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Record Year For HIH Insurance In New Zealand

Major risk insurer HIH Casualty and General Insurance (NZ) Ltd (HIHNZ) has announced record turnover and profit for the year to June 30, 2000.

HIH Casualty and General Insurance (NZ) Ltd and subsidiaries earned $114 million in underwriting revenue from premiums and commissions (up 38% on the comparable 12-month period last year) and consolidated after tax profit of $22.1 million (up 410%).

A consolidated underwriting surplus of $3.9 million was augmented by $11.6 million of investment and other income, and a tax credit of $6.6 million.

The group in New Zealand had total assets at June 30 of $300 million, with equity of $132.5 million, up from $110.4 million 12 months previously.

Earlier in the week Standard's and Poor's lifted its negative CreditWatch rating from HIHNZ and reaffirmed the company's A- credit rating, assigning it a higher insurer financial strength than its Australian-based parent company, HIH Insurance Ltd.

The Standards and Poor's upgrading was largely the result of HIHNZ's new strong stand-alone financial structure. This included the appointment of an independent supervisor to control company distributions and ensure that HIHNZ's assets and income continue to support its A- rating.

Managing director of HIH in New Zealand, Ross Chapman, says the year end results reflect a dynamic year for HIHNZ with the release of several new risk products into the New Zealand market.

These included New Zealand's first private legal aid insurance cover, Self Defence, which was launched in March and has attracted strong sales activity.

This was followed by an employee rights product that gives employees access to expert help in resolving employment disputes without having to be members of a trade union.

HIH has also been very active in supporting employers in the wake of changes to ACC legislation, Mr Chapman said.

"Our broker network and clients have welcomed our initiatives in all these areas," Mr Chapman said. "Their support has enabled the New Zealand group to achieve record year end results and to continue trading strongly since June 30.

"The positive outcomes of our financial results and the Standard and Poor's reassessment clearly signal that our growth strategy of combining product innovation with a strong financial base is being well-received by the marketplace."

Issued by HIH Casualty & General Insurance (NZ) Ltd on 7th December 2000

For further information, please contact Mr Chapman on 379 7697 or 021 965 303

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