Pacific Leadership Summit in Fiji

Blair Turnbull - CEO - Tower Insurance Portrait session - Auckland - New Zealand 06 April 2022 Photo: Brett Phibbs /

One of the greatest joys of my job is being able to travel to Fiji and the six other Pacific countries Tower operates in to connect with our team, customers and partners.

Tower’s Suva hub is the heart of our Pacific operations and I am back in Fiji this week alongside three other Tower executives for our Pacific Leaders’ Summit, where we will meet with all of our country managers and Pacific Senior Leadership team.

This summit is the first we’ve held in-person since before the pandemic, it’s a chance to get together and really delve in to how we can improve the Pacific customer experience, with new, better products to suit the needs and lifestyles of Pacific people.

Continuing to invest in the Pacific

Our customers and teams are at the heart of everything we do, and a significant focus for us in 2023 is continuing to invest strongly in our people.

After a successful 2022 where we created more than 50 new jobs in Fiji alone, we are forging ahead with our growth plan to create 100 new jobs in-country by the end of the 2023 financial year.

We now have 189 employees at Fiji and by the end of FY23, this number will exceed 200.

It’s great to see so many people excited to become part of team Tower and provide the high-quality service to our customers that we’re so proud of.

I’m looking forward to meeting the new faces who have joined our team since my last visit in November 2022. As part of our ongoing investment in the Pacific on average, we are putting $NZ6.5 million ($F9.0m) into the region each year to enhance our operations, provide innovative services to our customers, and create new jobs.

Subsequently, we’ve seen a huge amount of growth across all countries but we’re not done yet – our Pacific Leaders’ Summit presents the perfect opportunity to get together as a team and plan for further growth.

Digital innovations

Tower is deeply committed to protecting and bolstering the resilience of Pacific communities.

Each year we pay out up to $NZ20m ($F27.8m) worth of claims for our customers in the Pacific, this number includes large events like cyclones. In October 2022, we began piloting a new parametric insurance product, Cyclone Response Cover in Fiji.

Earlier this March, we partnered with the Fiji Development Bank (FDB) to offer this product to women entrepreneurs and women in business who take out a business loan with the FDB. Women and children are often the most affected by Cyclone events so, we are thrilled to increase resilience for those leading the growth of Fiji’s female business community.

The Pacific Leaders’ Summit comes at an opportune time where we are working on making Cyclone Response Cover available to everyone in Fiji, while expanding the pilot into the other Pacific countries we operate in.

The recent devastation caused by Cyclone Judy and Cyclone Kevin in Vanuatu signals to us that this work has never been more important. We’ll also use the summit to share learnings and insights from our New Zealand arm’s response to Cyclone Gabrielle.

Our thoughts are with all impacted by these weather events and we are committed to supporting our customers through what we know is an incredibly difficult time.

In New Zealand, we’ve seen first-hand how harnessing digital and data capabilities like My Tower greatly improves the speed of a large event response, allowing our communities to get back on their feet and back to real-life faster.

I am so proud to share that this month, we completed the rollout of this same innovative digital offering across our Pacific operations – less than one year after our first My Tower Pacific launch in Fiji.

As part of our plan to dramatically increase insurance accessibility, My Tower is the first ever fully digital self-service insurance platform in the Pacific that allows people to pay their insurance premiums; lodge a claim; get a quote; update their personal details; purchase a policy and view their motor vehicle, house and contents policies all in one simple online portal.

In New Zealand, some 97 per cent of homes are insured but in the Pacific Islands, this figure is less than 10 per cent.

We protect around 30,000 customers in the Pacific with insurance but, we know that to ensure the protection and longevity of Pacific communities now and in future, it’s vital that we increase insurance coverage for all Pacific people.

This is especially important with climate change contributing to an increase in weather events. A key piece of this puzzle is improving insurance accessibility and education, that’s why My Tower is such a huge step forward.

Ultimately, it’s changing how people interact with insurance for the better by making it easier than ever before to access and obtain.

What’s next?

Many more opportunities await in Fiji, Vanuatu, Tonga, Cook Islands, Solomon Islands, Samoa and American Samoa.

I am thoroughly looking forward to discussing these prospects at our Pacific Leaders’ Summit this week and look forward to sharing these and other new developments with our Pacific communities in due course.

• Blair Turnbull is the CEO Tower Insurance. The views expressed in this article are his own and not necessarily that of this newspaper.

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