The Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance (ANZIIF) has appointed former New Zealand politician Katrina Shanks as its next CEO.

Current chief Prue Willsford is stepping down after a decade in charge and Ms Shanks will take over leadership of the industry’s membership organisation for education and professional standards on January 8.

Ms Shanks has spent the past five years as CEO of Financial Advice NZ, a membership organisation for advisers working across mortgages, insurance, investment and financial planning.

A chartered accountant by trade, she was a National Party MP from 2007 to 2014.
“Katrina has a fantastic background and is experienced in a range of industries and environments,” ANZIIF President Ben Bessell said.

“Her tenure in politics and … industry associations will provide ANZIIF with the leadership and capability to continue to grow and deliver the strategic objectives of the board and members in Australia, New Zealand and Asia.”

Ms Shanks will relocate from New Zealand to Melbourne “in the coming months” and will work with Ms Willsford on transition plans before taking up the CEO role in January.


A General Insurance Code of Practice independent review is under way, chaired by former Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) Deputy Chair Helen Rowell.

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) says the review will be conducted in two phases to align with any recommendations from the Federal Parliamentary inquiry into insurers’ responses to the 2022 floods.

The three-member review panel also includes former Consumer Action Law Centre CEO Gerard Brody and Paul Muir, an industry panel member for the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) who has more than 38 years’ experience in the insurance sector.

The code of practice was introduced in 1994 as a voluntary code and has been regularly updated, most recently in 2020. It must be reviewed every three years.
ICA CEO Andrew Hall says each of the three-person panel brings considerable experience and their appointments recognise the diversity of skills and backgrounds needed for an independent review.

“The ICA and insurers look forward to working with the review panel to ensure that our industry code remains relevant and effective in supporting and protecting customers,” Mr Hall said.


A new fire-retardant paint that expands and creates a protective insulating layer during fire events has been formulated by engineers at UNSW Sydney.

The paint, now on sale at Bunnings for around $39 a litre, passed the Bushfire Attack Level (BAL) 40 standard which is used to assess resistance of materials to fire.

The FSA FIRECOAT brand paint was developed in partnership with Flame Security International, and partially funded by an Australian government grant. UNSW Professor Guan Yeoh led a team that spent nearly five years perfecting the formula.

The resulting intumescent paint is designed to expand as a result of heat exposure. Chemicals in the water-based pale grey undercoat paint also produce a thick layer of char which offers an insulating barrier to deflect the heat from the fire.
“The char is what helps the substrate, that is your house or your building, stay protected from the fire,” Mr Yeoh said. “At the end you can just wipe it away and the wood underneath has virtually no damage.”

Insurers contacted by said they don’t currently ask underwriting questions related to fireproof paint but welcomed the measure and said it could potentially have a favourable impact on premiums.