Fidelity Life acting chief executive Ian Clancy (pictured) isn’t merely holding the fort at the life insurer while the company looks for its next CEO – the transformation expert is making sure Fidelity Life’s internal initiatives, including the integration of the acquired business from Westpac Group, continue as planned.
“One of the great opportunities and one of the conversations that the board and I had when we were discussing this [acting CEO] role was the continuity,” Clancy, who stepped up from his chief operating officer position, told Insurance Business. “So, the priorities are largely around some of that transformation activity.
“We’ve been running a customer-led transformation underpinned by a technology investment for the last number of years. We’ve also been running the integration with Westpac Life… and we’ve got a number of other pretty significant programmes of work around IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards) 17.”
Clancy, who assumed the six-month interim post in April, has been entrusted with maintaining the company’s momentum in terms of shaping itself into what is now a broader business.
Among the changes at Fidelity Life was its swoop for Westpac’s life insurance business in New Zealand. Now known as Fidelity Insurance, the acquired business needed to be integrated into its new owner. Insurance Business can reveal that the formal integration is set to cross the finish line at the end of June.
First announced in July 2021, the $400 million acquisition was completed in February 2022. Fidelity Life has since been working on combining its adviser-driven business with the bank-originated portfolio. The merging of the entities will be formalised in three weeks, according to Fidelity Life.
“I’m really excited about us bringing the two businesses together,” Clancy told Insurance Business. “We will have one entity that will be operating the Fidelity Life brand.
“And it’s not necessarily anything that goes to market, but internally it’s really important because we need to start to move forward as one business rather than two businesses. In terms of the organisations coming together, that’s a really big milestone for us at the end of this month. That’s something I’m really excited about.”
Snapping up the New Zealand life insurance business of Westpac meant the arrival of 50 colleagues and 150,000 policyholders.
Moving forward, Clancy believes Fidelity Life is in good shape across its transformation initiatives, including the insurer’s new data platform that is slated to be completed at the end of 2023. The rest of the Westpac integration will also be largely finished.
“[The transformation] will set us up really successfully in the future as a two-channel business, whereas historically we’ve only been a one-channel business,” said Clancy, whose experience has been around translating strategy into action.
“We will be in a position where we’re really focussed on, ‘How do we differentiate ourselves in the market, and how do we start to address that underinsurance gap and leverage the capabilities that we now have as a bigger business?’”
As for the prospect of further deals, the acting CEO isn’t discounting the possibility.
“Never say never,” Clancy told Insurance Business. “I can’t predict the future in terms of what opportunities are out there and the economic conditions that would apply at the time. We’ve acquired to gain scale, and that continues to be an option for us in the future. We’ve certainly got plenty on at the moment, but that’s not to say that we wouldn’t consider other opportunities.”
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