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QBE cuts key managers in major restructure

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QBE has made “a number of roles” redundant in its Australian business as it moves to a new divisional structure aimed at creating "simpler, stronger, more customer-centred" operations.

Informed sources have told insuranceNEWS.com.au more than 50 managers have been laid off, including regional managers and key broker relationship executives. But the company says roles have also been created and the net headcount reduction is 15.

Staff were informed of their redundancies yesterday, and most are understood to have already left the company.

As previously reported by insuranceNEWS.com.au, the insurer has announced the formation of a new Australia Pacific division from January 1.

Now QBE has announced a new divisional structure, effective immediately, made up of 11 Australia and New Zealand teams sitting below CEO Vivek Bhatia.

The leaders of these teams are: Chief Claims Officer Jon Fox; Chief Customer Officer Commercial Lines Jason Clarke; Chief Customer Officer Credit Lines Phil White; Chief Customer Officer Personal Lines Frank Costigan; NZ GM Bill Donovan; CFO Chris Killourhy; Chief HR Officer Eleanor Debelle; COO Renee Roberts; Chief Risk Officer Fiona Hayes-St Clair (interim); Chief Strategy Officer Fiona Hayes-St Clair; and Chief Underwriting Officer Declan Moore.

Former Chief Customer Officer Bettina Pidcock has been made Chief Marketing Officer, reporting to Ms Roberts. Pita Williams continues as General Counsel, reporting to Mr Killourhy.

insuranceNEWS.com.au has obtained additional information that gives a further breakdown of the commercial team under Mr Clarke.

There will be six specialist teams, including a newly created Sales & Relationship Management team responsible for “building, developing and supporting” relationships with brokers. The National Service team will become part of the Sales & Relationship Management team.

The team also includes four new regional heads, replacing the previous regional management structure.

The GM Business Development role no longer exists, so long-serving manager Peter Klemt will leave QBE early next year. However, he will lead the new team during the transition.

A new Commercial Underwriting team has also been established, led by Karen Robinson on an interim basis.

The creation of these two teams means the role of GM Broker Distribution no longer exists and Jason Hammond “will continue to support the transition while he explores other opportunities within QBE”.

The other four leaders within commercial are GM Specialty Dean Cullen, GM Elders Insurance Andrew Corbett, GM SME Aaron Gavin and GM People Risk Rob Kosova.

“We’re confident that the new operating model and team structures are a crucial, necessary step to becoming future fit – a simpler, stronger and customer-centred team,” Mr Clarke says in a note to brokers.

“As you can appreciate, with a new operating model there are many people changes within the team and a number of roles no longer align with our strategic objectives.”

More details in our regular bulletin on Monday.