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FMG Achieves $100 Million in Annual Premium Income

News Release 17 April 2003

FMG Achieves NZ$100 Million in Annual Premium Income

New Zealand’s leading rural insurer FMG has achieved a milestone writing more than NZ$100 million in annual premium income from its general insurance operations. This is an excellent result and comes at a time when the insurance sector is experiencing unprecedented upheaval.

“We had planned to achieve a solid result and reaching NZ$100 million is in line with our expectations, and comes on the back of strong growth on both sides of the Tasman,” FMG’s General Manager of Sales and Marketing David Clapperton said.

“This result vindicates our resolve to stick to our knitting and remain focused on meeting the needs of the rural sector. We understand the farming and rural sector, and the businesses and communities that support that sector in New Zealand and Australia.”

FMG first entered Australia in 1994. The Australian operation contributed just over NZ$25.5 million of annual premium income, on the back of general insurance growth of around 25 percent in the year to March 31, 2003.

FMG’s Australian performance was boosted by the insurer’s entry into Southern Queensland and its increased presence in New South Wales, Victoria, ACT and Tasmania where FMG provides insurance cover to farmers and businesses based in rural communities.

“While our Australian operation is expanding, FMG remains a 100 percent New Zealand owned company, and our head office will remain in Palmerston North. We’re one of a very small number of New Zealand owned financial services companies and it makes sense, given our rural focus, to be based in a provincial centre.”

FMG’s New Zealand operation contributed just over $75 million, representing growth of some 16 percent.

Rural insurance accounted for nearly 70 percent of New Zealand premium income, followed by: house and contents cover (15.5 percent); commercial (7.4 percent); and lifestyle block insurance (3.5 percent).

“Growth has come from our decision to cater to the businesses and communities that support the rural sector, as FMG has moved beyond providing insurance cover just to farmers and now encompass all aspects of rural New Zealand.”

While best known as a general insurer to rural communities, FMG also provides mortgages and finance for equipment, machinery and seasonal finance; financial planning; investments including managed funds and diversified investments; term life cover; and travel insurance including medical insurance.

FMG has had its credit rating of A- (Excellent) reaffirmed by international ratings agency AM Best late last year, reflecting the Group’s financial strength and ability to pay claims.

With a 35 percent share of New Zealand’s rural insurance market, it is not only the leading provider to rural communities, but one of the most enduring. FMG will celebrate its centenary in New Zealand in 2005.

“While reaching $100 million in annual premium income is an important milestone, FMG believes growth will come from continuing to keep abreast of the needs of the wider rural sector and providing relevant, competitively priced products that reflect those needs,” Mr Clapperton said.


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