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ASB to expand insurance business

ASB plans to recruit a dozen insurance managers to help expand sales of its general and life insurance products.

Thursday, August 23rd 2001, 4:50PM

The Auckland-based bank has already established a substantial insurance business, largely through selling products to customers taking out mortgages, said Mike Walsh, ASB’s group general manager of financial services and planning.

"Now we are looking to grow the non lending-related business," Walsh said.

ASB has been advertising for about 12 insurance managers to sell life and risk products manufactured by insurer Sovereign.

ASB owns Sovereign.

Though Sovereign will manage and underwrite the policies, they will be sold and branded as ASB products.

The new managers will be based around the country, and will work with groups of ASB branches handling personal and commercial customers, Walsh said.

They would mainly target ASB’s existing customers.

"We will also be launching, for our commercial and corporate customers, group life and group health. This will progressively happen over the next six months."

Walsh said ASB beefed up its managed funds distribution network about four years ago.

"That worked well, so we’re looking at a similar growth strategy for insurance."

However, he declined to say what growth targets the bank had set.

ASB expects to have the managers in place by late October.

Walsh said the remuneration packages for the managers would be similar to those introduced for investment advisers.

These packages had helped keep the bank’s retail managed funds products among the best performers for funds inflow, he said.

However, he declined to comment on remuneration levels, except to say the advisers "will be well remunerated - but they’ll earn it."

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