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29 Nov 2018

Zurich Australia has shaken up its leadership structure to “strengthen and enhance its core focus on the commercial intermediated insurance market”.

Under moves announced today, Head of Commercial Insurance Giles Crowley takes the newly created role of Chief Distribution and Deal Management Officer.

Chief Underwriting Officer Sean Walker will take responsibility for the commercial insurance portfolio, adding to his oversight of Zurich’s SME offering.

Chief Claims Officer Hilary Bates’ remit expands to include operations, with Head of Operations Wilson Varghese to take another, as-yet-unannounced role within Zurich.

Chief Distribution Officer Steve Ord will...

29 Nov 2018

QBE has announced more changes as part of a recent restructure that resulted in dozens of managerial roles being made redundant.

Andrew Corbett has been appointed Chief Customer Officer New Zealand and Pacific – a new role created upon the retirements of CEO Pacific Sylvain Flore and GM New Zealand Bill Donovan.

“Andrew will work with Sylvain and Bill over the coming months, with Bill moving into an advisory role as GM Broker Relations New Zealand and Pacific until later [next year],” Chief Customer Officer Commercial Lines Jason Clarke says in a note to QBE staff.

Mr Corbett is currently GM Elders Insurance, which recently moved into QBE’s commercial lin...

26 Nov 2018

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) will consider taking action against the Commonwealth Bank over mis-selling of consumer credit insurance, while conceding it has responded too slowly.

ASIC has been waiting on results from an independent review on the Commonwealth Bank issues, which was completed in September. A referral was made to the enforcement team late last month, Chairman James Shipton told the Hayne royal commission today.

“As I understand it, that independent review will form part of the evidence as a part of the investigation,” he said.

Counsel Assisting Rowena Orr noted the delay on enforcement action had extended back...

25 Nov 2018

AUB Group has a “list of candidates” interested in replacing CEO and MD Mark Searles when he leaves in October next year.

Chairman David Clarke told the company’s AGM in Sydney last week the search is “well advanced”.

“The list of candidates who have indicated interest in the role allows the board to be confident that we will have a suitable successor for Mark,” he said.

Mr Searles told the meeting that during his tenure the group has transformed from focusing on Australian broking to become a broader “provider of risk management” across Australia and New Zealand.

This year was successful across all divisions, he says. “What was particularly pleasing to me...

23 Nov 2018

The insurance industry is “increasingly concerned” for Australian tourists following the publication of a survey which shows many are complacent about travel insurance and don’t understand exclusions.

The study, by the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, reveals two-thirds of respondents who recently visited Southeast Asia took part in a risky activity, and one in five didn’t declare a pre-existing medical condition.

The details:

• One in 10 Australians travelled to Southeast Asia without travel insurance. Men and under-30s of both sexes were the most likely to leave home without cover.

• 82% of the under-30s a...

21 Nov 2018

Strident insurance critic Allan Fels has accused home and contents insurers of imposing a “loyalty tax” on long-term policyholders – an accusation that has stirred angry reactions from within the industry.

Professor Fels makes the allegation in his latest quarterly report as NSW Emergency Services Levy (ESL) Insurance Monitor.

He says the average base premium for renewals in NSW is 27% higher than for new policies, alleging that insurers exploit repeat customers while making generous offers to win new ones. understands insurers are furious about how the data they are obliged to share with Professor Fels is being used, and the report’s...

20 Nov 2018

The Hayne royal commission has heard how the Commonwealth Bank continued to sell consumer credit insurance products for years after concerns over their value to customers was raised as a potential problem.

CEO Matt Comyn, who headed Retail Banking Services from 2012 to earlier this year, said the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) had alerted him to concerns in late 2014 after a meeting on another project.

The following year an internal audit found about 64,000 customers had been sold CreditCard Plus insurance when they were not eligible to claim benefits because they were not employed.

Mr Comyn says he raised concerns about consumer...

19 Nov 2018

Insurance profits grew 4% to $5 billion last financial year, building on the previous year’s 25% jump, and further improvement is expected amid a long-awaited upswing, KPMG says.

Gross written premium decreased 1% to $42.75 billion as NSW compulsory third party regulatory impacts offset rising premiums in other consumer and commercial classes.

Excluding compulsory third party, gains were about 3-4%.

“While the industry’s headline profit growth figure appears modest, it must be remembered that this was on the back of an exceptionally strong performance [the previous] year,” KPMG Insurance Partner Scott Guse said.

“To maintain that level rather than falling...

18 Nov 2018

Australian commercial insurance premiums are forecast to rise 6% next year after increasing 7.4% in the current 12 months as a rate-hardening trend continues and the economy expands, Swiss Re Institute says.

“Solid economic growth this year and next will further underpin demand for insurance,” Swiss Re Group Chief Economist Jerome Jean Haegeli says in a report on the Australian commercial insurance market issued this afternoon.

Commercial motor is forecast to rise 10.3% this year and 5.5% next year, while property is expected to increase 4.1% this year and then 6%.

In liability, financial lines, especially directors’ and officers’ covers, are facing sharp...

15 Nov 2018

QBE has made “a number of roles” redundant in its Australian business as it moves to a new divisional structure aimed at creating "simpler, stronger, more customer-centred" operations.

Informed sources have told more than 50 managers have been laid off, including regional managers and key broker relationship executives. But the company says roles have also been created and the net headcount reduction is 15.

Staff were informed of their redundancies yesterday, and most are understood to have already left the company.

As previously reported by, the insurer has announced the formation of a new Australia Pacific divis...

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