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BNZ pushes into business insurance market

Wednesday, March 14th 2001, 2:00PM

Bank of New Zealand is making a major push in business insurance by revamping its life products and appointing specialist advisers in the main centres.

Marketing manager Nigel Fairless says there is a great opportunity for the bank in this area because of its existing relationships with small and medium sized enterprises.

"Business insurance is a natural fit for Bank of New Zealand given that the Bank is the largest lender to small and medium businesses in New Zealand," he says.

"This extension of insurance services is the next step in meeting all the financial needs of our business customers. "

He says the bank's advisers who are working in this area are already generating significant amounts of premium income for the bank.

Fairless says while the business market has great potential, many traditional life agents don't target this market because it can be a lengthy process closing deals, plus it is an area they are often uncomfortable in.

BNZ was one of the first banks to offer insurance products in New Zealand. Currently it has about 10% of the term life market, and it is aiming to be in the top three sellers within the next three years.

Fairless says the bank revamped its life products last year so they are better suited for the business market. All the policies it sells are BNZ ones, with the exception of income protection. In this area it uses AXA's contract.

BNZ's salaried business insurance specialists are Alan Perkinson and David Lewis in Auckland and Wayne Christie in Christchurch. A Wellington appointment is to be announced shortly.

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