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Jun 2019

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Source: Asia Insurance Review | May 2019

Australia: Aon names principal consultant for resources team and appoints new regional director
Aon Australia has appointed Mr Grant Rovelli as a director for south-east Queensland, where he will lead a team of 47 staff across eight branches in the region and report to Mr Kevan Johnston, managing director (commercial). Mr Rovelli will also join the commercial leadership team.
 
Prior to his new role, he was the manager of Aon’s Mackay branch for the last three years. He was also a former National Rugby League player before joining Aon. 
 
Aon also continues to expand within the Western Australian (WA) market and has appointed Ms Charlotte Hood as a principal consultant in its WA resources team.
 
Ms Hood will report to Aon head of rewards solutions (Pacific) Simon Kennedy and will lead the reward advisory business. She will also work with the broader talent, rewards and performance team.

Australia: IAG senior executive to retire
Insurance Australia Group (IAG) recently announced the retirement of Ms Jacki Johnson, its group executive of people, performance and reputation. Ms Johnson, also a member of the company’s group leadership team, will retire effective 30 June this year after 18 years of service. IAG will be conducting an internal and external executive search to identify a suitable replacement for Ms Johnson’s portfolio.
 
At IAG, Ms Johnson has held a number of executive positions across most areas of the company’s business. She established IAG’s first online start-up business, The Buzz, in 2009 and was CEO of IAG’s New Zealand business from 2010 to 2016.
 
IAG managing director and CEO Peter Harmer said that Ms Johnson will continue to support IAG on a few specific projects as she plans to continue with her existing non-executive director responsibilities outside IAG.

Asia: BHSI appoints new head of transactional liability
Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance (BHSI) has begun offering transactional liability insurance through its Asia and Middle East (AME) regions and appointed Mr Steven Harwood as the head of transactional liability in AME. The insurer already provides transactional liability coverage from offices in the US, Canada and the UK.
 
BHSI head of AME Marc Breuil said that the insurer will be offering its transactional liability underwriting in the AME regions through its regional hubs of Singapore, Hong Kong and Dubai. The insurer will also focus primarily on providing representations and warranties insurance as well as tax liability insurance across AME.
 
Based in BHSI’s Hong Kong office, Mr Harwood was previously from Pembroke Managing Agency Underwriting at Lloyd’s Japan, where he was senior underwriter and solicitor for M&A Insurance. Prior to that, he was a senior associate specialising in mergers and acquisitions at Herbert Smith Freehills and also a divisional director (London and Tokyo) at Willis Faber & Dumas, a Lloyd’s Reinsurance Broker. 

Asia: Markel hires new strategy director
Markel International has appointed Mr Christian Stobbs as strategy director for Asia, to be based in Singapore. In his new role, Mr Stobbs will focus on developing and driving the company’s strategic priorities in the region.
 
Mr Stobbs was most recently the managing director of Abbey Tax, a Markel International company and tax advisory business based in the UK. Prior to that, he held roles as a strategy and development executive at Markel’s London office and project leader at Boston Consulting Group.

Asia: BNP Paribas Cardif appoints new CEO
BNP Paribas Cardif has chosen Ms See See Ooi to succeed Mr Vincent Sussfeld as CEO for Asia, effective 15 April. Based in Hong Kong, Ms Ooi will lead the development of BNP Paribas Cardif’s business in the region.
 
In her new role, she reports to BNP Paribas Cardif (International Markets) deputy CEO Jean-Bertrand Laroche and also joins BNP Paribas Cardif’s executive committee.
 
Ms Oi had joined BNP Paribas Cardif in 2014 as deputy CEO for Asia and in 2016, she undertook additional responsibilities as the company’s country manager in Taiwan.
 
She has over 29 years of experience in the insurance industry with expertise across bancassurance, tied agents force management, distribution management, telemarketing and direct marketing. She has also held diversified management roles in Malaysia, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Asia: Sompo names new CEO and COO
Sompo Asia named Mr Daniel Neo as its regional CEO and Mr Yasuhiro Sasanuma as its regional COO with immediate effect. While Mr Neo was previously SOMPO’s regional COO, Mr Sasanuma was most recently the insurer’s executive director, head of corporate planning. SOMPO is responsible for the management of Sompo Japan’s insurance business in the Asia Pacific region excluding Japan.
 
As regional CEO, Mr Neo will head all operations, management and administrative activities of the region. He will work with his colleagues from the Singapore office to strengthen SOMPO’s business capabilities, focusing on improving customer experience, business effectiveness and importantly. He succeeded former CEO Yuji Kawauchi, who has returned to Sompo Japan to assume the role of executive vice president of global business planning.
 
