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Customer Focus Lifts AMI Result

Leading New Zealand-owned fire and general insurer, AMI Insurance today reported an improved result for the year ending 30 June which the company attributes to a strategy of ensuring its customers remain the centre of its business.

AMI reported a tax paid profit of $15.2 million ($10.2 million) on total premium income of $169.8 million ($163.3 million). Claims costs increased 0.4% to $115.9 million.

Chief executive, John Balmforth, said the result was a tribute to the loyalty of our customers and the focus of the AMI team in delivering outstanding customer care.

“Our reserves have passed the $120 million mark for the first time to reach $120.6 million and we have increased our solvency margin to 71.73%. This provides reassurance for our more than 450,000 policyholders in terms of our financial strength,” says Mr Balmforth.

“A 15% increase in investment income to $13.6 million in a volatile investment environment was also a very satisfactory element.

International rating agency AM Best has reconfirmed AMI’s A (Excellent) rating for claims paying ability.

Mr Balmforth acknowledged that while moderate weather patterns had helped keep claim levels steady, weather related claims were more prominent in the Auckland, central North Island, Wairarapa, Canterbury, Otago and Southland regions during year.

He said AMI’s customer care strategy of making customers the focus of all activities, concentrating on core personal insurance lines and retaining a network of branches backed by call centres and agencies was paying off although this approach “was at odds with our competitors. Our customers tell us they want personal service through local branches”.

AMI had also refined its market leading plain English policies for customers during the year.

Mr Balmforth said AMI staff had played a big part in the good result which was reflected in an independent survey that rated AMI as “the industry benchmark in terms of customer care”.

“Our people provide the enthusiasm and leadership that brings AMI to life – their commitment to our strategic direction delivers outstanding customer care and results.”

AMI intends to continue to reward customer loyalty by limiting premium increases where possible but economic factors beyond AMI’s control, changes in risk profile in some customer segments and geographic areas, may necessitate adjustment over the forthcoming year, he said.

“AMI celebrates its 75th anniversary next year and we remain proud of the fact that since 1926, we have stayed loyal to our mutual philosophy of being owned by our policyholders and retaining profits to keep premiums competitive.”


AMI FIVE-YEAR SUMMARY ($000)

1996 1997 1998 1999 2000
Written premiums $ 137.5 151.5 158.6 163.3 169.8
Tax paid Profit $ 5.9 8.6 11.2 10.6 15.2
Cost of claims $ 107.4 111.6 111.1 115.5 115.9
Total assets $ 149.1 167.9 176.5 187.7 208.6
Solvency margin % 56.6 60.4 62.5 65.2 71.73

…./ends

For further information: John Balmforth
Chief Executive Officer
AMI Insurance
Tel: (03) 371-8311
Mobile: c/- (025) 428-217

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