One of Australia’s top insurance providers has appointed its new top boss from within the company’s internal ranks.
In a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange on Monday morning, the country’s largest general insurance underwriter said deputy chief executive Nick Hawkins would replace Peter Harmer as the company’s next leader.
Mr Harmer in April announced his resignation after five years in the role, sparking a global search for his replacement.
IAG provides insurance underwriting for NRMA, SGIO, SGIC and CGU.
IAG chairman Elizabeth Byron said Mr Harmer’s internal promotion would provide stability and continuity.
“Nick has a deep understanding of both global and domestic general insurance along with
operational and financial experience, and this will ensure a smooth transition for IAG,” she said.
IAG’s search for stable leadership follows a challenging period for the insurer, with catastrophic natural disasters last summer and the onset of the coronavirus pandemic halving its profits for the 2020 financial year.
At the end of June 30, IAG posted a net profit of 435 million, a 59.6 per cent plummet compared with the prior year.
Aside from the economic downturn sparked by COVID-19, Australia’s Black Summer bushfire emergency and widespread storm damage fuelled a surge in natural hazard claims made by insurance customers.
“Our purpose – to make your world a safer place – has never been more important than now as we continue to help our customers and communities recover from the devastating natural disasters of late 2019 and 2020 and the ongoing challenges resulting from climate change and the pandemic,” Mr Hawkins said.
Ms Byron also noted Mr Harmer’s five-year leadership had enabled the group to pivot into a more customer-focused company.
“Under Peter’s leadership, IAG has sharpened its focus on delivering better outcomes for customers and their communities while performing well financially,” she said.
“It is very pleasing that our new CEO shares Peter’s passion for IAG to be a truly purpose-led business.”
Mr Hawkins has been with IAG since 2001, primarily working as the company’s chief financial officer. He also spent two years as the chief executive of the insurer’s New Zealand business.