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Could we see some positives from COVID-19?

Kia ora,

COVID-19 really has brought the world to its knees however one thing is for sure the way we work will change forever and I believe for the better. Companies who have previously said a 4 day week won’t work in our sector, generally have said that out of the lack of trust. If we can put things in place to measure productivity then why does it matter if an employee gets work done in two hours as opposed to being in the office and telling everyone “I am so busy”? They clearly found a way to be more productive and get a better result for themselves and the business.

Technology is going to play a key role in getting whole countries through this and position themselves when the worst is over, nobody knows when that will be.

Productivity in New Zealand is lower than other OECD countries and although all countries will slide because of the virus we can take measures to ensure we don’t slide too much. This is especially key for things like health and wellbeing which we know is a huge issue in this country, even before this virus. With high levels of businesses falling over and some of the highest rates in suicide are we monitoring this? Technology could play a much bigger role in engaging with people who are more at risk.

Now is the time to come together, regardless of religion or race, how do we impart some measures to minimise the loss of jobs, maintain a healthy outlook, do more for the elderly and vulnerable and continue with BAU through technology?

I believe the Government should adopt a “swipe of the pen” approach for example the $300m allocated in the wellbeing budget is not available yet, however we know that tech companies need capital to exist. What about those companies that were in the middle of a capital raise, how do we get access now when the funds are much needed to help maintain the tech sector as the fastest growing sector in New Zealand with fintech being the fastest segment within that? How do we support fintechs who can launch into global markets virtually with the help of other agencies like NZTE, DIT UK, MFAT and Callaghan Innovation?

We have unfortunately postponed a number of our events scheduled for the end of the March and the beginning of April, we are working on developing a Webinar solution so that we can both address the uncertainty of hosting large gatherings and also so that we might extend our reach into the wider New Zealand community with less dependence on Auckland locations. We will bring the Golden Ticket back and are hopeful that our two day innovation workshops for Start-Ups and SME’s will go ahead in July, so if you want to tentatively show your desire to engage, get in touch. The agenda might need to change based on what we are going through right now though. 

I would also like to hear from companies that have a product in the virtual world like Spatial or should we look at platforms like Second Life to keep on engaging? We could see a rush for VR/AR headsets, but will the manufacturers be able to meet supply should demand increase?

Some themes to consider, how do we move more quickly, gain quick access to capital, will the regulators lower the restrictions for innovation like South Korea and other countries, could the Free Trade Agreement accelerate the opportunity for fintechs in both the UK and New Zealand, could we transition talent to help accelerate projects to MVP, access some of the VC money in the UK?

So let’s keep positive, be open minded that the way we used to work and interact has changed forever and it will be better for all. We will get more time back for ourselves, more time to spend with family and probably the most important, more time to consider how we look after the planet. We can be a race about excess, money, power and status, this virus should make us rethink those things.

Keep safe, think about those around you who might not be able to or keen to go to the shops, how do we support them? Also don’t forget to think about looking after your animals as they are part of the family too. We all have plenty of jobs around the house that we keep putting off, so perhaps we need to make arrangements to attack those jobs and go and get the supplies we need, perhaps we get the family to help out and have some time together to create a positive outcome.

Many years ago being a small island geographically challenged to export our goods was hard, now if we go into total lockdown we will as a nation be well placed. We grow our own fruit, most vegetables, meat and great wine, just think about other countries that import all of the above, how will they fair if lockdown lasts a long time?

In this current climate I would like to invite you to a webinar ‘What can we do now to position us for a positive outcome post Covid-19?’ 26 March, NZ time to have an open discussion about what the industry and government could do to support the sector in this current climate, policy changes, quicker access to the $300m, join us and have your say. 

James Brown
General Manager

InsurTechNZ Update

Dear InsurTechNZ friends and colleagues,

Clearly, everyone is in for a rocky ride over the coming months, perhaps even years, as we all grapple with the impact of COVID-19. With so much of InsurTechNZ’s activity revolving around getting people connected and engaged it is leading to some changes across both our – and the wider NZTech community. More below… 

Insurtech Working Group

We have a great line-up of members in the Insurtech Working Group which met for the first time on 25th February. We would particularly like to welcome the new members to the group: Avani Dyas from Delta Insurance, Dale Smith from Javlyn, Jon Davis from InsuredHQ, John Lewis from AA Insurance, Colin Philp and Nick Bennetts from FMG. Welcome all!

Conduct of Financial Institutions Bill

The cut-off date for consultation on the proposed Conduct of Financial Institutions Bill is imminent. A digest outlining the Bill’s journey and its purpose can be found here.

This bill proposes to create a new regulatory regime for the general conduct of financial institutions and their intermediaries. It has been designed in response to recent reviews that have identified that certain institutions, particularly banks and life insurers, lack focus on good outcomes for customers and have ineffective systems and controls to identify, manage, and remedy conduct issues.

In order that innovation can thrive and the important work that Insurtechs undertake to achieve optimal customer outcomes can be taken into consideration, we encourage you to take this opportunity to make a submission before the closing date of Thursday 26th March 2020. The following link will provide guidance on the Bill itself and how to prepare your submission

We are all being encouraged to engage in “Social Distancing” and for those who are interested here is a link to an excellent article with some cool animations to help you understand the maths behind this strategic response to the community risks of COVID-19


Jason Roberts & Kai Dwyer

Co-Chairs, InsurTechNZ


Financial Services Council Conference

Insurtech NZ and FintechNZ is working with the organising committee of the 2020 FSC Conference which once again takes place at Auckland’s Pullman Hotel on 9th and 10th September and will focus on Guardianship, Wellbeing and Sustainability under an umbrella theme of “Generations”. 

This year’s conference will feature a Fintech stream which delegates can choose to attend. It will once again feature a “Pitch Perfect” session and will offer opportunities to exhibit in Insurtech Alley. 

We will provide further information in due course. Meanwhile Super Early Bird tickets are available at favourable pricing.

Techweek2020, New Zealand’s biggest festival of tech, scheduled to take place from 18 to 24 May. Mark the dates in your diary so that you can take part in the events across the country. You can submit an event too.

Insurtech Connect, Singapore and Techweek, London

Insurtech NZ is working with NZTE and ATEED, the Conference Organisers and the UK Department for International Trade to create the opportunity for New Zealand Insurtechs to participate in these events and forge a springboard for success in global markets. The events are scheduled for June 2020. We are maintaining a watching brief on unfolding events related to COVID-19. We will keep you informed as the situation becomes clearer.

InsurTech Connect, Singapore 2-4 June 2020, speak to James or Jason about being part of the Delegation.

Check out Innovfest Unbound, 3-4 June Singapore


Read how the coronavirus could impact NZ’s financial sector and the impacts it could have on technology.

Fintech expert details how coronavirus could impact insurers, could it be an opportunity?

Women & Leadership New Zealand are offering a unique opportunity for female leaders in banking and finance. Scholarships of up to $8,000 and courses are available for all management levels find out more here.

We are always looking for news directly from our members. If you have any stories or information to share, please get in touch.

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