Tower Insurance

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TOWER Limited
Publicly listed company
Traded as NZX: TWR
Industry Fire & General Insurance
Founded 1869; 148 years ago (1869)
Headquarters Auckland, New Zealand
Key people
Richard Harding, Chief Executive Officer
Products House, Car, Contents, Rural, Boat & Travel.

TOWER Insurance is a New Zealand-based insurance company which provides fire & general insurance.


In 1869 the New Zealand Government provided the capital for the creation of the New Zealand Government Life Insurance Department (better known simply as Government Life). It became TOWER Corporation in 1987 at a time when several New Zealand government departments and organisations were being corporatized or converted into state owned enterprises. Three years later, ownership of TOWER was transferred to policyholder as the business was mutualised.[1]

Being a mutual caused difficulties in raising capital and nine years later, in 1999, TOWER demutualised and listed on the stock exchange. Seven years later, and further change as TOWER's Australian and New Zealand operations were separated.[1]

Diversification from plain life insurance[edit]

In 1989 Tower bought National Insurance Company of New Zealand Limited which from its Head Office in Dunedin, where it was founded in 1873, had spread its operations throughout the world. National Insurance had bought the failed Standard Insurance Company Limited in 1961.[2][3] These businesses provided Tower's fire and general insurance divisions.


The company still trades today, with a gross profit for the six months to 31 March 2013 of $44.2 million.[4] In line with many other New Zealand insurance companies, TOWER announced on 10 April 2013 that it was moving away from full replacement house policies towards nominated sum insured covers, blaming international reinsurers.[5]

TOWER is still in a state of change however, and in 2012 TOWER sold both its medical insurance (TOWER Medical Insurance Limited) and its investment (TOWER Managed Funds Limited) divisions.[1] This was followed in 2013 with the sale of TOWER's life insurance business.[6]

Government Life postage stamps[edit]

A unique (in New Zealand) feature of the Government Life office was its use of custom postage stamps, first issues in 1891. This was the result of a dispute between the office and the New Zealand Post and Telegraph Department over the correct calculation of postage costs.[7] All issues featured lighthouses, either in abstract designs or specific lighthouses from around New Zealand. New designs were issued in 1905, 1947 (surcharged at the time of decimalisation in 1967), 1969, and 1981. Use of these stamps was finally withdrawn in 1989.


  1. ^ a b c "History - Financial Services Company Online New Zealand". TOWER. 2013-05-29. Retrieved 2013-09-07. 
  2. ^ Hocken Collections ref#ARC-0488
  3. ^ Wilson, James Oakley. "Standard Insurance". Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 11 April 2016. 
  4. ^ "half year result to March 2013 - News - Company". TOWER. Retrieved 2013-09-07. 
  5. ^ "to move to Sum Insured coverage - Insurance News - New Zealand Online". TOWER. Retrieved 2013-09-07. 
  6. ^ Tim Hunter (2013-05-10). "Tower sells Life Insurance Business to Fidelity". Retrieved 2013-09-07. 
  7. ^ "Government Life Insurance | New Zealand Post Stamps". Retrieved 2013-09-07. 

External links[edit]