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Advisers keep an eye on Suncorp/Promina deal

Insurance advisers are keeping a wary eye on the Suncorp takeover of Promina group across the Tasman.

Wednesday, November 22nd 2006, 7:07AM

by Rob Hosking

The big question locally is what will happen to Asteron, and although at this point this is unclear, there are suggestions about what local advisers do not want.

“The worst thing that can happen is the Australian operation takes the operation that New Zealand is just another state,” says Graham Lindsay, of Strategy Financial Services.

That has happened in previous large-scale takeovers “and it just kills it – this needs to be treated as a distinct market.”

Lindsay says the current operation, under David Wright, is “pretty good”.

Another insurance adviser, David Carrick-Leslie, notes that Suncorp do a lot of direct selling via the web in Australia.

“That doesn’t excite anybody – we’re supposed to be giving advice and adding value, whereas using the web is just selling a product. But that doesn’t look like its coming to New Zealand at the moment.”

One positive flow on effect could the larger organisation will provide greater clout with reinsurers.

“That could have some positives. It could mean greater acceptance of substandard lives, and so on,” he says.

Rob Hosking is a Wellington-based freelance writer specialising in political, economic and IT related issues.

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