured above).

Despite this challenge, McFetridge sees an opportunity for underwriting firms to fill the breach in New Zealand.

NM Insurance, the trans-Tasman underwriting agency, has just appointed him to a newly created leadership role. As executive director of New Zealand, McFetridge is taking charge of all the firm’s operations there.

After 15 years in NZ, “A significant milestone”

“His appointment marks a significant milestone in our commitment to strengthening our presence in New Zealand,” said Sydney-based CEO Lyndon Turner in a media release.

NM provides coverages for the commercial marine sector and in consumer lines through pleasurecraft and motorcycle insurance.

According to the release, the Australia-headquartered firm has operated in New Zealand for 15 years but McFetridge’s appointment to the new position reflects growth and expansion plans.

“Our plan is to continue to partner with supportive brokers and distributors who share a common goal with us to grow a profitable sustainable book of business here in NZ,” said McFetridge, who is also president of the New Zealand Underwriting Agencies Council (NZUAC).

A strategy of investing in coverages

He said his new firm’s ongoing investment in products is helping to expand its local distribution network.

“We continue to invest in our product breadth, support both in placement and claims,” said McFetridge. “Specialist niche underwriting agency markets like NM Insurance are well positioned in the marine market to provide brokers and other distributors with solutions.”

Broker training

In NM’s focus areas of marine, motorcycling, caravanning and cargo, he said broker training is also a factor in the firm’s growth.

“We will also work closely with supporting brokers and distributors by providing education, training, and support in the areas of our expertise and target markets,” said McFetridge.

Niche sectors and rising costs

According to insurance brokers and other industry stakeholders, rising costs in New Zealand continue to be a major challenge for brokers and their clients across a range of industries.

However, some niche sectors are bearing the economic pressures better than others, including areas of the pleasurecraft market.

“Boating - and to a smaller degree your trailer boats - is probably one of the recreational pastimes that has retained its affordability,” said Field. His Auckland-based firm, Field Assessors, focuses on insurance claims involving pleasurecraft.

“You can get yourself a little $12,000 or $15,000 little runabout and on a sunny afternoon, you can pop it on any one of the number of boat ramps, go out 500 metres off the shore, drop the anchor and be fishing,” said Field.

However, he said much of the pleasurecraft space has taken hard hits from cost rises.

“Don’t get me wrong,” said Field. “You’ve got the opposite end of the spectrum.”

Particularly, he said, for higher end boats where the cost of parts and insurance covers has gone up as steeply as other industries.

“In terms of the ongoing maintenance costs [for more costly boats] the economy is having a huge impact across the board in a variety of industries, but maritime as well,” said Field. “The cost for the manufacture and transport and all the associated auxiliaries that go into that costing have gone up.”

Ongoing supply chain challenges

For an isolated country like New Zealand, supply chain issues can also strongly impact insurance risks and costs.

The Red Sea, Ukraine and Middle East conflagrations are all disrupting supply chains, said Isaac Mutu in a recent IB interview. Mutu is director of O’Connor Warren Insurance Brokers, a firm with a focus on the transport and logistics sectors.

Are you an insurance industry stakeholder? What niche markets offer opportunities for your business? Please tell us below

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