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Tower decision leads to court challenge

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Suncorp subsidiary Vero New Zealand has lodged an appeal with the NZ High Court over the Commerce Commission’s decision to block its acquisition of No 3 insurer Tower.

The commission said last month the merger could “substantially lessen” competition in the personal insurance market.

It said the deal would bring together the second and third largest personal lines insurers in New Zealand, leaving only two substantial competitors in IAG and Vero. 

But today Vero announced it will challenge that decision in the High Court.

Tower says it supports Vero’s appeal, and that it intends to file its own challenge “within the coming weeks”.

In other news today, IAG announced net profit of $929 million for the year to June 30, up 48.6% on the previous corresponding period. Gross written premium (GWP) increased 3.9% to $11.8 billion.

Broker network Steadfast also announced full-year results, hailing a fourth consecutive year of record figures.

Underlying net profit was up 9.8% to $66 million, with GWP placed by Steadfast brokers hitting
$5 billion for the first time.

PSC Insurance Group also unveiled results, with statutory net profit for the year to June 30 hitting $20 million, up from $10.8 million the previous year.

More details in our regular bulletin on Monday.