Zurich Australia appoints new chief from within, as Plant reroutes to IAG

Tim Plant IAG

Zurich Australia’s general insurance chief Tim Plant has jumped ship to local rival Insurance Australia Group (IAG), taking on the newly created role of chief insurance and strategy officer.

As IAG’s new strategy head, Plant will take charge of governance across the group’s underwriting, claims and customer experience functions, as well as developing and driving the implementation of strategy, IAG said in a statement.

He will also assume responsibility for the group’s innovation and venture activities.

Plant served three years leading the general insurance function of Zurich’s Australia and New Zealand arm, heading the development of the business’s strategy and sustainable growth initiatives.

Zurich Australia has announced Justin Delaney will assume Plant’s former role, in addition to his current headship of the company’s life and investments function, which he has run since 2019.

A 30-year veteran of the general insurance industry, Plant has enviable credentials as a digital innovator, responsible for a slew of customer experience and service delivery innovations during his tenure as QBE Australia chief executive and as head of innovation for NSW state insurer icare.

He served seven years across a number of senior roles at QBE, including a stint as chief executive of its Australian and New Zealand operations in his final year at the company between 2015-16.

IAG managing director and chief executive Nick Hawkins praised Plant’s “considerable depth of underwriting and insurance experience” as well as his “deep understanding of customer needs”.

Since 2019, Plant has also served as director with the Insurance Council of Australia, and since 2017, with ANZIIF, an insurance and financial services industry educational and training outfit.

Meanwhile, Delaney, with an expanded remit as Zurich’s head of its Australia and New Zealand operations, will maintain his current role as chief of life and investments – a position he has held for nearly two years.

He will be assisted by Sean Walker, Zurich’s chief underwriting officer of GI Australia & New Zealand, in the management of the general insurance business.

Zurich’s APAC chief Tulsi Naidu said the promotion of Delaney would provide a “smooth succession for the business and team”, allowing the company to operate seamlessly in the Australian market with a unified leadership team.

“In Justin, we are fortunate to have a strong leader who has extensive experience in the local insurance industry and a solid track record in delivering customer-centred innovation,” Naidu said.

Delaney formerly served four years as chief operating officer of TAL Life before joining Zurich. As TAL’s COO, he had commercial and operational accountability across the life insurer’s core business lines.