There has been plenty of movement in the upper echelons of the Australian insurance industry in recent weeks and the prominent insurance transitions include:

Gallagher – Pen Underwriting in Australia announces Chief Executive retirement and successor

Arthur J. Gallagher Australia have announced Gary Marshall’s decision to retire at the end of this year and the appointment of Ken Keenan as his successor.  Keenan will assume the role of Chief Executive, Pen Underwriting with effect from January 1 2018 and is anticipated to transition into the business from September.

Steve Lockwood, Managing Director AU/NZ said, “I’d like to congratulate Gary on his retirement and sincerely thank him for his significant contribution to Arthur J. Gallagher over the past 17 years.  While his are large shoes to fill, we are delighted to be able backfill from within and ensure the best possible transition for our clients and our team.”

“Although Ken is relatively new to the Australian market, he has built a solid reputation within the Gallagher business during his time in Canada and has been working with the Australian business since mid-2016 to evolve certain aspects of our branch operations. His move across to lead the Pen Underwriting business will bring a number of benefits to the team including his depth of experience in the international markets we operate in.”

“Ken has a number of leadership roles under his belt including several roles that include an underwriting focus. As such, we are confident that he will contribute to the growth and longer-term success we are looking for.”

Keenan expressed his delight to join the Pen underwriting team and to move forward with them on the next stage of their journey, “Pen is an impressive offering and there is a lot we can do to build on its strong value proposition to create value in new and interesting ways.  I look forward to working with Gary over the coming months to ensure a smooth transition for our people and our clients”.

The role is responsible for a national team of almost 50 underwriters spanning specialist areas including Property, Professional Risks, Construction and Transport. Pen Underwriting partners with both local Australian markets and Lloyds of London, providing access to insurance products across the globe.Keenan recently relocated to Australia to commence a role as their General Manager, Branch Operations after a successful stint as CEO of their Canadian Broking division, based in Toronto.

ICA appoints new General Manager Policy, Consumer Outcomes

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has announced the appointment of Fiona Cameron as General Manager Policy, Consumer Outcomes, effective immediately.

Cameron was previously the ICA’s Senior Manager Government and Industry Relations. Her appointment follows an extensive and highly competitive recruitment process.

ICA CEO Rob Whelan said: “I am delighted to promote Fiona to this executive position. Fiona has served the ICA diligently since January 2010 in consumer relations, regulatory and government relations roles. She has a first-rate understanding of the key issues facing the industry.

“Her new role focuses on developing and implementing the ICA’s policies in relation to consumer outcomes. It includes responsibility for the industry’s Consumer Liaison Forum, the General Insurance Code of Practice, statutory schemes and the ICA’s consumer referral service.

“I would like to extend the ICA’s appreciation to Sarah Phillips, who has served in an acting capacity since last December and will work closely with Fiona as she transitions into the role.”

Cameron said: “Working with member companies to continue the ICA’s work in enhancing consumer outcomes is an exciting challenge, especially with the intense focus on the industry from governments, regulators and other key stakeholders.

“The industry’s Code of Practice is currently under review and I’m delighted the Consumer Outcomes team will play a role in finalising this project in 2017 and 2018. The new Code will inspire and guide insurers into the future, above and beyond their legal requirements.”

Cameron, who has a Arts/Law degree from UNSW, has worked for the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet, the then-Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers’ Union and the NSW Attorney General’s Department. She has held senior roles in research, policy, stakeholder relations, regulation and law across a broad range of industries.

Zurich welcomes three new appointments to its General Insurance business

Zurich Financial Services Australia has announced the appointments of David Abbott, Claudio Lupieri and Vince Banton as Construction Underwriters to its Commercial Insurance Business.

Zurich Australia and New Zealand, Chief Executive Officer, General Insurance, Rajbir Nanra, said the appointment of three new members to the construction team highlights Zurich’s continued investment and focus on growth in 2017.

“As our business evolves, the introduction of experienced members to our team whose skills complement existing underwriting capabilities in Construction Liability, Project PI and Marine Cargo will positively impact our competitiveness in the market. These new appointments directly align to our new General Insurance strategy and highlight our resolve to place brokers and customers at the heart of what we do and continue to reinforce Zurich’s commitment to the market.”

Abbott joins Zurich from Vero, where he spent fifteen years in various senior underwriting roles, including Construction Underwriting Manager. Previously, he has worked for Great Lakes Australia and has held various underwriting and claims roles in his career. Lupieri also joins from Vero where he worked for seven years including as a Senior Construction Underwriter. Prior to Vero, Mr. Lupieri worked for Allianz in Construction and Engineering roles.

