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Incoming ICA chief sees importance in tackling climate change

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Incoming Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) CEO Andrew Hall puts climate change high on his list of priorities, while the man he’s replacing admits he wishes he could have done more.

As reported in a Breaking News bulletin last week, Mr Hall, currently Commonwealth Bank’s EGM Corporate Affairs, will take over from Rob Whelan in September.

Mr Hall says general insurance will play a “vital role” in the recovery from the pandemic and bushfire crisis.

But he says insurance also needs to “continue tackling the challenges of climate change and important regulatory changes, while also transitioning to the new code of practice”.

In an interview in the upcoming issue of Insurance News magazine, Mr Whelan says one of his greatest regrets is not taking a “stronger stance” on climate change.

“It’s a delicate balance with the political environment that you are working with because there were very strong views within government at various times that this was not an issue and that we needed to keep out of it,” he said.

“While we always maintained the view that [climate change] is an important material risk, the extent to which we could be vocal about this was somewhat limited.

“I would like to have done more, and taken a stronger stance.”

ICA President and Chairman Gary Dransfield says Mr Hall’s appointment “follows an extensive national recruitment process”.

“His corporate knowledge and his understanding of customers, the regulatory and political environments and the financial services sector, will help him chart ICA’s advocacy program to elevate the value of insurance both to our economy and our society,” he said.

Mr Hall has spent the past seven years with Commonwealth Bank, and was previously Woolworths’ Director of Corporate and Public Affairs for six years.

He started his career as a journalist in regional NSW in 1994, before moving to Canberra in 1996 to work in federal politics for 10 years as a ministerial media adviser.

From 2001 to 2007 he was the Federal Director of the Nationals, leading the party as campaign director for federal elections.

An in-depth interview with Rob Whelan will be published in the June edition of Insurance News magazine.