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29 January 2020

Serving the growing demand for migrant business insurance advice in NZ

Established in 2014, Crombie Lockwood’s Asian Division was formed in recognition of New Zealand’s growing migrant business community and its need for localised insurance expertise.

Crombie Lockwood Asian Division Leader, Sean Zhang, says that an increase in the number of clients, primarily from Mainland China, but also from throughout the wider Asian region, led to the formation of the Crombie Lockwood Asian division six years ago.

“Doing business in New Zealand is obviously very different from doing business in Mainland China,” says Sean.

Bridging the knowledge gap

“Our job is to bridge the knowledge gap that many of our migrant clients might initially have and advise them on best business practice from an insurance point-of-view. Also, for most of our clients, English is their second language, so having someone with whom they can discuss insurance policy matters as it relates to New Zealand, but in their own language, is a big asset.”

Overall, Sean says the Asian division team’s client base is receptive to the idea of comprehensive insurance; the value of a robust insurance policy is well understood by the Asian business community. But the nature of doing business is somewhat different.

“There is a lot more face-to-face consultation with Asian clients. For most business owners in this community, it’s important to be able to sit down and discuss insurance requirements personally.

As a team we are regularly in front of our clients because we need to understand their business to advise them on where potential risk lies,” he says.

Bei Yu and Sean Zhang

Crombie Lockwood's Bei Yu and Sean Zhang advise their migrant business clients on best practice from an insurance point-of-view.

Asian business community growing and diversifying 

While Auckland’s migrant business community represents the largest component of the Asian division client base, Crombie Lockwood also has  Mandarin speakers in the country’s other main centres, reflecting the broadening base for New Zealand’s Asian business community. 

Clients in the South Island, for example, have increased in recent times as the market for New Zealand-sourced dairy products in China has evolved.

“That’s a very busy component of the Asian business landscape here, but as insurance brokers, we have a vast array of clients in many other sectors including retail and wholesale,” Sean continues.

“Other industries represented include wine exporters, health supplement manufacturers, construction entities and we have many food industry-based clients too, from food manufacturers to well-established restaurants and even smaller suburban takeaway bars.

“Another fast-growing area for predominantly Chinese clients is the tourism sector. We deal with all aspects of this industry, from insuring tourists while they are here to the tour operators and even the buses visitors are travelling in to see the country.”

Sean has worked for Crombie Lockwood for nine years, and lived in New Zealand since 2000, when he arrived in the country to complete his tertiary studies. He's joined with Bei Yu and Stella Zhang in the Asian Division, with all three fluent in Mandarin.

“We’re a small team at present, but the Asian business community and economy is growing rapidly. The forecast for increased overseas investment in New Zealand looks strong and I believe we’re in a strong position too.

“We recognised the need for specialist advice for this audience some time ago now, and we have been able to establish a rapport and a reputation with our migrant client base, providing insurance products that are explainable and understandable to people from non-English speaking countries who now live and work in New Zealand.”

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