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Tower: Opportunity and breaking new tech ground in the Pacific

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By techweek Techweek Tower

2 May 2022

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Veilawa Rereiwasaliwa, Head of Digital Distribution for Tower Insurance in Fiji, talks digital parity, the launch of the Pacific’s first online insurance platform and investing in the Pacific.

 

Can you imagine having to take time out of your day or week to travel, just to pay your annual insurance premium? Until recently this was the reality for some of our customers in the Pacific, and still is for customers of every other insurer in the region. Now our customers living in the beautiful outlying islands of Fiji can forgo these voyages and simply pick up a device with the ability to pay and update their policy details at their fingertips.  

 Since Techweek21, we’ve been forging ahead with our plans to dramatically increase insurance coverage and accessibility throughout the Pacific. And in 2022, Tower broke new tech ground in the Pacific, empowering Pacific people and economies as the only insurer to offer the same efficiencies and opportunities from digital technology, that we enjoy in New Zealand.  

 Tower is proud to operate in eight Pacific Island nations; Tonga, Cook Islands, Vanuatu, Samoa, American Samoa, Solomon Islands, Fiji, and Papua New Guinea. We’ve been operating in the Pacific since 1874, that’s over 150 years serving Kiwis and 148 years serving our Pacific Island communities. 

Tower is the only Pacific insurer investing to give our customers technology parity and for good reason. 

In October 2019, International Finance Corporation’s representative for Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Tonga and Tuvalu, Deva De Silva said, “from mobile money, to sending remittances and bringing in electronic payment systems, we’ve seen the use of digital technology help people in the Pacific overcome the disadvantages of distance… continuing to harness the power of technology and innovation can deliver more opportunity for more people.” 

Submarine cables now snake across the Pacific region. They connect even tiny islands to the internet. Yet, the data pipes don’t run even close to capacity. That's because there has not been enough investment in digital systems. This is the opportunity that De Silva was talking about.  

Our goal for 2022 is for Tower to offer a world-class digital experience on one core leading platform for all our personal lines customers across New Zealand and the Pacific. Our 100% cloud-based EIS platform went live in Fiji last year and in Vanuatu in February, and Tower introduced the ability to get a quote and pay insurance premiums online in Fiji earlier in March.

Left-right: Veilawa Rereiwasaliwa, Head of Digital Distribution for Tower Insurance in Fiji and Tower Country Manager for Fiji Joseph Magnus with one of Tower’s digital insurance kiosks in Fiji. The kiosk allows customers to get a quote and buy an insurance policy online without queuing in a branch. It’s also a way to encourage people to use Tower’s new My Tower Fiji digital platform.

This week, we launched My Tower Fiji - the first insurance platform in the Pacific that will allow people to pay their insurance premiums, lodge a claim, get a quote, update their personal details, purchase a policy and now view their motor vehicle, house and contents policies, all in one simple online portal.   

The launch of My Tower in Fiji has a huge impact on inclusivity for insurance in the Pacific. Now, customers with internet access can sort their insurance online, without having to go physically to our branches or our agents. This complements the work being done by Pacific governments to increase internet access and enable fast and affordable internet access for Pacific populations.  

Tower plans to launch My Tower in Vanuatu in May, and in another five Pacific Island nations by October 2022. 

In order to prosper, the Pacific needs what New Zealand businesses take for granted. This may not always mean new technology but rather for businesses to invest in new digital platforms and digital infrastructure throughout the region, like Tower is committed to doing. 

This much-needed investment is half the battle – or as De Silva might say, “opportunity”. 

Related TWTV event: Operationalising innovation in a 150+ year old business

How did a company that’s more than 150 years’ old become one of New Zealand and the Pacific’s leading digital-first businesses? Join Tower Managing Director Tower Direct and Digital Michelle James, to learn how Tower revolutionised legacy systems spanning decades to create more, simpler products, to suit the modern lifestyles of its customers.

 

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