Banton joins Zurich from Munich Re, where he worked for four years as a Construction and Energy Facultative Reinsurer.

“We are delighted to have once again attracted top talent of this calibre into our business. Zurich is continuing to expand its existing capabilities in the construction space, David, Claudio and Vince are three experienced underwriting practitioners with a strong market following,” noted Giles Crowley, Head of Commercial Insurance, Zurich Australia & New Zealand.

The three new members of the Construction team will work alongside Gordon McNab, Zurich’s Construction Practice leader based in Melbourne. Abbott and Lupieri joined Zurich’s Melbourne team on 17 July 2017 and Banton will join the Sydney team on 17 August 2017.

IAG appoints new Chief Digital Officer

IAG has appointed digital product and innovation leader Mark Drasutis as Chief Digital Officer (CDO) reporting to Chief Customer Officer Julie Batch.

He will lead IAG’s Customer Labs to help build an organisation that is customer-led and data-driven across IAG and its brands including NRMA Insurance, CGU, SGIO, SGIC and WFI in Australia, as well as NZI and AMI in New Zealand.

Batch said, “Mark is an innovator, consumer product expert and strategic visionary who cares deeply about building high-performing teams, working in agile environments and focusing on the needs of customers”.

“Under Mark’s guidance, we can accelerate our focus on driving IAG forward to become a leader in digitally-enabled customer experiences.”

Drasutis said, “Digital is now central to insurance services and sets new levels of customer expectations for IAG and its brands to make peoples’ lives safer”.

“This opportunity to combine the great teams, data, platforms and technologies at IAG was one I couldn’t miss. I am looking forward to helping set the course for customer-focused growth across all the IAG brands, now and for the future.”

He has over two decades of media and digital product experience and joins IAG from News Corp Australia where he led the digital product, platform, UXD, audience insights and innovation teams as Chief Product Officer, Digital. Prior to News Corp Australia, Mr Drasutis led a team at Yahoo! Europe, Middle East and Africa, delivering engaging consumer experiences across a wide range of markets and platforms using data and customer insights to inform strategic business decisions.

Drasutis’ CDO appointment follows former New York’s Saatchi and Saatchi CEO Brent Smart’s appointment in February 2017 as Chief Marketing Officer within the Customer Labs division. Mr Smart now leads brand portfolio management, marketing strategy and creative for IAG and its brands.

Berkley Insurance Australia announces two key strategic hires

Berkley Insurance Australia has announced the addition of two new managers for the group, Jon Willmott and David Rogers, who will fill two key roles.

Willmott has joined in the role of NSW State Manager overseeing and developing the underwriting team that is the face of our business to the broker market. Jon has a long and distinguished background in underwriting and customer service through his previous roles within Lloyd’s and with a national underwriting agency, and is extremely excited to be joining and further strengthening the Berkley team in Sydney.

“It is a breath of fresh air to be joining an organisation which has at its core a philosophy of providing fast turnaround of quotes backed up by real underwriting expertise. All of the systems, processes and people are dedicated to providing that result for brokers and I am excited to be integrally involved in achieving this and leading my team to the standard of excellence that our market demands,” he said.

David Rogers has joined to head up Corporate Solutions which fits strategically and capitalises on products being developed at a global level by the Berkley Group in the US. Initially, David’s focus is on developing products and expertise in the Transactional Insurance market specialising in the highly specialised Warranties and Indemnities, Tax Opinion and Contingent Liability covers.

Rogers’ experience includes establishing and developing new businesses which most recently included formation of Ironshore’s Australia platform in 2011. His Corporate Solutions remit includes, Cyber, Product Recall, Life Sciences and Environmental Liability, all of which are niche markets successfully being offered via specialist divisions of the Berkley Group in the US.

CEO, Tony Wheatley said, “The aim is to establish a portfolio focussed mainly on the specialty classes where we can add value by delivering on the service and expertise model Berkley are widely regarded for in the SME space”. “David has experience in developing products and insurance business in the start-up phase and is an invaluable addition to my senior management team.”

Rogers  said “the opportunity to join an established business with the freedom to set up new product lines is an exciting challenge and one that I am really looking forward to. The ability to work with the team locally and overseas to expand the breadth and depth of the business in Australia is really unique and will add another layer of products to Berkley capabilities while retaining the service and expertise focus”.