Mutual and cooperative insurers from 37 nations address key topics in NZ this week

Mutual and cooperative insurers from 37 nations address key topics in NZ this week

11 November 2019


More than 50 mutual and cooperative insurers from 37 nations will converge on Auckland this week to address key topics impacting the sector and the communities they support—including emerging socio-economic risks, environmental challenges and industry leadership.

These issues and more will be discussed at the International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation (ICMIF) biennial conference—with New Zealand-owned insurer FMG supporting the conference as host. The theme of the conference is The future of mutuality.

While the number of mutuals and cooperatives in New Zealand are relatively small; in other countries they’re considerably more common. In fact, over the last 10 years mutuals and cooperatives have become the fastest-growing part of the global insurance industry*.

“One of the reasons we asked to support ICMIF in hosting their conference was to help highlight the role mutual and cooperatives play within communities, which is often different to that of publically listed companies,” says Pete Frizzell, FMG’s General Manager People & Culture and Communications. 

“A couple of distinct advantages include being able to take a longer-term view of developing the organisation rather than meet short term expectations of shareholders. The other is that we often operate with a higher accountability to community as we’re owned by the people we insure.

“A major example of this for FMG is Farmstrong, the rural wellbeing programme we created four years ago and continue to run with the Mental Health Foundation.

“Internationally, insurers are operating to this higher sense of purpose to help their communities to address other significant issues, such as making insurance accessible in poor and disadvantaged communities,” says Mr Frizzell.

Speaking on behalf of ICMIF, Chief Executive Shaun Tarbuck says, “we’re delighted to bring the mutual and cooperative insurance sector to New Zealand for this conference and our Board and I would like to express our gratitude to FMG for hosting the event. Over 300 delegates are attending the event and the theme of the Conference has driven an agenda focused on the future of the customer-owned model in insurance and how ICMIF members are creating sustainable, competitive advantage.

“The mutual and cooperative insurance market has been the fastest-growing part of the global insurance industry in the 10-year period since the global financial crisis. In this ten year period, premium income of the global mutual and cooperative insurance sector grew by a total of 30% compared to 17% growth of the total global insurance industry. As a result, the global market share of mutual and cooperative insurers rose from 24.0% in 2007 to 26.7% in 2017.

“In 2017, 922 million members/policyholders were being served by mutual/cooperative insurance companies, a 13% growth since 2012. The growing positive socio-economic impact of the mutual and cooperative sector was also evident in the increase in the number of people employed by the sector, which reached 1.16 million in 2017—a 24% growth since 2007,” says Mr Tarbuck.

Delegates attending the Conference will hear from a wide range of speakers including one session from guest speaker Mami Mizutori. 

Mami Mizutori is the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction at the United Nations and will join with others to discuss the role of cooperative and mutual insurers in closing the protection gap, alleviating poverty and increasing resilience to disaster risks.



Claire Broun, External Communications Specialist, FMG

Mobile: 027 302 5057

Additional notes

  • FMG is 100% New Zealand owned and has been an important part of the New Zealand farming landscape for over 114 years. FMG is a mutually owned insurer that was formed to help provide a better deal for rural New Zealand.
  • FMG is New Zealand’s leading rural insurer. It provides risk advice and insurance to more than half of farmers and growers and does this from 31 offices nationwide. FMG employs more than 600 people across the country.
  • The ICMIF conference is the largest global gathering of mutual and cooperative insurance leaders with more 300 executives travelling to New Zealand. This year’s event is also the first time it’s been held in Asia-Pacific country in more than 20 years.
  • The Conference runs from 12–15 November.
  • Farmstrong is a non-commercial giveback programme FMG established with the Mental Health Foundation.
  • It provides direction and support on living well and staying well and encourages farmers to see themselves as the most important asset on the farm.
  • Farmstrong’s website is