Friday, 10 October 2008

Newsletter Issue 155, October 2008

Sam Young Newsletter

Issue 155, October 2008
Hi guys,
Find out just how many NZ insurance companies are real "Kiwi" Insurance Companies below.
How has your customer service experience been lately? Time for a change? Have a think about Real Hospitality then. 
Don't forget, if you want to be taken off my mailing list, click here to send me a reply e-mail and I will remove your name.

"Kiwi" Insurance Companies

So just who's who amongst our New Zealand general - ie, not health - insurance companies? And where do their loyalties lie? Unless we had done a lot of digging, most of us would have no idea when we went in the front doors of an insurer, or if we dealt with a broker, just who we were actually paying our money to.
But thanks to Consumer New Zealand, who published a very useful list in their September 2008 magazine, I have expanded on their very useful information to show you some of the tortured web of who owns whom. Most policies in New Zealand are underwritten by the following:
  1. Australia. Insurance Australia Group (IAG) trades under the State and NZI general insurance brands in New Zealand and underwrites car policies for ASB Bank, BNZ, HSBC, NAC and PSIS. Brands owned include NRMA Insurance, SGIO, SGIC, CGU Insurance, Swann Insurance, State, NZI, Hastings Direct, Equity Insurance Group, Open+Direct Insurance, Safety Insurance, China Automobile Association, People's Choice, Diamond, Advantage, Equity & AmAssurance. Interests throughout Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Ireland, China, Thailand & Malaysia
  2. Australia. Vero is a subsidiary of the Suncorp Metway Group (a merger between Australian Government Insurance Office interests and Metway Bank, so Ozzie's 6th largest bank & 2nd largest insurer). Suncorp Metway trading as the "Promina Group" owns AAMI, APIA (Australian Pensioners Insurance Agency), Just Car Insurance, Shannons, InsureMyRide, Vero, Asteron and Tyndall insurance brands in Australia, and Vero, Asteron, Guardian Trust, Tyndall, Vero Marine, Vero Liability, AA Insurance, SIS, AXIOM, Mariner, Comprehensive Travel Insurance and Autosure brands in New Zealand. Vero puts out policies under its own name through brokers, and owns AMP general insurance. AA Insurance is a joint venture between Suncorp Metway and the New Zealand Automobile Association. SIS is underwritten by AA Insurance Ltd.
  3. UK. Tower puts out its own policies, & is wholly owned by RSA (Royal Sun Alliance Insurance Group plc) from the UK, operating in 130 countries, with direct operations in 27 countries. It also owns FinTel and underwrites the policies for ANZ, Kiwibank, TSB Bank and The National Bank. Brands owned include Codan, Trygg Hansa, MORE TH>N, Balfour Beatty plc, Stanley Leisure plc, Travis Perkins plc, Royal & SunAlliance Life & Pensions, Royal & SunAlliance Linked Insurances, Phoenix Assurance, Tower, FinTel, InTouch, Royal Sundaram Alliance Insurance Company Limited, DIRECT Pojistovna, National Pacific Insurance Limited, etc etc.
  4. Scotland. the Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS) owns Direct Line, Churchill, Privilege, NIG as well as insurance sold branded as Tesco Insurance, Natwest, Virgin Money, MBNA, BMW Insurance, MINI Insurance, Mint, Egg, Nationwide, Age Concern, Vauxhall Insurance and several others.
  5. Australia. Westpac's policy is underwritten by Lumley General (owned by the Perth-based Westfarmers Group - who owns a huge chunk of Australian retail including Coles Meyers, Bunnings etc).
  6. USA. A good source tells me that AIG (American International Group Inc) apparently does some retail business in New Zealand, but I have been only able to find AIA life insurance and the Good2Go travel insurance brands. AIG appear to form only a very minor percentage of our general insurance market. In the US, Europe, Asia and Africa they are into property, insurance, marine, health, life and retirement funds.
  7. New Zealand. AMI is a New Zealand company effectively owned by its policyholders.
I was surprised how much of our insurance market was controlled in Australia - I had expected far more investment from Europe. I was also surprised that there appear to be only tiny interests based in the US operating here in the general insurance market.
It is also very interesting to know that there is only ONE independent insurance company in New Zealand. Like Southern Cross in the Health Insurance sector, like Origin Pacific used to be in the airline sector, they are only indie group we have. We should support AMI, before we are at the mercy of global giants with no reason to work for the locals.

