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Insurance Council boss on 9/11 and the Chch quakes

Ryan going after 15 years.

Blair Cunningham
Fri, 29 Jun 2012

A change is on the way at the helm of Insurance Council New Zealand.

After 15 years, CEO Chris Ryan will leave the industry association in December.

"I indicated to the board at the beginning of the year that  I intended to step down and that 15 years as CEO is long enough," Mr Ryan told NBR ONLINE.

He says the Christchurch earthquakes are some of the toughest circumstances he has had to deal with and he believes that by December, the bulk of the insurance work will have been completed.

Aon Benfield recently ranked the quakes of February and June last year in the top ten insured loss events in the world for 2011.

Mr Ryan believes the insurance industry is now a lot healthier and the future brighter.

"We've had to deal with one non member (Western Pacific) going under and also the financial woes of AMI," he says.

He says he is leaving a healthy organisation which is one of the pre-eminent industry associations in New Zealand.

"In my 15 years, we've had a number of big events to face – including the attacks on the World Trade Centre in 2001, and the reinsurance issues that raised," Mr Ryan says.

"During that time, there's also been an influx of Australian owners – State and NZI are now owned by IAG; Vero was once British but that's now under Australian ownership, as is Lumley New Zealand."

He says it is important the council has started advertising for his replacement in order to attract the highest-calibre CEO in time.

Recruitment agency Heidrick and Struggles is targeting its campaign at New Zealand and Australia.

Mr Ryan wants to be on hand to provide a smooth transition period "especially if they're new to the industry" and he will be on call if needed after December.

He says the biggest challenge for a new CEO will be comingto terms with the earthquakes because it is still a very sensitive issue with a lot of legal considerations.

He says the upcoming Insurance Prudential Supervision Act, which means insurers will be subject to Reserve Bank regulation will also need special attention.

Mr Ryan has no future plans.

"One of the key things when you're in this position, is you don't do any deals with anyone else... I'll have a look once I've finished up."

Blair Cunningham
Fri, 29 Jun 2012
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Insurance Council boss on 9/11 and the Chch quakes