IAG appoints Nick Hawkins as new CEO

The Insurance Australia Group has appointed Nick Hawkins as chief executive and managing director to replace Peter Harmer who spent five years in the job.

It comes at a challenging time for the industry giant, that posted a 60 per cent fall in profit last month and ruled out paying shareholders a dividend for the first time in its 20 year history, after suffering huge profit losses due to the catastrophic summer weather events and pandemic claims.

Mr Hawkins has been serving as deputy CEO since Mr Harmer announced his retirement plans in April and will officially take the reins on November 1.

IAG chair Elizabeth Bryan praised the appointment.

Incoming IAG chief executive Nick Hawkins.
Incoming IAG chief executive Nick Hawkins.Credit:Dominic Lorrimer

“Nick has a deep understanding of both global and domestic general insurance along with operational and financial experience, and this will ensure a smooth transition for IAG,” she said in a statement to the ASX.

Mr Hawkins joined IAG in 2001 and worked two years as CEO of IAG New Zealand before spending 12 years as the group’s chief financial officer.

Prior to IAG, Mr Hawkins was a partner at accounting firm KPMG specialising in financial services, working from the company’s Perth, London and Sydney offices.

Mr Hawkins said he was excited to lead the company through the economic downturn.

“Our purpose – to make your world a safer place – has never been more important than now as we continue to help our customers and communities recover from the devastating natural disasters of late 2019 and 2020, and the ongoing challenges resulting from climate change and the pandemic,” he said.

Ms Bryan thanked Mr Harmer for his time at IAG.

“Under Peter’s leadership, IAG has sharpened its focus on delivering better outcomes for customers and their communities while performing well financially,” she said.

The insurance industry suffered a setback last week after a UK court ruled some insurers would have to pay-out policyholders impacted by the coronavirus under business interruption policies.

Australian insurers will test the validity of pandemic exclusions in business interruption policies in a test case starting next week.

Most business interruption policies only cover property damage, but the UK corporate regulator successfully argued policyholders should be covered for interrupted trade caused by the restricted movement of people.

Mr Harmer has previously said there is not enough capital in the insurance industry globally to cover the financial fallout from COVID-19, as the insurer posted a 60 per cent fall in profit in August.

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Source: Thanks smh.com