SFO investigates Herbert Insurance Group

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SFO investigates Herbert Insurance Group

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) today confirmed reports that it is investigating failed insurance brokers, Herbert Insurance Group (Herbert).

The company has approximately 4000 clients throughout New Zealand. 

The company was placed in receivership on Monday 7 March, following an attempt to voluntarily liquidate the company and sell assets on 4 March. 

SFO Director, Adam Feeley, said that the Office is investigating concerns surrounding an apparent shortfall in the group’s account which hold clients premiums. 

 “It appears that some client premiums may not have been passed on to the insurers, and may have been diverted for other purposes.”

Mr Feeley said, SFO was working closely with receivers, Korda Mentha, to identify all information relevant to the investigation.

“Our role is to ensure that any evidence of possible offending is secure, but it is not possible for us to give clients of Herbert any information as to the status of their insurance.”

In a release made earlier this afternoon, Korda Mentha advised that they have sold Herbert Insurance Group’s client base to Aon New Zealand, one of the world’s largest insurance brokers. 

Clients of Herbert Insurance Group are advised to contact Aon New Zealand as soon as possible to confirm that they have insurance cover. 

Aon can be contacted on 0800-800-389, or 09-362-9000.  

For further information

Adam Feeley
Director
Serious Fraud Office
Phone: 021 333 539

Role of the SFO

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) was established in 1990 under the Serious Fraud Act in response to the collapse of financial markets in New Zealand at that time.

The SFO operates three investigative teams:

  • Fraud Detection & Intelligence;
  • Financial Markets & Corporate Fraud; and
  • Fraud & Corruption.

The SFO operates under two sets of investigative powers.

Part 1 of the SFO Act provides that it may act where the Director “has reason to suspect that an investigation into the affairs of any person may disclose serious or complex fraud.”

Part 2 of the SFO Act provides the SFO with more extensive powers where: “…the Director has reasonable grounds to believe that an offence involving serious or complex fraud may have been committed…”

The SFO’s Statement of Intent 2010-2012 sets out the SFO’s three year strategic goals and performance standards.  It is available online at: www.sfo.govt.nz