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14 October 2020
New Zealand’s largest locally owned life insurer, Fidelity Life, has reported encouraging results for the 2020 financial year as it ramps up its digital transformation and supports its customers, advisers and people through Covid-19.
While movements in government bond rates and commercial property values contributed to total comprehensive income falling from $20.7m in 2019 to $17.9m in 2020, underlying profit rose from $11.6m to $17.0m.
Key drivers were an $8.0m uplift in net premium revenue to $158.3m and a fall in operating expenses from $58.5m to $56.8m, reflecting a continued focus on driving efficiencies right across the business.
Claims paid to customers increased from $125.7m in 2019 to $139.7m in 2020.
Chief Financial Officer and joint acting CEO Simon Pennington says the results were encouraging in such a complex and challenging environment.
“One year into our 2025 Winning Aspiration transformation strategy, things are looking good. Our transformation’s all about reimagining life insurance for New Zealanders and we’re building some real momentum.
“The build of our new technology platform is on track, we launched a refreshed and a uniquely New Zealand brand, we’ve introduced essential new people capabilities and delivered encouraging financial results. We’re also demonstrating compassion and resilience as we support our customers, advisers and people through Covid-19.”
Fidelity Life will also keep investing in its partnerships with advisers. As well as continuing to support them to transition to the new conduct and licensing regimes, over the coming months advisers can expect to see an upgrade for Apollo, eApp and Adviser Centre - which will provide a richer digital experience, including improved reporting and insights; and a new commission framework which will reward advisers appropriately under the new regulatory environment.
Looking ahead, Simon says while there’s a lot optimism about Fidelity Life’s transformation progress, the company’s taking a prudent approach to managing its capital.
“The economic outlook is very uncertain due to Covid-19 and we’re mindful that new business, lapses and income protection claims could be impacted as New Zealanders face growing financial pressures.
“But we’re confident in our ability to face these challenges head on. Over the next 12 months or so we’ll start seeing the benefits of our technology investment and move into a new office in Auckland’s CBD. So with another big year ahead, there’s a lot to be excited about as we deliver on our transformation strategy and on our brand promise to protect New Zealanders’ way of life.”
Fidelity Life’s 2020 annual report can be found here.
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