Zurich appoints senior exec to meet adviser needs

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Zurich’s Australian life and investments business has announced the appointment of Philip Anderson to chief underwriting officer, Life and Investments, Australia.

“A key driver of our local success has been our agility and responsiveness in all aspects of our proposition, including underwriting,” says Zurich Life and Investments CEO Colin Morgan. “This change reinforces our desire to move through our next strategic phase by continuing to refine an underwriting proposition built on adviser and customer insights.”

The group runs on a three-year strategic cycle, and is currently in the first few months of its next cycle. A key focus for the next three years will be keeping up with advisers and the ‘rapidly-changing’ environment that they are dealing with, says head of marketing, Richard Dunkerley.

Dunkerley says that Zurich is seeing major changes in the operating models of advice practices, as advisers start to dabble in both direct and intermediated insurance products. “Rather than seeing direct as a competitor, we’re starting to see growth in this hybrid model, where advisers are participating in other aggregation services or starting their own,” says Dunkerley. He says the changing models allow advisers to offer lower cost options to their clients.

There has also been an increase in outsourcing, as advisers shift a lot of the burden onto their insurer through telephone-based underwriting, says Dunkerley. “To ensure that we’re best aligned to what different types of advisers want we need to be more focused on them as opposed to potentially having a more internal focus.”