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Steadfast exec changes add to ‘deep bench strength’ 

Steadfast has appointed executive Nick Cook to a broader regional role and has announced that Swiss Re’s former local head Mark Senkevics is joining the company.

Mr Cook, who joined Steadfast in 2015, becomes EGM of Australasian networks, broker and insurer services, with responsibilities across Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. He will continue to report to COO Nigel Fitzgerald 

“With the US and London taking a lot of strategic focus for the international team, and us here in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore looking at how we can get greater efficiency and effectiveness, we believe now’s the perfect time to align those networks under one of our executives,” Mr Fitzgerald told an investor day in Sydney this morning.

Mr Senkevics, who has more than 25 years’ experience in the reinsurance industry, becomes EGM underwriting agencies, alternative risk transfer, reinsurance and life from July 1.

He has held roles at Swiss Re including Asia-Pacific head of property and casualty underwriting, and head of Australia and New Zealand. He has served on boards and committees for the Insurance Council of Australia and the Financial Services Council, and the advisory board of insurtech start-up Retja.

“Mark, with real CEO credentials, strong underwriting strategy and governance background, comes in to complement Nick’s new broader role, and gives us a strong specific focus on our underwriting-related businesses,” Mr Fitzgerald said.

In other changes, Meagan Jeffrey will become EGM technology and information, succeeding Chris Rouse, who is pursuing a personal business venture.

Ms Jeffrey has been the global CIO of Talent International since 2022 and a non-executive director of Insurance Brands Australia since 2020. She will start on July 8.

“These appointments demonstrate and increase our deep bench strength, with a broader role for Nick and exciting additions in Mark and Meagan, as we continue to build our organisational capacity and pursue our growth agenda with discipline and focus,” group CEO Robert Kelly said.

Mr Kelly has previously said he will not resign before the end of next year, and will have to give a year’s notice, and he reiterated today that under current arrangements he is committed until the end of calendar 2026. 

Steadfast says it is continuing to assess opportunities resulting from last year’s US acquisition of ISU Group, including network expansion, improved offerings and the rollout of technology, while also highlighting organic and acquisition opportunities in its home market.

CFO Stephen Humphrys says there is potential to add $435 million in earnings before interest, tax and amortisation through acquisitions from the current Australasian network.

“The runway is still very, very strong,” he said.

The estimate includes $191 million through the “trapped capital” program involving non-equity brokers, $100 million from Steadfast raising its stake in firms where it already has a stake, and about $90 million from equity brokers’ authorised representatives. That is in addition to $54 million where some level of discussion is already under way. 

Mr Fitzgerald and Mr Kelly told the investor day they do not expect a sharp slide in premium rates given inflation and regulatory pressures that are supporting discipline by insurers.

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