Mr Neo previously served as a CEO at Sompo’s Indonesian operations from 2015 to 2018. He continues holding directorship positions in Sompo subsidiaries in Asia. Prior to joining Sompo, Mr Neo started his career in the insurance industry in 1997 with Allianz, where he held various positions in different countries until 2015.

Asia: Eliot Partnership creates new executive chairman position
Eliot Partnership announced the appointment of Mr Andreas Thiele as executive chairman, and Partner Asia Pacific. Mr Thiele’s career spans 40 years in the international reinsurance markets. Over that period, he has held a number of senior management positions with major international broking and reinsurance groups in Continental Europe, New York, London, Sydney and in Singapore where he has spent the last 20 years, extensively covering all markets in the Asia Pacific region. He joins from AXIS Specialty’s Singapore Branch which he has headed up since being instrumental in first establishing the company’s footprint in the region 15 years ago.
 
 In this newly-created position, Mr Thiele will be based in Singapore and will work with the firm’s global and regional management team to grow its Asia Pacific footprint as well as its wider global client base through their four global hubs in London, New York, Singapore and Zurich.

Hong Kong: Mayer Brown strengthens insurance and corporate capabilities
Mayer Brown announced that Mr Sheng Wu has joined the firm’s corporate and securities practice as a partner in Hong Kong. He was previously a partner focused on China-related mergers and acquisitions with DLA Piper in Hong Kong.
 
Mr Wu has experience advising international investors and companies on mergers and acquisitions and investment opportunities in China and other parts of Asia, with a focus on both corporate and regulatory matters in the insurance, financial services and health care sectors. His practice closely complements the experience of his former DLA colleague, Mr Paul Chen, who joined Mayer Brown in Northern California last month.
 
The appointment of Mr Wu is the latest of a series of new lateral appointments in Asia. In 2018, Messrs Hallam Chow, Kayal Sachi and Ian Roebuck joined the firm as banking and finance partners, while Mr Brian McKenna joined the growing corporate and securities practice. And last month, Mr Steven Tran joined the firm in Hong Kong as a new corporate and securities partner.

Malaysia: MII announces new CEO
The board of The Malaysian Insurance Institute (MII) announced the appointment of its new CEO Shalini Pavithran with effect from 1 April 2019.
 
Ms Pavithran has over 20 years’ experience in various sectors within the financial services industry. She served as the CEO of Malaysian Association of Money Services Business (MAMSB) until Dec 2018 before becoming part of the core team responsible for developing the Money Services Business Directors’ Education Programme (MDEP) in collaboration with ICLIF Leadership & Governance Centre (ICLIF) and Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM). 
 
In her new role, Ms Pavithran’s immediate focus will be to lead MII to embark on a transformational journey, whilst continuing to ensure that the right support is in place to drive the insurance industry in raising its professional standards and in supporting the growth of the economy.

Malaysia: LIAM re-elects president and vice-president for the 2019/2020 term
The Life Insurance Association of Malaysia (LIAM) has re-elected Ms Anusha Thavarajah, CEO of AIA as the president of the association for the second consecutive year at its 45th Annual General Meeting held on 29 March 2019. LIAM also re-elected Mr Rangam Bir, CEO of Gibraltar BSN Life as its vice president for the term 2019/2020.
Ms Anusha Thavarajah, who is also the chairman of the Malaysian Insurance Institute, was appointed to head AIA in June 2015.
 
Her career in insurance spans over 26 years and began in the UK. She returned to Malaysia in 2002 and held several leadership roles in AIA and ING, including as AIA’s deputy GM of operations, finance and actuarial, where she played a key role in the successful integration of AIA and ING’s businesses in Malaysia. Prior to her CEO appointment, she was regional business development director at AIA Group, where she provided strategic leadership to AIA’s businesses in Southeast Asia.
 
Mr Rangam Bir was appointed to the helm of Gibraltar BSN Life in December 2016. He is an established international business leader with over 22 years of experience in the insurance and financial services industry.
 
Prior to joining Gibraltar BSN, he was with the Allianz Group where he spent 19 years in various roles. Most recently, he was the CEO of Allianz Life Insurance Malaysia where he led the company through a digital transformation, establishing it as a leader in innovative digital business models and a top-five player in the life and health segment in Malaysia.
 
Previously, in Singapore he led the regional life and health division as well as the regional property and casualty business of Allianz Asia Pacific as regional GM.

Singapore: Ed boosts credit, political risks and surety Solutions team
Ed has announced the appointment of Mr Abhishek Chhajer as head of credit, political risks and surety solutions, Asia Pacific. He takes up his role on 1 April 2019. He will report to Ed CEO of Asia Pacific Stephen Britten and will be based in Singapore.
 
