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Tower tackles health leader

By Phil Boeyen, ShareChat Business News Editor

Thursday 21st December 2000

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Insurance and financial services company Tower (NZSE: TWR) is promising to give health market leader Southern Cross a run for its money with a range of new products to be launched next year.

Tower has emerged as the number two player in the health insurance market after spending $16 million to buy AXA's health division. The company is also awaiting Commerce Commission approval to nab Aetna's customer-base.

Southern Cross was recently granted Commerce Commission approval to acquire Aetna but must divest all of the medical insurance policies of Aetna members.

Tower spokesman Jim Minto says his company has acted quickly in setting up a management team for the newly-combined health business and is now positioned to take a major role in health and life insurance in New Zealand.

"We have a strong management team with the best talent of both companies and are taking an aggressive stance in the market with a range of new products to be announced in February."

"As Tower is a leader in the financial sector, we are taking that position in health insurance, income protection and life insurance."

"We know that consumers need more choices, we will provide them and ensure that health insurance is a viable option for New Zealanders," says Mr Minto.

Earlier this month Tower reported an annual profit around $100 million and announced plans to shift its head office operations to Australia, where it now has 70% of its business.

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