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Ballantyne opens up on her career

Partners Life managing director Naomi Ballantyne has opened up on her time in the life insurance industry in a new podcast.

Friday, August 17th 2018, 8:35AM

In “High Altitude” she talks about her upbringing and how she ended up with a career in life insurance.

She also talks in detail about her time at Sovereign and how she had to leave after ASB bought the business.

One of the reasons is that the bank had a different way of running the business and that didn’t sit with the culture and philosophy she had been building at the company.

Ballnatyne says the bank had the right to make the changes it did but she would have looked like a hypocrite if she implemented them.

The story about how Club Life (later to become ING Life then OnePath) came into existence is detailed.

The decision to start Partners Life wasn’t taken easily. As she tells the story she didn’t really want to start another life company, rather her passion was to create a family-owned advice business.

However, the founders of Sovereign, Chris Coon and Ian Hendry, eventually persuaded her to set up Partners.

To be successful “we had to capture their hearts and minds (of advisers).”

They backed the company as, “they know that what I say I do.”

Ballantyne talks around the features which have made the businesses she has been involved with successful.

“These people (advisers) are my customers. I am there to serve them.”

She talks about how Partners created the best products in the market and its attitude to paying claims.

While conduct is currently a big issue in financial services, Ballantyne’s view is simple; “If you’ve got the right value proposition for the customer it fixes all the conduct issues anyone can throw at you.”

“If an adviser’s selling for you because they like the trip it doesn’t matter because the client has got the right outcome.”

“We’ve got the clients’ backs is the principle of all of the companies ….and by default  you end up with the advisers’ backs.”

“It’s easy to sell and hard to sell against."

Ballantyne says the thing she is most proud of, besides the success of the companies she has been involved in, is that the New Zealand life insurance industry is very good.

“That’s been driven through competition. And I am the competition.”

“It’s an industry we should be incredibly proud of,” she says.

Ballantyne says: "i know I am not loved by a lot of people. I frustrate them. I'm ok with that."

She reconfirmed the exit plan for Partners Life is to do an Initial Public Offering in a couple of years time. She expects to stay on after that.
She has also been developing some new tools to help people with mental health issues.

The podcast is available on iTune here and on Spotify here.

Tags: Naomi Ballantyne OnePath Partners Life

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