QBE, Australia's largest insurance company, has appointed Mr Jason Hammond as CEO for its Asia operations.
In his new role, Jason is responsible for QBE’s Asia operations, including China, Macau and Hong Kong, as well as Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam. He is based in Singapore and reports to Mr Richard Pryce, CEO of QBE International. He was previously interim CEO for QBE North Asia.
Mr Hammond’s appointment comes as part of a recent restructuring to create a more aligned and customer focused business. QBE announced in October that effective 1 January 2019 it would streamline its business divisions to help build a more agile and customer-centred QBE for the future, central to which is the newly created QBE International Division comprising of European Operations and Asia Operations.
Mr Pryce said, “Jason brings extensive experience of managing large teams and a proven track record of strategic and operational management to his new role as Asia CEO. He will lead the new Asia structure across geographical and functional lines to help create a stronger and simpler QBE.”
QBE survey of Singapore SMEs
Separately, QBE Research has issued a report which says that the rate of digital adoption is slower than expected among small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore, with many hesitant to adopt digital safeguards despite facing an uptick in cyber incidents in the last 12 months.
They are not adequately prepared for the national transition to a digital economy, according to the fourth edition of QBE Insurance’s annual survey of Singapore SMEs. The results found that SMEs have been slow to take up cyber protection measures, digital payment offerings and government support for digitalisation. Despite SMEs indicating real concern around security, fraud and cyber hacks, a quarter of those surveyed said they do not have any internal processes or policies to protect themselves from such risks – a figure that rises to one-third when looking only at smaller-sized SMEs.
This is in spite of an uptick in national-level incidents in the past year, with 90% of SMEs admitting to being aware of possible cyber risks. 40% of SMEs identified the high cost of investment as the main reason for either not digitalising or not making more use of digital technologies and processes.
Other key reasons included lack of digital skills within their businesses and lack of financing and funds. Government support for digitalisation was also raised in the findings, highlighting a disconnect between awareness and uptake.
While 65% of SMEs indicated that they are aware of the various forms of government support available to help businesses digitalise, only 30% have gone on to utilise the support.
SMEs remain oblivious towards risk
Congruent with past editions of the survey, this year’s results found that SMEs in Singapore continue to operate without adequate business protection across the board. Only 17% of SMEs hold insurance for loss of key staff – their most common business issue in the past year.
27% held insurance for inventory damage and/or loss and 20% had protection against cyber hacks.
When polled on their thoughts towards holding business insurance, a strong majority of SMEs (73%) indicated that price is the overriding factor, while more than half (53%) admitted that insurance is lower on their list priorities than other things. 44% agreed that they would only consider buying business insurance if hearing or reading about unfortunate incidents hitting other businesses. In general, Singapore SMEs are laid-back in their attitudes towards business insurance, and take a reactive approach to dealing with common business issues – a finding consistent with previous survey results.
QBE Insurance Group is one of the world’s top 20 general insurance and reinsurance companies, operating out of 31 countries in key insurance markets. QBE is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange and is headquartered in Sydney.