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Insurance sector

This page provides an overview of New Zealand's insurance sector.

New Zealand's insurance sector is made up of both private and government-owned insurers.

The private insurance sector

The private insurance sector is small by international standards. There are around 89 licensed insurers currently operating in New Zealand, 55% of which are foreign owned.

Register of licensed insurers in New Zealand

Assets held by the private insurance sector

The private insurance sector has assets of about $27 billion, which represents 7.5% of New Zealand's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Foreign-owned insurers account for about 85% of these assets (figure 1).

The total asset value comes from the insurers' financial statements, which may account for asset values differently across the sector.

Figure 1: Insurer assets by ultimate ownership

Figure 1: Insurer assets by ultimate ownership
Source: Insurers' private reporting

Private sector breakdown by insurance type

Based on insurance premiums earned in the December quarter of 2021, large private insurer business in New Zealand is made up of the following types:

  • General insurance (59%)
  • Life insurance (around 28%)
  • Health insurance (around 13%).

New Zealand’s life insurance share of total insurance business is low compared to what is seen overseas. This is partly due to our well-developed welfare system, and the use of life insurance as a tax-efficient way to save money elsewhere in the world.

Figure 2: Insurance policy and premium revenue earned by sub-sector (December 2021)

Figure 2: Insurance policy and premium revenue earned by sub-sector
Source: RBNZ Quarterly Insurer Survey. The survey only covers the largest licensed insurers (about 90% of the market)

The public insurance sector

New Zealand also has several large government-owned general insurers that are not required to have a licence to operate here. These are:

  • the Accident Compensation Corporation (compulsory accident insurer)
  • the Earthquake Commission (co-insurer of residential dwellings for certain natural disasters)
  • the Southern Response earthquake Services (a government-owned insurer resulting from the bailout of private insurer AMI following the Canterbury earthquakes of 2010-11)