Transitions: February 2014

An international underwriter has signalled a strong focus on the surety market, after an experienced hand to head up its Australian division.

AXIS Specialty Australia

AXIS has boosted its property underwriting capabilities in Brisbane after hiring Suzie Grierson as Property Underwriter.

Grierson was most recently Product Manager at Altiora Insurance Solutions, where her underwriting authority spanned across industrial special risks, public and products liability, machinery and equipment breakdown and associations liability.

AXIS National Property Lines Manager Brett Walsh welcomed Grierson, adding that the expanded Brisbane property division is testimony to AXIS’s growth in Queensland.

BMS Group

The London-based reinsurance broker has stepped up its Australian presence, appointing Brett Field as the CEO of the company’s Australian office in Sydney.

BMS has set a goal to double in size in four years and has staked Australia out as part of that growth. BMS CEO Nick Cook says Field has 25 years experience in Australian and New Zealand wholesale markets and is highly regarded.

“He is well known and respected in both the Australasian and London markets.  His appointment represents an important stage of our international development in the Asia Pacific region and I greatly look forward to working with him in building our international business,” Cook says.


FP Marine Risks

The specialist marine insurance brokers have appointed Rupert Morton to the newly established role of Head of Reinsurance for Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific.

Morton says insurers are increasingly using facultative reinsurance to provide their clients with wider cover in areas outside their usual risk appetites.

“There is a growing demand for tailored facultative reinsurance amongst many insurers in the region as an integral tool in their portfolio management and development,” he says. “FP Marine Risks is well positioned to work with insurers to optimise their effectiveness and satisfy their requirements.”


Insurance Council of Australia

Ian Berg has resigned as an ICA Board Director, as he steps back from insurance after 35 years in the industry. Berg served on the board for more than five years and Board President and Chairman Mark Milliner thanked him for his sterling work.

“He has made a significant contribution to the organisation and the insurance industry, helping to steer the ICA and broader general insurance industry forward,” he says.

“We will miss his experience and insights, and his passion for the insurance sector and the positive role it plays in the Australian economy and community.”

Berg retired from his role as FM Global Australia Operations Manager at the beginning of the year, and will also step down as FM Insurance CEO on 31 March.

Lyndon Broad has taken up the Operations Manager role.


Liberty International Underwriters

Liberty has stepped up its focus on the surety sector by importing a senior surety underwriter to Australia. Jonathon Griffiths has taken up the position of National Surety Manager, having spent six years with Liberty and working extensively in surety across many international markets.

The firm has been issuing surety bonds in Australia for approximately 15 years but the new appointment means a new focus on building a physical presence in the market and targeting large publicly traded companies, as well as privately owned entities.

Liberty Senior Vice President Noel MacCarthy says surety bonds are particularly useful to companies in construction, engineering, oil and gas and transportation.

“Given the strength of those sectors in Australia, there’s increasing demand for surety expertise in this market,” he says.

“Jonathan’s expertise in this field, plus his experience in the London market, makes him the ideal person to launch and grow our Australian surety business.”