Nomadic GM looking forward to making NZ home

Nomadic GM looking forward to making NZ home | Insurance Business New Zealand

Nomadic GM looking forward to making NZ home
As the new general manager for Zurich New Zealand, Kai Dwyer comes to the role after working in territories including Switzerland, the UK, the Middle East, Canada, Hong Kong and Australia.

But the fact that his wife Liz comes from Christchurch has meant the move down to New Zealand ‘slowly became an inevitability’, Dwyer told Insurance Business, and he couldn’t be happier.

Since stepping into the role at the beginning of April, Dwyer says there are a number of factors that make the job ideal.

“I am very excited about the role, and the fact that I am able to work closely with my predecessor, Adrian Riminton, makes the transition that much easier for me,” he said.

One of Dwyer’s past roles was as head of global corporate business, subsequent to which he took on various executive roles in customer and distribution management and international business development.

“With all my experience in the group I have a good understanding of what Zurich can do and where to access expertise and solutions,” he said.

“What we aim to do is bring all of Zurich’s capabilities to our customers in New Zealand. As a result of my experience in international business I am well positioned to support our brokers and customers to that effect.”

The most significant change for the New Zealand business recently was the acquisition of the Ontuit motor platform for the Zurich auto insurance business, he said.

“This was a sizeable investment in our New Zealand operations and it positions us well to grow our capabilities and enhance our services.”

His overriding view of the New Zealand insurance industry is made up of extremes.

“I would characterise the New Zealand insurance industry as very relationship driven and often very innovative.

“On the other hand, as the Shaky Isles, New Zealand is clearly challenging due to its inherent risk profile which is dominated by earthquake risk. This creates considerable volatility in the market cycle.”

How does he see the NZ market evolving over the next few years?

“I believe that an emerging theme for New Zealand will be the evolution of distribution models,” he said. “This can already be observed elsewhere in the world and will inevitably influence our market as well driven by pressures on the costs of manufacturing and servicing products.”

Dwyer delivered a presentation at the IBANZ conference last October on emerging risks particularly cyber crime.

Two areas that command a lot of attention right now, he said, are Security and Privacy risk (Cyber) and Supply Chain risk.

“These emerging risks are very real and yet the solutions that the insurance markets offer still need to evolve.

“Zurich can provide insurance and expertise in these areas as we undertake extensive research in understanding how these risks arise and what they mean for our customers. We have developed products accordingly.”

Also causing headaches for risk managers is regulatory and legislative risk.

“This is indeed a highly complex field, especially as more and more companies are extending their operations and sales into international markets where trading and legal environments are materially different to their home country.

“As a multinational company operating in dozens of countries Zurich is familiar with the complexities of these risks as well, and we are able to offer tools to our brokers and international customers that significantly simplify aspects of compliance in their international insurance programs.”

Dwyer said even if the industry doesn’t have an immediate product for certain risks, Zurich uses advanced risk modelling and its ‘Zurich Risk Room’ application to work closely with brokers and customers to help them with these challenges.