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Farewell Naomi

Monday, June 15th 2009, 8:49AM 12 Comments

by Philip Macalister

Naomi Ballantyne's decision to leave her "baby" ING Life is a significant loss for the life insurance industry...but it's also not a big surprise. A story started circulating late last year that she may move on. Also it seems when there are changes to the leadership of a group significant personnel changes follow. We have seen this with ING since Helen Troup took over the reigns. She is in the process of making a new ING - which considering the current circumstances, isn't a bad thing. It's a little irrelevant whether Naomi's departure and Troup's arrival are related. The purpose of this post is to acknowledge what Naomi has done and also give readers a chance to leave their messages. No one would disagree with the proposition that Naomi has been a big figure in the life insurance industry, through her roles at Sovereign and her decision to leave and establish what was called Sovereign Mark II. That Mark II was Club Life and evolved into ING Life. ING Life has been doing a great job in the life insurance market and certainly must be highly profitable for the parent company. Naomi has often been outspoken and some of her views have created controversy. It's important that the industry has robust discussions around issues and no doubt Naomi's departure will be a big loss. To leave a comment or your thoughts on her departure use the comments box below.
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Comments from our readers

On 15 June 2009 at 10:09 am Gerard Prinsen said:
Maybe Naomi's just reading the Austrialian and European papers and jumping ship in time.

Last week ING Group announced again it wants to sell 15 JVs in 10 countries. And not in Europe or the Americas.

Hommen did mention ING's businesses in Japan, China and Australia as being for sale. Most likely ING (NZ) would be thrown in the package too.

ANZ is probably picking up the ING pieces for a bargain. Bet's are on that it'll be before Xmas.,21985,25606803-664,00.html
On 15 June 2009 at 10:10 am Darren Gannon said:
Naomi not only brought leadership to the industry but ethics and humulaity in a industry that sometimes forgets that advisers are not just a number on their balance sheets.
ING are the champions in adviser land due to the way Naomi lead the company and the support she gained from her staff and distributers without the need of locked in contracts, or hidden agendas.
On 15 June 2009 at 10:13 am Mark said:
Naomi, our industry is going to miss your pioneering spirit and unbounded energy. All the best for your future.
On 15 June 2009 at 10:42 am Lucas Remmerswaal said:
Congratulations to you Naomi, on all your achievements, and thank you for leaving your footprints on the sands of our industry!
On 15 June 2009 at 11:47 am Rick Irvine said:
Naomi, On behalf of myself and close colleagues I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you on your outstanding career and achievements in our great industry.
The impact you have had is second to none. The commitment, dedication and unfaultering passion for the company and industry is truly a reflection on you as a person and you have certainly earned the right to stand tall in this sometimes cynical industry.
Your ability to build and strengthen good, honest relationships with advisers on a personal level is of great credit to you and something your fellow peers should consider adopting.
A comment you made a couple of years ago should be written into the philosophy of all Insurance Companies: "ING Life, on assessing all the information, will still pay a claim, if I believe it is the
'right thing to do' - irrelevent of policy wordings, fine print or other insurance outs."
Your belief in people and your advisers is a great asset to you and others.
I wish you a fantastic future as you embark on a new quest and have no doubt in my mind you will again change the course of another industry and make it all the better for those involved.
Kerry, Kris and yourself should be extremely proud, as are all of us whom you have worked with over the years.
So in Southern terms......"GOOD ON YA MATE"
On 15 June 2009 at 12:31 pm Lawrence Woodley said:
That's the way it is.

"Women and children first"

All the life jackets will be gold plated I guess.
On 15 June 2009 at 1:27 pm Alistair Preece said:
Dear Naomi,

It is extremely rare to find someone as good as you in the industry at an executive level. I wish you weren't leaving as the industry will suffer. In particular it will miss your 'common sense' approach.

You have always gone into bat for advisers and staff.

On behalf of the many people you have helped with their careers- thank you!
On 15 June 2009 at 2:30 pm Kerry Otto said:
Naomi, I personally think your footsteps have been left in rock in this industry. You are a stalwart of the insurance industry. You have passion, compassion and foresight rarely shown by others. Your drive and determination are industry leading. I personally will be sorry to see you leave. Maybe you will pop up somewhere else. Good luck to you and Kerry and your family for the future.

Kerry Otto
On 16 June 2009 at 1:04 pm Doug McEwan said:
Naomi I think back to the first day we met in that tiny office in Takapuna soo many years ago.
Your were then as you are now positive ,forthrite and determined. I wish you all the best for whatever you decide to do and am absolutely certain whatever it is it will be a success.
You will be missed as will your common sense approach.Thank you for all you have done for all advisors around New Zealand,and the Insurance Industry.
Cheers and All the Best.
Doug McEwan
On 17 June 2009 at 8:20 am Paul King said:
Good luck and all the best - I'm pretty sure we'll see what you have in mind fairly soon.

On 22 June 2009 at 9:29 am Andrew and the Team at Cartwrights said:
Naomi you have been an inspiration to many in New Zealand with your personality, respect for others and drive for success.
Your hard work and positive belief in others has led to the success of many in our industry.
You have left big shoes to fill and will be greatly missed by us all. It was always good to have the personal touch by a leader in the industry.

All the best with your new ventures in life which I am sure will be as successful if not more than your baby ING
On 20 August 2009 at 2:30 pm Richard Raj said:
Naomi, You were a great leader at Sovereign when I worked for you and Barrie, a great leader at Club-life and you will remain so whatever venture you take on next.

Your leadership style is inspirational !!

Wish you best of luck

Regards, Richard Raj
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