SUN 0.95% $12.28 suncorp group limited

Top gun at helm of Suncorp insurance

  1. 635 Posts.
    The appointment of John Trowbridge is an excellent appointment by the board of Suncorp and will bring a good deal of credibility to the Suncorp / GIO insurance business.
    The positive impact of this announcement will be seen in 3rd qtr. / 2nd half.
    A broker presentation to a meeting of Australian Shareholder Association members in Brisbane yesterday highlighted SUN as good value at these levels with excellent potential for growth.
    Top gun at helm of Suncorp insurance
    Richard Owen
    QUEENSLAND allfinanz group Suncorp Metway Ltd has moved quickly to shore up market confidence in its national expansion strategy by appointing one of Australia's most experienced actuaries, John Trowbridge, to head its general insurance division.

    To take up the challenge Mr Trowbridge will stand down as chairman of Trowbridge Consulting – the global actuarial and financial services firm he founded in 1981 and which is now part of the Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu group.

    Mr Trowbridge's appointment, effective June 3, follows Daniel Wilkie's decision to quit the post as Suncorp Metway's general manager of insurance, two days after giving damning evidence at the HIH Insurance royal commission in March.

    Mr Wilkie had been was grilled for five days about his involvement in "sham" reinsurance contracts while serving as chief operating officer at Rodney Adler's FAI Insurance which HIH acquired for $300 million in 1999 before collapsing with debts exceeding $5 billion last year.

    Suncorp Metway managing director Steve Jones said Mr Trowbridge was the "ideal person" to lead the group's insurance division and unlock its full potential.

    "John is an acknowledged leader in the industry, with both strategic and operational expertise," he said.

    Mr Trowbridge, who has provided actuarial services to Suncorp Metway for many years and will remain based in Sydney, has been deeply involved in product pricing, risk analysis, insurance portfolio management and creating shareholder value.

    "He has advised governments at state and federal levels in relation to general insurance, particularly workers compensation, compulsory third party and public liability insurance," Mr Jones said.

    Speaking from Copenhagen, Mr Trowbridge told The Courier-Mail yesterday the role at Suncorp Metway was a "great opportunity" to put into practice what he had been preaching to clients for the past 25 years as a consultant.

    "I'm not ready to hang up my boots and stop working just yet . . . and this is the sort of challenge I will really relish," he said.

    Bedding down the $1.3 billion merger of Suncorp Metway's general insurance division with GIO Insurance and, more importantly, "getting the insurance fundamentals right" will be Mr Trowbridge's key focus once he gets his feet under the desk.

    "That means getting all the underwriting and pricing right as well as claims management and expense management so that we can do the whole thing at a competitive rate," he explained.

    "Getting the fundamentals right while providing customer service and getting satisfied customers – the balance between all those things right – is always a bit difficult. That's quite an art in the insurance business."

    Investors demonstrated faith in Mr Trowbridge reputation and drove Suncorp Metway's share price 8¢ higher to $12.65 while analysts applauded the appointment.

    ABN Amro Morgans analyst Sophie Mitchell said the position was "important" within the group and "difficult" given the status of the GIO merger, but she described Mr Trowbridge's appointment as "sensible" in light of his "extensive experience and reputation".,5936,4238829%255E3122,00.html
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