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Don't do it

Tower policyholder Max Shierlaw says No to demutualisation plans.

Friday, January 16th 1998, 12:00AM

by Philip Macalister

Tower Corporation is getting itself into more fights over its demutualisation plans. On one side it is battling the might of Sir Ron Brierley's Guinness Peat Group, on another front a small policyholder is putting up a battle.
Lower Hutt accountant Max Shierlaw says he plans to fight the demutualisation proposal as he considers it is a breach of contract.
Shierlaw took out a superannuation policy with Tower in 1989 when it was still governed by the Government Life Act.
He says under that act the group was unable to demutualise.

"Had I been informed in 1989 that provision existed to demutualise Tower I would never have taken out my superannuation policy," he says.
Shierlaw questions what benefits will actually accrue to policyholders under demutualisation.
He says it is better for the company if it remains in the hands of policyholders, rather than having control passing to a shareholder with short-term interests and objectives.
"I don't think it's in our best interests to have a shareholder who has got no long term commitment to Tower."
Shierlaw plans to take a case to the Insurance and Savings Ombudsman over breach of contract, however he has been told the claim can't be lodged until demutualisation occurs.
In the meantime he intends presenting his argument to the High Court when it considers Tower's demutualisation plans.
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