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$37.1 Million Net Surplus for AMI

Branches and Branding = $37.1 Million Net Surplus for AMI

The country’s largest wholly New Zealand owned fire and general insurer, AMI Insurance, has posted a record $37.1m Net Surplus After Taxation.

During the year AMI returned value to its members, extended its branch network and invested in its branding, all of which have contributed to strong business growth.

AMI’s record Net Surplus for the year ended 30 June 2006 added to its already strong financial position. Total Assets of the mutually owned company increased to $408m and Equity rose by 16% to $267m. AMI’s Solvency Margin, an insurance industry-accepted indicator of financial strength, at 108.9% is the highest in the New Zealand industry.

“This is an excellent result coming as it does in our 80th year of operation. It provides a sound base from which we can provide further benefits to our members,” says AMI Chief Executive, John Balmforth.

“As a mutual company, owned by our policyholders, we have continued to put customers at the centre of our business and increased our efforts to return value to them. This year over 200,000 customers received, free, our market leading maximum No Claim Bonus protection, freeBmax®. We also enhanced our multi-product discounts and further invested in our branch network.”

“These initiatives, plus supporting our customers through the worst snowstorm in 40 years, saw the Underwriting Surplus reduce from $22m to $17m. However, Investment Income rose by $9m to $37m, underpinning the year’s result,” says Mr Balmforth.

As part of its commitment to delivering Customer Care, AMI has continued to expand its branch network. During the year a new branch was opened in Chartwell, Hamilton with 6 branches relocated to larger premises, including AMI’s Hastings branch to a landmark Art Deco building.

As in past years AMI’s 24/7 Call Centres and branch network proved beneficial to customers as the company responded to weather-related events.

“The big Canterbury and South Canterbury snowstorm in June highlighted the real value of our branch network. Our staff in Ashburton, Hornby, Rangiora and Timaru, together with colleagues from across the country, were on the ground immediately dealing with claims. Their effort was well supported by our 24/7 Call Centres and Head Office staff. This event generated over 3800 claims, an AMI record for such an event,” says Mr Balmforth.

AMI’s rebranding was another highlight of a very successful 2005/06. The new logo is a big departure from the traditionally austere branding approach of the insurance sector.

“Our new branding reflects how we like to do business and the way we help customers – with a smile. We are delighted with the response we have had to the new branding – from both our customers and staff. Since launching the new branding we have seen a significant growth in both customer and policy numbers,” says Mr Balmforth.

AMI wrote its first policy in Dunedin in 1926 and this year is celebrating its 80th birthday with a national network of 70 local branches and two Call Centres employing 725 staff.

“Our staff are a vital part of our company. They are the people who make Customer Care a reality. This year’s result is a tribute to their efforts and professionalism,” says Mr Balmforth.

AMI staff rated AMI, for the sixth consecutive year, as one of the ‘Best Places to Work’ in Unlimited Magazine’s survey of New Zealand businesses, the only company to have featured in all surveys completed to date.

AMI has kept its roots firmly in the community “going the extra smile” through its involvement of over 170 sponsorships nationwide. This year its support of community organisations saw it become principal sponsor of the Canterbury Rugby Football Union and sponsor of the Auckland Walking School Bus Programme. AMI continues to support its long-term partnerships with the Christchurch Symphony, Parents Inc., 17 Rugby Referee Associations and the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research.

Insurance rating company, A.M. Best Co., confirmed AMI’s rating at ‘A’ (Excellent) with a positive outlook.

“AMI’s strategic direction will continue to focus on Customer Care and our strong financial position will see an increased focus on our programme to recognise and reward customer loyalty,” concludes Mr. Balmforth.

ends

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