CEOs v2

Lance Walker

2020 - present

What attracted you to Accuro?
There were a number of things that attracted me to Accuro.  

First off the sector appealed. Having worked in insurance before I know, and have seen first hand, the positive impact it can have on people’s lives especially when it comes to health and wellbeing.  So having worked in the sector before it’s great to be back!

But the things that really attracted me to Accuro rather than any other insurer were the size, the culture and the business model.  I love the fact that we are small which means that there is a great feeling of whanau within our culture.  Our size also means that we can make decisions quickly and be more innovative in our thinking.  And our size also requires us to really work well together and collaborate; we really are one team. For all these reasons, our size is a strength. It’s why we like to refer to ourselves as being a small giant in the health insurance sector.

Importantly, Accuro is a not-for-profit, cooperative society. This is a great business structure for an insurer. It means that our customers, our members, are genuinely our most important stakeholder. We have no external shareholder that we have to satisfy. We are here to deliver value to our members – which goes to our purpose: to help our members get well and stay well.  That sense of who we are and why we exist are the things that really attracted me to Accuro.

What are your favourite moments so far whilst being CEO at Accuro?
My first year in the job has really been all about getting to know who we are and how we operate. The most important asset we have is our people and we do have some wonderfully passionate and committed people in our team – especially those who deal with our Members on a day to day basis. So really understanding what everyone does and what it means to be an Accurian has been a highlight. One of the ways I have done that is by spending time on the phones with our Customer Services team, which really helps me understand the experience they have and the kinds of conservations we have with Members.

Some of my favourite moments over the past year are the things we have done with the team – things like our Volunteer Day where we spent time in the community, or the way we have come together to celebrate special events.

As a CEO I often say that I only have two functions – to help set the direction of the organisation and where we are heading, and to help create the environment within which the team can be successful. These are also the things that give me the greatest satisfaction, so working on both of those areas have been highlights for me.

What’s next for Accuro?
We all know that the last year has been challenging due to Covid but the great news is that Accuro has come through that really well – so I’m feeling very optimistic about where we are at and where we are heading. 

There are a number of things that remain priorities for us – things like continuing to build our brand awareness and ensuring we have the best customer experience in the market.  It’s also really important to me that we stay focused on ensuring that Accuro is a great place to work with a culture that we are all proud of.

The year ahead is also significant however as we are embarking on a major technology project – a rebuild of our core policy administration system. Like many organisations we need to ensure that our technology is modern and agile – not just so that we can deliver to our customers today but also so we can continue to innovate and evolve in the future.  This new system will be a core foundation in our plans to deliver new products and services, and improved customer experience (both online and offline).  Like all projects of this nature, it will be challenging but also exciting. It will help ensure that we continue to deliver great service and outcomes for our members for another 50 years.

Geoff Annals

2013 to 2019

What did Accuro look like when you were here?
Accuro was a small business with great staff but was reliant on paper based administrative systems that were hard to use and limited business capability. 

What was the biggest change that happened during your time with Accuro?
Improvements in information capabilities that allowed business decisions to be better informed, more timely and more effective. 

What do you think makes Accuro different to other health insurers?
Accuro started out as a health insurer for health professionals and has always kept best health outcomes for members ahead of best financial outcome for itself. 

What are your favourite memories of being CEO at Accuro?
Working with smart, enthusiastic and determined staff finding better ways to make it easier for members to be well. 

What have you been up to since your time at Accuro?
I am loving life as a grandpa!

Bruce Morrison

2010 to 2013

What did Accuro look like when you were here and what was the biggest change that happened?
Accuro was, in 2010, facing the biggest changes of its existence.  The Reserve Bank of New Zealand had determined that all insurers, regardless of size or product should be licensed.  We needed to change the composition of the Board and the executive team to meet the stringent requirements of the RBNZ to ensure that we had all the requisite skills and were 'fit and proper' to run the organisation.  We established new Investment and Capital requirements, sought a Credit Rating, established new technology based systems and processes and, most importantly, recruited Board, executive and staff personnel that could deliver to the license (but, even more importantly, continue to deliver on Accuro's unique focus on the membership). 

What do you think makes Accuro different to other health insurers?
Accuro's point of difference had to be the focus we placed on the members.  By ensuring that our claims and customer service teams delivered to a standard unequalled elsewhere and that members were treated as you would a 'family member' we created a culture such that Financial Advisers could not ignore us and simply had to recommend Accuro products and services to their client base.  

What are your favourite memories of being CEO at Accuro?
Accuro was the most enjoyable and satisfying role I had experienced in my career. This was, in no doubt, due to the people who formed the organisation.  Each and every person was committed to doing the right things for members for all the right reasons.  This culture of wanting to deliver exceptional products and services via its distribution relationships to its client companies and individual members garnered the trust and the belief that Accuro was in a class of its own.

What have you been up to since your time at Accuro?
After three years of commuting from Auckland to Wellington and only seeing my family on the weekends resulted in me accepting a new role that was based in Auckland.  For the seven years following my time at Accuro I was CEO of travel insurer Cover-More delivering on exactly the same principles that Accuro had proven to be so important.

Dragan Radic

2005 to 2008

What did Accuro look like when you were here?
It was Health Service Welfare Society, HSWS. A member-based society providing insurance mainly to doctors and nurses. 

What was the biggest change that happened during your time with Accuro?
Major changes, internally and externally. Mid to long term sustainability was the challenge. To address it, we needed to broaden our target market (membership was open to all New Zealanders). For that, we knew that we needed to modernise our "feel and look" so the Accuro brand was created, with the image of the vibrant, innovative and fresh boutique insurer. We needed new and attractive products – back then, we were the first health insurer in NZ to offer a discount for non-smokers, to offer a discount based on favourable BMI index and the highest surgical cover in NZ, which enabled us to be innovative with our distribution network and offer online insurance and to reward members for being healthy with discounts. 

We also developed new operational processes, new data-base, sharpened our underwriting criteria and had a closer look at claims management. Accuro's membership grew significantly.

What do you think makes Accuro different to other health insurers?
Members. Personal touch. When we decided to rebrand HSWS we asked members first – we went around hospitals and consulted on the idea to broaden the membership and to change the brand and we had members on board. Today, as it was then, I think Accuro is an innovative and brave insurer with a heart and soul.

What are your favourite memories of being CEO at Accuro?
We worked hard but had lots of fun as well. To support the change we did lots of things ourselves well beyond "job description" e.g. our staff and friends were key models for our first Accuro brochures etc.

What have you been up to since your time at Accuro?
I left New Zealand to join a specialized UN Agency – International Labour Organisation (ILO). Today, I am head of the SME Unit and I lead ILOs global work in the area of Small and Medium Size Enterprise Development. I am based in Geneva, Switzerland. I miss New Zealand and I miss Accuro very much!