January Insurance transitions

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

Calibre welcomes new hire

Joining Calibre Commercial Insurance as head of underwriting is David Simpson, who brings with him several decades of experience working in the general insurance industry in Australian and New Zealand markets.

Mike Hooton, Calibre insurance CEO, said Simpson’s “knowledge and experience will be a real asset to our business and complement our focus on delivering electronically underwritten business package insurance to brokers.”

Prior to his new role, Simpson was the head of underwriting at Hollard Insurance Company, responsible for creating and managing the underwriting aspects of the firm’s SME offering to brokers.

SURA rehires past employee

Ross Gilbert recently took on the role as the national manager in charge of running both SURA Labour Hire and SURA Specialty. He will be based in the firm’s Melbourne office.

“We are very pleased to have Ross back on board,” said Angie Zissis, managing director of SURA. “He previously worked for our group of agencies for over seven years. His return shows his strong connection to our business. His expertise is invaluable and his understanding of complex liability risks and the bespoke coverage requirements that come from risks within the labour hire industry will ensure that both these agencies will continue to grow and that brokers are provided first-rate service and technical know-how.”

Gilbert said he is pleased to reunite with the SURA-branded family as this would allow him to continue to look after those brokers he’s supported over the years and find new ways to support brokers in the growing niche segment.

QBE appoints Head of SME

QBE has appointed Aaron Gavin to the role of Head of SME (small and medium enterprises) for its Australian and New Zealand Operations.

Gavin will take up the newly-created role, reporting to Jason Clarke, Executive General Manager Intermediary Distribution, on 5 March 2018. He joins from Allianz where most recently he was the National Underwriting Manager for SME & Personal Lines, Broker and Agency Commercial.

Clarke said the role was created to provide the necessary focus and expertise to develop and drive the vision in this sector, in alignment with the broader business strategy.

“I’m absolutely delighted to welcome Aaron to QBE in this new role. He brings with him a wealth of experience from more than 20 years in the insurance industry and is an experienced leader with a deep understanding of the SME market.

Clarke said QBE’s focus on the SME market would involve better understanding and developing relationships with end customers, in conjunction with its strong broker partnerships.

“As we look to become a more truly customer-centric business, we need to get closer to our end customers, but we’ll continue to work collaboratively with our valued broker partners to ensure we deliver the best possible end-to-end experience,” he said.

JLT strengthens Professional Indemnity Team

JLT Specialty has appointed Colin Taylor as Partner within the Professional Indemnity team.

Colin has over 25 years of experience in the insurance industry, and joins from Willis Towers Watson where he was Executive Director in their FINEX division focussing on the risk management requirements for larger firms.

Martin Ellis, Head of UK Professions at JLT Specialty, said: “We are thrilled that Colin has joined JLT as he is without question one of the most experienced specialist PI brokers in the UK. He has a deep rooted knowledge of the risk issues faced by professional services firms and will no doubt be a major asset both to our team and our clients.”

Taylor added,: “The team at JLT is clearly committed to being the best in the industry, and I am looking forward to helping provide innovative solutions to the constantly evolving risk challenges faced by the professional services sector.”

Leadership change at icare

The Chairman of icare Michael Carapiet has announced that John Nagle, Group Executive – Workers Insurance has been appointed Interim Managing Director & CEO of icare NSW following Vivek Bhatia’s resignation to pursue a new career opportunity in the private sector.

Nagle is a highly experienced insurance executive and has played a key role in the formation and running of icare and its predecessor since 2014.

“Vivek leaves icare well-advanced in delivering its vision of providing world-class, customer-centric services to the NSW community. He has embodied the icare mantra ‘commercial mind, social heart’ and with his executive team set the tone for the organisation,” Carapiet said.

Bhatia said he was grateful for the opportunity to serve the NSW community while at icare and proud of what has been achieved to date by the team at icare.

Bhatia will work over the next few weeks to help transfer his responsibilities to Nagle.

QBE announces new CEO for ANZ

Insurance giant QBE has appointed Vivek Bhatia as chief executive of its Australian and New Zealand business.

Bhatia is currently the chief executive of icare, the NSW government’s manager of insurance and care schemes, and was formerly chief executive of Australian underwriting operations at Wesfarmers Insurance.

He will join QBE in the next three months, and steps into the role vacated by Pat Regan, who was promoted to QBE group chief executive in September.

Regan says with 20 years in insurance and management consulting, Bhatia will bring a wealth of experience to the role.

“He reflects QBE’s passion for building customer and employee satisfaction and is well credentialed to leverage the strong platform in the Australia and New Zealand business,” Regan said.

Bhatia said it was a privilege to take on the leadership role at QBE, and said he was excited to further enhance QBE’s strong position in the Australian and New Zealand markets.