Mr Chhajer brings more than 16 years of industry experience to Ed, joining from Standard Chartered Bank where, most recently, he managed a project on buyer underwriting. Prior to Standard Chartered, he managed the underwriting P&L for Markel’s credit and political risk insurance division in the Asia pacific region. He started Markel’s credit insurance division in the region when he was hired from Atradius in 2011. He built a team and managed underwriting in the region.

Singapore: Chubb appoints new head of accident and health
Chubb has appointed Ms Serene Neo as division head of accident and health for Singapore, effective 25 March 2019. She will provide strategic oversight of business development and financial performance as well as spearhead new partnerships and digital initiatives. She will report to Chubb country president for Singapore Scott Simpson.
 
Ms Neo brings over 15 years of experience in banking and financial services. Prior to her new role, she was the senior vice president and head of brand strategy and insights at a local bank, where she led the strategic development and management of retail banking and payment products.

Singapore: AIG announces new president and CEO
Mr Christian Sandric has been appointed as AIG’s new president and CEO (Singapore), effective from April 2019. Based in Singapore, Mr Sandric will lead AIG’s business and operations in the country. He will report to AIG General Insurance CEO (Asia Pacific) Sachin Shah.
 
Mr Sandric joined AIG 20 years ago and has held a series of leadership positions across multiple markets globally, including Asia Pacific. Most recently, he served as head of personal insurance for AIG Japan in Tokyo
He also holds a bachelor of science degree in environmental conservation and international affairs from the University of New Hampshire, USA.

Singapore: MSIG names new CEO
MSIG has appointed Mr Craig Ellis as its new CEO, effective 1 April 2019. He assumes the role from Mr Michael Gourlay, who will be leaving to pursue personal interests.
 
Mr Ellis has over 40 years of experience in the financial services industry, mainly in insurance covering general, life and health, and also in banking. He brings substantial and broad international experience having worked in Australia, Europe and Asia. He held senior positions in Allianz, Old Mutual and Charles Monat Associates where he was CEO of the Singapore office, and most recently global head of product and solutions before joining MSIG. He started his career with KPMG and is a chartered accountant.
 
Outgoing CEO Mr Michael Gourlay led MSIG Singapore for four years since April 2015 and has been with the group for over 40 years. During his tenure as CEO, Mr Gourlay played an instrumental role in driving digital transformation across the enterprise.
 
Prior to leading MSIG Singapore, he was with the Singapore-based regional office, MSIG Asia as executive vice president, overseeing regional business development and underwriting in eight markets in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong. He also served on several industry and government committees in Singapore including the General Insurance Association management committee, the governing board of the Natural Catastrophe Data Analytics Exchange and the Financial Sector Tripartite Committee.

Global: Aviva’s asset management arm announces senior appointments
Aviva Investors, the global asset management unit of Aviva, has appointed Mr Paul LaCoursiere as global head of ESG research within its global responsible investment team. In this newly-created role, Mr LaCoursiere will be based in London and report to chief responsible investment officer Steve Waygood.
 
Mr LaCoursiere will be responsible for the corporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) research process, including the integration and monitoring of ESG criteria within equities and credit. He will jointly lead the research team with global head of governance Mirza Baig, who is responsible for ESG integration across multi-asset and macro and real assets portfolio as well as all stewardship, voting and engagement activities.
 
Following Mr LaCoursiere’s appointment, Mr Oliver Judd and Mr Kevin Gaydos have been named co-heads of credit research, reporting to chief investment officer (credit) Colin Purdie. While London-based Mr Judd continues to lead the financials team, Chicago-based Mr Gaydos will lead the commodities and industrials team. 

Global: Trust Re appoints new group CEO
Bahrain-based Trust Re announced the appointment of Mr Talal Al Zain as group CEO. 
 
Mr Al Zain brings with him broad regional and international experience from the US, Europe and the MENA region having held senior executive positions in the fields of banking and investment. Most recently, he was founder and director of Jisr Capital. Previously he was CEO of PineBridge Investments Middle East and co-head of alternative investments at PineBridge Investments. Prior to that he was a founding board member and the CEO of Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat, managing over $10bn of assets.
 
He spent 18 years with Investcorp Bank as MD and co-head of placement and relationship management. Prior to that he was VP of private banking international and head of investment banking Middle East and Pakistan with Chase Manhattan Bank.
 
Outgoing CEO Mr Fadi Abunahl had led Trust Re for 12 years since 2006 and had been with the group for over 20 years. A 
 
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