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Suncorp NZ appoints Jimmy Higgins CEO

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Suncorp New Zealand has appointed Jimmy Higgins CEO effective today after he took over the role on an interim basis in July amid leadership changes within the wider group.

Mr Higgins has held a range of senior and executive positions across Suncorp, including New Zealand CFO and EGM Claims, and has previously worked as a forensic accountant and a Queensland police detective.

Suncorp Group CEO Steve Johnston says Mr Higgins is a highly experienced financial services executive with a deep understanding of the insurance industry and the New Zealand market, and has been a valuable member of the company’s leadership team for many years.

“Since joining the group in 2008, he has worked across many aspects of our insurance businesses and has been instrumental in leading our response for some of the worst natural events in our history, including the devastating Christchurch and Kaikoura earthquakes and 2011 Queensland floods,” Mr Johnston said.

Before joining Suncorp, Mr Higgins was a chartered accountant with KPMG and McGrathNicol, specialising in audit and forensic accounting, and has worked in Brisbane, Sydney and Toronto. He was also previously a detective with the Queensland Police Service.

Suncorp New Zealand includes Vero and Asteron Life, as well as AA Insurance, AA Life and AA Money in partnership with the New Zealand Automobile Association.

“Our business is uniquely positioned to make a difference in the lives of Kiwis and I’ve always felt very proud to be a part of that,” Mr Higgins said. “Suncorp New Zealand has gone from strength to strength in recent years.”

Mr Higgins has taken over as CEO from Paul Smeaton, who has returned to Australia after five years leading the New Zealand business.

Suncorp in July said group CEO Insurance Gary Dransfield was leaving the company, with leadership of the division to be split between two new roles. Lisa Harrison is now Insurance Product and Portfolio CEO and Mr Smeaton is COO Insurance.