I’m no fan of the state, but careful not to dunk me into some big business fan club either. Something in the Dominion Post today just jumped out at me  which I am going to have to throw my five cents on.

Michael Stiassny is the CEO of Tower Insurance. Today Michael got quite the little write up in the paper, which you can read HERE, or below:

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I don’t like what he said at all, and give me one minute to explain why:

His article can be summarised as follows-

  1. People who pay their insurance premiums are trying to maximise their claims when the worst case scenario eventuates.
  2. There are professionals like lawyers and engineers involved who are helping these people-who can get in serious trouble for acting improperly.
  3. People are using the courts-the most trusted institution in the land / the bedrock of our very society- to help them in their dealings with insurance companies.
  4. He is unhappy about this.

He adds further:

“A number of these people are not in any form of hardship, and are basically trying to maximise returns”

Yeah? So what.

By maximise returns he means to say chasing something towards the full sum insured that one was promised prior to setting up the direct debit for ones own premium payments.

Is he really moaning that people are chasing their full contractual entitlements?

I’ll just throw a bit of anecdotal in here. A friend of mine had a large claim with an insurance company in NZ stemming from a house fire. They tried so hard to fob him off at the beginning and try and catch him out here and there on a number of different things. As well as that, they tried to scare him off and pay him out early… for a lot less than he was due.

They will starve you of a remedy when you are at your most vulnerable- without your asset and likely in some distress… then they will make a cheeky offer or do a shoddy repair job or both and hope like hell you are desperate enough to sign it off and not say “hold on a minute here guys”.

My friend was lined up to be worse off after his house fire. But he didn’t give up, and he ended up getting looked after. But boy, did he have to fight. You have no idea.

So you could accuse me of advocacy writing here… but this could happen to any of us.

Insurance companies try to minimise their outgoings. If you are fortunate enough to have never made an insurance claim- then you won’t know how difficult they make it. And the higher the amount of money the claim is for, the harder they make it.

That is their business; their game. I can understand, sure. But to go the paper with a press release and try and drum up some sympathy in the type of work they are in…. get real.

Insurance companies are fair-weather friends. I like honest businesses who advertise honestly with what they are selling and for how much. Insurance advertising is anything but. If you have a major claim, you are in for nightmare at best… but on the ads they never make it look like that.

Just like some of these poor sods in Christchurch are trying to get what they thought they were paying for, you can bet a dollar to a knob of goat poo that the insurance claims officers of Tower are poring over the crosses of every single T, the dots of every single I, of every single claim in the land they are currently processing  in an effort to avoid paying any necessary dollar they have to.

May it never happen to you. But hey, if the worst does happen and you struggle with these guys, let me put you in touch with someone who knows how to fight them and win.

Michael Stiassny is either stupid, a liar, or both.


What a donkey going to the paper with this story. Everyone who read that story would have thought cry-me-a-river.

He should make a blanket rule for himself never to talk to media again. He told all his customers today  he doesn’t like paying out.

Nice story, ya jackass.

Your 20’s are a liberating period I reckon – you learn people in positions of power are no less thick than you merely suspected during your teenage years.

With the fast paced development of peer 2 peer / crowd sourced lending etc I look forward to a better model to insure yourself one day soon.