Insurance Career Transitions

ZURICH NAMES APAC CHIEF

Zurich has announced former Generali executive Jack Howell as its new Regional CEO for the Asia-Pacific.

From September 1 Jack Howell will replace Stuart Spencer in the Hong Kong-based role, reporting directly to Group CEO Mario Greco.

Howell was formerly Generali’s regional officer for Asia.

Greco, who moved to Zurich from Generali in March, says Howell “brings 20 years of industry knowledge and a successful track record in managing insurance businesses in the [Asia-Pacific] region, including CEO positions in the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia at AIG and Prudential”.

He says Spencer will remain in the region “and will work closely with Jack”.

LEADERSHIP CHANGE AT QBE

QBE has let go of  Australian and New Zealand CEO Tim Plant “effective immediately” as it reports a 46 per cent fall in profits in its half year report today.

Existing group CFO Pat Regan will take responsibility for the Australian and New Zealand business while the company looks for a permanent CEO.

“I believe this change of leadership, along with the increased near-term focus on tight management of underwriting performance and cost control, will deliver on the division’s potential in the current environment and will set us up for future success,” says group CEO John Neal.

The insurance giant reported 2016 HY profit of $265 million, down from $455 million from the same period last year.

“While the interim result is broadly in line with our expectations, QBE’s business is not immune to macro conditions that are challenging the returns of all insurance companies,” Neal says.

“This is particularly evident in our Australian & New Zealand Operations where cumulative pricing declines concurrent with heightened claims inflation have detracted from performance in several of our short tail classes, exacerbated by the well-publicised deterioration in the NSW compulsory third party (CTP) scheme.”

The Australia and New Zealand business reported a 3 per cent fall in gross written premium in the interim, and a profit of US$148 million, down US$99 million from 2015.

It reported combined operation ratio of 93.9 per cent in the 2016 interim and a “significant deterioration” in the attritional claims ratio.

Indeed, CFO Regan notes the latter is “disappointing” and “unacceptable”.

Neal adds: “We are responding decisively with price increases, revised terms and conditions and other portfolio adjustments, and remain confident that these actions will benefit the claims ratio in 2017.”