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FMG & Australian Unity to join forces

Wednesday, 12 April 2006

FMG & Australian Unity to join forces

New Zealand rural insurer FMG announced today the formation of a new Australian based joint venture with Australian Unity.

The joint venture is subject to regulatory approval and due diligence and is likely to be operational by July.

Australian Unity will underwrite the farm, commercial, domestic and other products currently underwritten by FMG Insurance in Australia. Australian Unity focuses on commercial insurance for small to medium sized businesses and domestic insurance throughout Australia.

FMG ‘s Australian operation will change from being an underwriter to an underwriting agency and will continue to build and service the excellent distribution network it has already developed in regional Australia. The FMG and Australian Unity Groups will be equal shareholders in the Underwriting Agency.

“The proposed joint venture supports FMG’s strategy to concentrate on the sales and service of insurance products to regional Australia”, said Gordon Smith, Chief Executive at FMG.

“The joint venture allows us to maintain a strong presence in Australia at the same time as returning capital to New Zealand. Our Australian business has achieved significant growth in recent years and this will be further strengthened with the benefits that our relationship with Australian Unity can provide” he said.

“For some time now we have been investing in our operational capabilities to position ourselves for growth within the Australian market,” said Mr Warren Lockett, Group Executive General Insurance at Australian Unity.

“We are delighted with this joint venture opportunity” he said.

“We do not expect changes to staffing or structure at FMG in Australia ” said Gordon Smith.

For more information or to speak with either Gordon Smith or Warren Lockett, please contact:

ENDS


BACKGROUND

Farmers Mutual Insurance (FMG)

FMG is a mutual organisation, operating under New Zealand ownership for over 100 years, providing general insurance to the rural/regional sector in New Zealand and Australia.

FMG has operated in Australia for 11 years providing specialised insurance services to regional Australia from its base in Albury.

FMG has diversified in New Zealand into other areas of financial services encompassing Life Insurance, through a strategic alliance with AXA, Finance through a wholly owned company Farmers’ Mutual Finance Limited, and Investment Advisory Services. Its 25 branches throughout New Zealand provide direct on-farm service contributing to this success.


Australian Unity

Australian Unity General Insurance is part of the Australian Unity Group, a national organisation providing financial services, healthcare, and retirement living services.

In financial services, the Group’s operations span investments, financial planning and general insurance. Its healthcare business is well known for its comprehensive and innovative health insurance products and a unique approach to preventative health management. Its retirement living business now owns or operates 13 retirement villages across Victoria and New South Wales.

Australian Unity’s general insurance business targets commercial insurance for small to medium enterprises as well as insurance for home owners, mainly distributed through insurance brokers.

Australian Unity’s also owns Mansions of Australia, an underwriting agency insuring executive and heritage residences through Lloyds of London.


ENDS

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