Insurance transitions for January 2019

Check out the latest movements and transitions within the industry this month.

Willis Towers Watson Australia appoints Cyber Specialist to financial lines team 

Willis Towers Watson has announced today the appointment of Benjamin (Ben) Di Marco as Cyber Specialist, effective immediately.

Head of FINEX for Australia, Jill Stewart said Di Marco will bring a new perspective and capability to Australian clients. Based in Brisbane, he will work across clients nationally, as well as closely with Willis Towers Watson’s Global Cyber team.

Di Marco joins Willis Towers Watson from Clyde & Co where he helped establish the law firm’s Data Privacy and Cyber Insurance service offering. A qualified solicitor, Di Marco has advised clients in Australia and the US on a range of issues, including privacy matters in relation to post-incident triage, regulatory investigations and third party class actions and complaints.

He is also skilled at conducting privacy audits, specialist privacy advice and post-incident reviews for organisations in industries including insurance, financial services, medical, construction, government and information technology. Di Marco has considerable experience in dispute resolution and financial lines insurance matters, with a focus on professional indemnity, directors’ & officers’ insurance and complex insurance coverage disputes.

Di Marco is also a recognised speaker on privacy matters, having presented at the AusCERT National IT Security Conference, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner’s Asia Pacific Forum and to industry groups including the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

AUB Group Announces CEO Succession

AUB Group has announced the appointment of Mike Emmett as the Group’s new Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, effective 11 March 2019.

Discussing the appointment, AUB Group Chair David Clarke said, “We are delighted to have secured someone of Mike’s calibre, with his strong experience in diversified growth and distributed business models. Mike’s understanding of the full suite of insurance services aligns well with the Group’s successful ‘total risk solutions’ strategy, as well as our intention to be the leading provider of risk management, advice and solutions to clients. The Board is confident his skills will enable the Group to maintain strategic momentum, and will help orient the Group to the future needs of clients while continuing to deliver shareholder outcomes.

“We thank outgoing CEO Mark Searles not only for his enormous contribution to AUB Group, but also for his continued support in this succession process, which has enabled us to conduct a thorough search process and plan for a smooth leadership transition.”

Previously group chief executive of travel insurer Cover-More Group, Emmett has held executive positions at QBE, EY, Morse, IBM, Accenture and PwC. Outgoing CEO and Managing Director Mark Searles, who announced in August 2018 his intention to step down with a view to developing a non-executive director career, will move to an advisory role until October 2019.

Willis Re strengthens its Australian team with two senior roles in Sydney 

Willis Re, the reinsurance division of Willis Towers Watson, has announced the following changes to its leadership team in Australia:

John Philipsz is appointed as the Deputy CEO of Willis Re Australia effective immediately. Based in Sydney, Philipsz will continue to drive the development of Willis Re’s reinsurance brokerage and advisory business in Australia.

Before moving to Willis Re Philipsz worked in Willis Towers Watson Securities.  He was based in London before launching its Sydney office in 2015, and was appointed as its Co-Head of Asia Pacific in 2016.  Philipsz has over 20 years of investment banking experience, primarily covering the insurance sector. Prior to Willis Towers Watson, he held various roles at Merrill Lynch and Bank of America in London, New York and Tokyo.

Karl Jones, Head of Catastrophe Analytics for Willis Re International will relocate from London to Sydney in the first quarter of 2019.  Jones is well known to the Australian market having previously been based in Sydney with Willis Re up to 2015.

While Jones will continue in his global role, his return to Australia will strengthen Willis Re’s ability to provide clients in the region with world-class catastrophe analytics capabilities.

Warren Dresner, Head of Broking for Willis Re Australia, will be relocating to Miami as a senior member of Willis Re’s Latin American business with the move anticipated to take place in the third quarter of 2019. The transition of his current responsibilities has commenced with further talent investment in the business expected to be made shortly.

Commenting on the appointments, Cameron Green, CEO of Willis Re Australia, said: “In recent years, the role of the reinsurance broker has evolved. Willis Re in Australia and throughout the world has been at the forefront of driving innovation in its service offering, to deliver meaningful value and insight for its clients. The addition of John and Karl to the Willis Re team in Australia will strengthen our operations in the Australian market to drive our next phase of growth.”

Mark Morley, Head of Willis Re, Asia Pacific, added: “Both John and Karl will also be part of the regional team and be involved in various initiatives to expand and grow our business in the Asia Pacific region. These appointments are testament to the collaborative way in which Willis Re works globally, and the continued investment in our business demonstrates our ongoing commitment to support the future needs of our clients.”

Gallagher Bassett appoints Mental Health Consultant

Gallagher Bassett (GB) has announced the appointment of Cigdem Demir to the role of Mental Health Consultant for Victoria.

This new role was established to work with the Victorian operation to further support GB’s claims process and specifically focuses on providing tailored and individualised support for injured workers, with every consideration given to their biopsychosocial wellbeing.

Demir has extensive experience in this area, having a background in Occupational Rehabilitation and being a provisionally registered psychologist. Mark Daniels, General Manager for Victorian Workers’ Compensation, said, “I’m really excited that we have introduced the role of Mental Health Consultant to our claims operation in Victoria. I believe that the addition of this role will hugely benefit our clients in supporting early intervention and assist their relationships with injured workers. Cigdem is really well suited to take on this position. Her background and experience will add a great deal of value to the role.”

Demir is excited about taking on the new role. “I am delighted for this opportunity to work with so many passionate individuals and be able to contribute to this organisation in such a meaningful way. I’m passionate about providing and promoting best-practice mental health claims management and support to our clients, customers and staff,” she said.