Real Hospitality

Kenn Butler puts out a newsletter on topics that inspire him, and others, each week. Kenn has kindly agreed to allow me to reprint part of a recent article on customer service and hospitality, which I thought you would all find as useful as I did.
Brian Meredith (CE of The Marketing Bureau, wrote of an experience of a business that was then, and is now, one of the most impressive examples of total customer experience management. Both he & his wife booked a stay at Grassmere Lodge, a high country lodge in South Canterbury. They had not been there before & the initial experience on the telephone was excellent.
Having confirmed the reservation, the person with whom they were dealing enquired as to how they would be arriving. They told the lady that they had not decided. She then recommended that they fly to Christchurch & catch the Trans Alpine Express. She advised them to make a reservation as the train was always busy, so they enquired as to which station they should book to? “Oh there is no station,” she replied. “Just say you wish to be dropped off at Mount Whitebridge. There is a little white bridge by the side of the track & we will collect you from there.”
Now this was a London boy who was used to getting on trains at Euston & getting of at Birmingham. Asking a reservations clerk if they could be dropped off at a little white bridge – you can imagine the trepidation in making the call.
“NZ Rail Reservations – how can I help you?”
“Ah yes, I would like to make reservations for two passengers on the Trans Alpine Express from Christchurch"
“Certainly & how far will you be going?”
“Ah, well, that’s the point. Apparently there is a little white bridge...”
“Yes that is right - Is this Mr. Meredith?”
Blown away. Totally. Utterly. In the time it had taken him to grab a coffee after speaking with Grassmere Lodge, the Lodge had called NZ Rail & briefed them to expect his call. That set the tone for the rest of the Merediths' total guest experience, and what an experience it was.
The Trans Alpine Express, full with several hundred mostly American visitors, shuddered to a halt in the midst of the magnificent high country, the only landmark in the breathtaking landscape being that little white bridge alongside the track. A Landrover parked on the bridge had a picture of Southern Man standing alongside, waiting.
The Merediths’ were the only two passengers to disembark, with much assistance from Southern Man & the train’s staff. Bags were unloaded from the train, & loaded onto the Landrover. As they were warmly welcomed by Southern Man, the trains’ occupants watched in wonder. No doubt they wondered at the scenery, at the perfect weather, and wondered just who these two people were for whom the trained stopped to order.
Through this meticulous design & management of the whole hosting experience, Grassmere Lodge continues to operate at the leading edge of overall guest satisfaction. Every detail of the Meredith’s stay was flawless & memorable.
How Grassmere Lodge operates says a lot about how their organisation thinks, their corporate values, what they think of their customers, and how important each customer is for them.
Imagine if your customers could say that of the experience with your organisation; that their experience with you was flawless and memorable. I think it takes two paradigm shifts to get that kind of accolade. The first shift is to truly putting the customer first, like Nordstrom's Inverted Pyramid (below, represents Norstrom’s philosophy and structure, placing customers at the top. Next are those who directly serve customers, running on down to the CEO at the bottom). 

The second is to have the consistent foresight and be looking for ways to continually smooth the customer's path.
How many of us will honestly take the time to start to do either of those things? Two key reasons why "customer service" usually isn't.
At your next team meeting, stress the importance of working with your customers. Give your team more ability to respond positively in difficult customer situations. Remind your team that they may not know who people are or who they know, so treat every customer as valuable and take the long term view.
Don't be one of the lip-service customer service deliverers. Start building some habits around putting the customer first and smoothing their path. Before you know it, you too will be at the leading edge.

Printer Set Up Tip

Woody's Office Watch this month published a great tip on setting up a 'new' printer, specifically to print black & white, saving you time and money. You create multiple profiles of the same printer in Windows with different settings for each one. The process to do that is:
  1. Click on Windows Start button & select Settings | Printers and Faxes
  2. Change the name of your default printer from eg "HP 8600 series" to something that tells you this is your colour printer profile - eg "Colour Printer"
  3. To make your 'new' B&W printer:
    • Click on Add a printer and go through the wizard the same as you did to install it the first time choosing the same settings and drivers as for the original printer
    • When asked if you want to use your existing drivers, choose 'Keep existing driver'
    • Name the 'new' printer, giving it an appropriate name for its intended use, eg "B&W Printer"
    • Tick the 'Do you want this to be your default Printer' "Yes" button if you want to make B&W printing your default option.
  4. Your still need to change the "B&W Printer" settings to match its name:
    • Right-click on "B&W Printer" and select 'Printing Preferences'
    • On the colour management tab, tick "Print in greyscale" (saving colour toner)
    • On the quality tab, consider changing print quality to eg 'fast normal' (saving toner & time)

 Pretty easy, isn't it. To see the original, go to

TLAs for SMEs

Here are this newsletter's TLAs for you:
  • NAS, Network-Attached Storage. Hard disk storage set up with its own network IP address rather than being attached to the department computer, delivering applications to users. Removing the applications frees up department servers for faster file delivery to users, as the both applications and storage are no longer competing for the same processor resources.

Please feel free to email me with any TLAs that you want to get the bottom (meaning!) of.

Tips, Short+Hot Keys
Over the next few newsletters, we are going to look at all you can do with Alt and letters. This time it's R:
  • Word "Insert the registered trademark symbol while working" Alt & Ctrl & R
  • Windows "Restore the active window" Alt & Spacebar & R
  • Excel "To restore the window to its previous size and location" Alt & Spacebar, Then R
  • Word "Copy the header or footer used in the previous section of a document" Alt & Shift & R
  • Excel "Move a selected field into the Row area while working within the Pivot Table Wizard" Alt & R

Hot Linx
To find out how New Zealand rates internationally for economic freedom, go no further than the Index of Economic Freedoms website at (and we are 6th worldwide, by the way)
Find out how much money you waste by taking accounting software company Quicken's "Spare Change Challenge" 42 question quiz at
If you would like to find out where people of a certain name are distributed in the world, go to and key in the firstname or surname you would like to search. Very entertaining.
Mt Vesuvius cut short the life of Herculaneum and Pompeii, but the Museo Archiologico Virtuale (MAV) is not only a wonderful interactive museum, but also a great website at Click on any of the places under "Computer Grafica" and enjoy the view

                                Catch you again soon!! E-mail your suggestions to me here


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