Key Fidelity Life appointments underline adviser channel commitment.

Key Fidelity Life appointments underline adviser channel commitment.

Media release

1 August 2023

Fidelity Life, New Zealand’s largest locally owned life insurer, has made senior appointments in two critical areas as it boosts investment in the all-important adviser channel in its 50th year.

Leigh Bennett has been promoted internally to the crucial role of Head of Underwriting, and Mat Bark has been appointed to the newly created role of Head of Channel Enablement.

Fidelity Life Chief Sales and Service Officer Bronwyn Kirwan says the appointments underpin a renewed strategic approach for advisers and the adviser channel. 

“Following the delivery of some key transformation activities, we are now heavily focused on our distribution franchise and are delighted to announce the appointment of both Leigh and Mat in these critical leadership roles to help drive and enhance our engagement with advisers.”

Leigh will be managing Fidelity Life’s 34-strong Underwriting team, working closely with the company’s Strategic Alliance and adviser business partners and reporting to Acting Chief Insurance Officer Adrian Riminton. She will be responsible in ensuring policy applications are assessed appropriately, making quality decisions and focused on achieving good customer and commercial outcomes.

During her more than nine years’ experience in the life insurance sector, Leigh has developed a breadth of knowledge across the value chain and built strong relationships with Fidelity Life’s partners and advisers.

She joined Fidelity Life in 2015 as an Underwriter before being promoted to New Business Manager and then to Product Training Manger, where she led the development and delivery of Fidelity Life’s product accreditation programme, accrediting more than 1,800 advisers during the two years she was in the role.

Most recently, she was Product Owner in the company’s digital team, leading a cross-functional team scoping and building new digital solutions for customers and advisers.

Within the industry, she was recently recognised as a finalist for the 2023 FSC Emerging Trailblazer Award.

In the new role of Head of Channel Enablement, reporting to Chief Sales and Service Officer Bronwyn Kirwan, Mat is tasked with shaping Fidelity Life’s future adviser channel experience. This includes business ownership of new digital interfaces and platform innovation, modernising the legacy and in force servicing experience for advisers, and leading Fidelity Life’s Group insurance re-platform.

Mat joins Fidelity Life from AIA NZ where he was most recently Head of Existing Business. He has extensive experience in technology, operations, risk and cross-functional leadership, and brings with him a deep understanding of advisers, having held numerous lead roles across the life and health insurance industry for more than nine years.

Mat has also held senior positions at Westpac across operations, sales, transformation and risk, and also has audit and advisory experience as Senior Manager – Risk Assurance for KPMG.

“These two key appointments, together with the recent hire of Campbell Mitchell as incoming CEO, shows we’re a destination for top talent who want to help drive our business forward.

“We look forward to delivering enhanced experiences and outcomes for advisers and customers alike, as we continue to be driven by our purpose to give New Zealanders certainty to enjoy a more rewarding life,” says Bronwyn.

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