AUB/PSC SCRAP UK JOINT VENTURE
AUB Group and PSC Insurance Group will not proceed with the proposed Tysers UK retail joint venture, the two companies announced.
AUB will instead retain the entire Tysers business including the retail operation, which it says has demonstrated “strong performance and momentum” since the acquisition of the Lloyd’s wholesale broker was completed last year.
The company also announced a $150 million equity raising as a result of no longer receiving an expected $100 million from PSC under the proposed joint venture deal.
The raising will increase financial flexibility and balance sheet strength, with the group having spent or committed to spend an expected $149 million on bolt-on acquisitions this financial year, it says.
“The business is pleased to be retaining 100% of Tysers UK Retail. It is a high-performance business which continues to demonstrate attractive profitability and is strategically aligned with AUB’s retail broking expertise,” AUB CEO Mike Emmett said.
The joint venture was announced last year and had been expected to take effect from the start of May.
COLAHAN JOINS AIG
Chris Colahan has been appointed AIG Asia Pacific Regional President, a role that encompasses oversight of the Australian business.
Mr Colahan, pictured, was most recently Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance (BHSI) President of UK & Europe, and has more than two decades of insurance industry experience, including as President of BHSI Australasia and RSA Asia Regional CEO.
He will report to AIG International General Insurance CEO Jon Hancock, who says the Asia Pacific region is an important market for AIG’s business.
“With Chris’ leadership, we expect to expand our business and capabilities, deepen relationships with distribution partners and clients, and continue to demonstrate our risk management expertise,” Mr Hancock said.
The appointment comes after AIG Australia CEO Nigel Fitzgerald departed to join Steadfast as COO. There is no update yet on his replacement.
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IAG EXECS EXIT
IAG CFO Michelle McPherson will retire by the end of the calendar year and Chief Insurance and Strategy Officer Tim Plant will leave at the end of June, the company confirmed.
The insurer says Ms McPherson will continue in her role while an internal and external search for a new CFO is completed.
Ms McPherson joined IAG as Acting Group CFO in April 2020 and was appointed CFO in November that year. Previously, she was CFO and Deputy CEO for Nib Holdings.
IAG says Mr Plant will be leaving as the company consolidates its group functions to better support its operating businesses: Direct Insurance Australia, Intermediated Insurance Australia, and New Zealand.
“Our plans are clear. We want to accelerate the delivery of our plans and ensure our three operating businesses can continue to meet customer needs in this rapidly changing environment,” CEO Nick Hawkins said.
Mr Plant, who has three decades insurance experience, joined IAG in his newly created role in 2021 after previously heading up Zurich’s local general insurance operations.
WATCH OUT FOR GREENWASHING
Law firm Sparke Helmore has flagged the risk of “greenwashing” as the Australian insurance industry faces growing environment, social and governance (ESG) pressures from regulators, activist shareholders and consumers.
“With the increasing focus on ESG in the insurance industry, insurers may be vulnerable to greenwashing, and need to be particularly mindful in respect of pledges and representations made in respect of climate change policies, solutions and products,” Commercial Insurance Practice Partner Mark Doepel told insuranceNEWS.com.au.
“This need for caution is further exacerbated by increased regulatory scrutiny and prosecutions, the Australian Government’s stated intention of plans to introduce mandatory sustainability and ESG reporting requirements for large Australian entities and the global rise of activist litigation.”
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) are cracking down on greenwashing.
ASIC defines greenwashing as the practice of misrepresenting the extent to which a financial product or investment strategy is environmentally friendly, sustainable or ethical.
ICA WELCOMES DAM CLARITY
The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has welcomed NSW Labor Government comments affirming that it won’t proceed with a project to raise the height of the Warragamba Dam wall.
“Labor’s position is clear – we have always opposed the raising of the Warragamba dam wall,” Water Minister Rose Jackson said. “The project will not guarantee communities in Western Sydney will be safe from flood events.”
ICA last year said other flood mitigation options would offer better long-term protection in the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley compared with raising the height of the wall.
“ICA welcomes the NSW Labor Government’s decision to not proceed with the project to raise the Warragamba Dam wall,” a spokesperson told insuranceNEWS.com.au.
The previous Perrottet Government had said it would go ahead with the controversial project, which has been examined by various inquiries.
ICA had earlier backed the proposal but changed its stance in 2021 due to concerns that evaluations had not properly taken into consideration cultural heritage values of the dam’s site and surrounding areas.