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HIH Resigns From Insurance Council

One of New Zealand's largest insurance companies, HIH Casualty & General Insurance (NZ) Ltd, has resigned from the Insurance Council of New Zealand.

At issue is a rigid Council requirement that all Council members must supply detailed company data and information about various categories of the insurance market.

HIH believes the level of information required by the Council is unreasonable.

"We are not in the business of supplying commercially sensitive information to our competitors," said Mr Ross Chapman, managing director of HIH in New Zealand.

"We have such a strong position in some products that contributing the information would enable competitors to readily interpret our performance, even though the source of the statistics would not be specifically identified."

Mr Chapman said the Council's intransigent position on the issue was as inappropriate as its handling of the Government's accident insurance position last year.

"As the country's second largest workplace accident insurer we felt that the Council's threat to 'sue' the Government was inflammatory and unconstructive.

"There were many sound social and commercial grounds on which to argue our case. The Council's precipitous reaction did the industry no good whatsoever," said Mr Chapman.

The combination of both incidents convinced HIH that resigning was its only option, he said. Mr Chapman said HIH had strongly supported several initiatives by the Insurance Council during its membership and regretted that it had been forced to resign.

"We subscribe to the virtues of a strong industry body, but unfortunately the Council will no longer be able to speak for the whole of the insurance industry," said Mr Chapman.

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