TOWER’s origins go back to 1869 when the Government Life Insurance Office (Government Life) was created in New Zealand, with its initial capital provided by the New Zealand government. Government Life became a separate statutory body with the passing of the Government Life Insurance Act in 1953. It was renamed TOWER Corporation in 1987 and in 1990 ownership was conferred to its policyholders with the passing of the TOWER Corporation Act, allowing TOWER to be owned as a mutual association.
To remove growth constraints resulting from difficulties in accessing new capital under the mutual association structure, TOWER undertook a demutualisation process in 1999 with the approval of its policyholders and the High Court. The effect of this was to convert TOWER’s legal status to a shareholder owned company. Subsequent to the demutualisation, TOWER Limited undertook a listing on the Australian and New Zealand stock exchanges in September 1999. In November 2006 TOWER's New Zealand and Australian businesses were separated with the approval of its shareholders and the High Court.