The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has appointed Sue Houghton, general manager of insurance at Westpac, as president of the ICA and chair of the board.
The appointment was made during a board meeting today held in Sydney and virtually, when it was announced that Houghton would replace Gary Dransfield after he stepped aside on July 01 this year. Her appointment will expire on December 31, 2021.
ICA CEO Rob Whelan thanked Dransfield, who previously worked as Suncorp’s CEO of insurance, for his service to the board and said Houghton was a suitable leader to take on the job.
“Gary has been a highly regarded board director since 2017 and his contribution to the insurance industry is much appreciated,” Whelan said. “The ICA is delighted Sue has agreed to take on the role of president. Sue is a highly accomplished industry leader with extensive experience in the financial services sector.”
Houghton said it was a “privilege to be taking up” the role at such a critical time, as Australian insurers respond to significant change as a result of extreme weather events and COVID-19.
“We are united in our goal to deliver high-quality insurance for Australians in their time of need. We must also work to deliver insurance that is sustainable and affordable into the future,” she said.
Additionally, the ICA board also appointed Lisa Harrison, CEO of insurance product and portfolio at Suncorp, to the board.
“I am delighted to join the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) as a board member at a time when the Council’s role advocating on behalf of the industry, customers and the wider community has never been so critical,” Harrison said. “I look forward to working with my ICA colleagues and industry stakeholders to play a role in this important work.”
The ICA board also accepted the resignation of Mark Senkevics, managing director and head of Australia and New Zealand at Swiss Re, along with that of David Russell, chief executive at RAA Insurance.
“On behalf of the board I thank Mark and David for their contributions to the Insurance Council, the board and the industry,” Whelan said. “Mark has served on the ICA board for more than eight years and has helped the industry and ICA executive team through several royal commissions, dozens of inquiries, natural disasters, regulatory reforms and economic and political volatility.
“He was passionate about climate change initiatives and brought a global reinsurance and strong consumer focus to board discussions. We wish him well in his new role as Swiss Re’s Head P&C Underwriting for APAC.
“For the past five years, David has been a staunch advocate for motoring club-owned insurers, South Australians and regional customers, and has been a champion of the Code of Practice.”
The ICA board now features Houghton as president and chair, with Whelan as executive director and CEO, with directors Vivek Bhatia, CEO of Australia and New Zealand operations at QBE; Richard Enthoven, CEO of Hollard Insurance Australia; Richard Feledy, managing director at Allianz Australia; Natasha Fenech, CEO Medical Indemnity and Deputy Group and CEO at Avant Mutual; Lisa Harrison, CEO of insurance product and portfolio at Suncorp; Christopher Mackinnon, Lloyd’s Australia Limited’s general representative in Australia; Mark Milliner, CEO at IAG; and Tim Plant, CEO of general insurance for Zurich Financial Services Australia.