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Zurich streamlines to ‘accelerate improvements’

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Zurich Australia is simplifying its management structure in a bid to sharpen its response to customer needs in the commercial insurance intermediated market.

The switch to a trimmed-down hierarchy follows a similar move last month by QBE, which eliminated dozens of managerial roles to create a “stronger, simpler company, with a renewed customer focus”.

Zurich General Insurance CEO Tim Plant says the changes will help the insurer “move faster, clarify accountability, and be even more responsive to the needs of our brokers and our customers”.

“This new structure positions these proven leaders to accelerate the improvements and momentum that we’ve seen across our business in recent years, and ensure we are bringing timely, relevant solutions and insights to our broker partners and customers,” he said.

Under changes announced last week, Head of Commercial Insurance Giles Crowley will fill the newly created role of Chief Distribution and Deal Management Officer.

Chief Underwriting Officer Sean Walker will take charge of the commercial insurance portfolio, while continuing to oversee the SME offering.

Executive responsibilities in areas including finance, risk and governance, human resources and communications and marketing remain largely unchanged.

Chief Claims Officer Hilary Bates’ remit will expand to include operations, and Head of Operations Wilson Varghese will take up another role, to be announced in due course.

Chief Distribution Officer Steve Ord, who was appointed to the role in March last year, will leave the group.