Partners Life has hired the former chief executive of rival Fidelity Life.

Nadine Tereora finished at Fidelity last month citing a need to spend more time with family.

She had been chief executive of Fidelity Life since September 2016 during which time the company attracted a $100 million investment from the New Zealand Superannuation Fund which owns a 41 per cent stake.

Now Tereora will now become chief operating officer at Partners Life, joining the company early next year.

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It will be a full circle for Tereora who worked with Partners Life chief executive Naomi Ballantyne in her first job in insurance at Sovereign which Ballantyne co-founded.

Tereora has previously held executive roles at Suncorp/Asteron Life and AIA. She brings nearly 25 years' experience in the life insurance industry and in addition to her sector and people leadership experience she has specific expertise in leading culture, conduct, claims, underwriting and operations functions.

Tereora said she was excited to be joining Partners Life during a time of significant change and challenge for the industry.

"In thinking about my next steps I wanted to join an organisation that demonstrated its strong commitment to the life insurance industry and was serious about doing the right thing by its customers, advisers and staff.

"This role provides a unique opportunity to join forces with an equally passionate industry advocate in Naomi. I have huge respect for Partners Life's ongoing achievements in growth, innovation and brand. I'm extremely excited to be working alongside her and the broader team to play my part in shaping Partners Life's future legacy."

Partners Life is the third insurance company Ballantyne has set up.

Ballantyne said Tereora was highly regarded by her peers across the industry.

"I am extremely honoured that someone of Nadine's experience and reputation has recognised the unique opportunity that Partners Life has to shape and lead a more trustworthy, resilient, and innovative industry into the future, and I am humbled that she has chosen this role as the best way for her to fulfil her own significant ambitions for the industry that she is so passionate about."

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