Marsh McLennan New Zealand chief executive Josh Roach (pictured), who will serve as March Pacific CEO from the New Year, recently sat down with Insurance Business to discuss the risks facing the region and what he thinks will be his biggest challenge starting 2024.
“When we talk about the Pacific region at Marsh – Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and Papua New Guinea – it’s quite a broad geographical remit,” Roach said following his regional appointment. “There’s probably quite a bit of commonality, though, in risks that are sort of touching all of those countries.
“Cyber, I think, is still very much at the top of the leaderboard or close to the top of the leaderboard, and that’s an issue because the threat landscape there is also constantly evolving.
“I just feel like, as the insurance market is solving for a particular issue and creating a solution for our customers that that’s going to help them mitigate that risk, the cyber threat slightly changes and then we’re sort of constantly catching up to try and stay one step in front of what hackers might be trying to do, for example.”
Read more: Marsh taps NZ leader for Pacific CEO post
Having been based in New Zealand for the past three years, the seasoned leader can’t talk about risks without including the threat of catastrophes.
He told Insurance Business: “Obviously there’s climate- and weather-related events, which also is an extremely topical issue for Australia as well, especially down the east coast. And those that have experienced floods in Brisbane and Queensland, for example, will know that first-hand.
“There’s still supply chain vulnerabilities. And certainly recovering from the pandemic is front of mind. And then there’s this ongoing cost-of-living crisis and inflation, and the impact that it’s having upon everybody is another thing to mention as well.”
Meanwhile, prior to Roach assuming his new position next year to tackle the abovementioned perils, the plan is for him to return to Australia with his family in December.
“I love New Zealand,” he declared. “New Zealand has been extremely good for us, but I guess there’s a certain comfort factor, potentially, with going back home. Having said that, my dad was a Kiwi and so our roots here are still really strong, and I don’t want to ever take that for granted.”
As reported, also set for a homecoming is Roach’s predecessor Nick Harris, who is returning to London from Australia to become Marsh UK retail CEO in January.
“We’re a huge believer of growing our own, and so that’s bringing talent in through the organisation at the junior levels and then creating a really exciting career path for them and then elevating them up through the organisation,” noted Roach, whose previous roles include head of Marsh Specialty for the Pacific.
“I was the executive sponsor, when I was back in Australia, of the young professionals colleague resource group, and so I sort of have a vested interest in how young professionals are fostered and brought up through the organisation. So, for me, in the new role going forward, I’m making sure that we’re constantly building a diverse pipeline of talent.”
He added: “Probably one of the key lessons from the specialty role is just how important talent is, and retaining and attracting not only the best talent that you can find for that particular niche, but also diverse thinkers is really, really, really important, because we’re a people business. We’re there to solve our clients’ most complex issues and be there for them in the moments that matter.”
For Roach, the moments that matter could be an exciting one, like an acquisition, or a stressful moment such as a claim. Either way, he takes “a huge buzz” from assisting clients in those situations. Challenge-wise, Roach believes his toughest would be growth.
In his interview with Insurance Business, the CEO said: “The biggest challenge in my new role is going to be continuing to accelerate the excellent growth trajectory of Marsh in the region.
“Obviously I’m very confident that we can do that. We’ve got an excellent team all around the region, and I know that we’re going to rally around each other and have each other’s backs to support that objective. But that, I think, is certainly going to be at the top of the agenda for me.”
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