ABI board reforms aimed at priorities to strengthen trust in insurance

Published on Mon, 19/07/2021 - 14:35

The ABI has announced an overhaul of its board, including recruitment of a new independent chair, a new president and deputy president, and a board-level Reputation and Customers Committee.

Changes have been announced to the Association of British Insurer’s (ABI) board, as the industry body grapples with the need to boost levels of trust in the insurance industry after the pandemic, as well as intensify efforts towards tackling climate change and improving industry diversity and inclusion.

In summary, the ABI announced the following changes:

  • Recruitment of a new post of independent chair
  • Addition of one independent non-executive director
  • Creation of a new board-level Reputation and Customers Committee
  • Barry O’Dwyer, group CEO, Royal London, appointed president of the ABI board
  • Cristina Nestares, UK CEO, Admiral Group, appointed deputy president of the ABI board.

The newly-created president and deputy president roles will lead the board’s efforts on stakeholder engagement and public-facing industry leadership, as well as providing internal leadership among the ABI’s members.

Both of these appointments are already effective, since 1 July, while the new independent chair and independent non-exec director are expected to be appointed in the autumn.

Current chair Jon Dye and deputy chair Julian Adams will continue to chair ABI board meetings until the new independent chair starts work, the ABI said.

ABI director-general, Huw Evans, commented: “I would like to put on record again my thanks to Jon Dye and Julian Adams, who have led the ABI’s board with such vision, commitment and sure-footed skill over the past two eventful years. We are all very grateful to them.”

The responsibilities of the new independent chair will include chairing the ABI board, line-managing the ABI’s director-general, as well as chairing the new Reputation and Customers Committee.

The committee’s role will be to provide “more focus on good customer outcomes and a greater collective focus on issues proving harmful to the sector’s reputation”, the ABI said.

The new independent chair and non-exec director roles would provide “fresh external perspectives, enriching diversity of experience and reinforcing strong governance”, the association added. 

“These changes will enrich our board with new independent perspectives while ensuring industry leaders continue to be the voice of the sector in discussions with governments and regulators,” commented Jon Dye, chair of the ABI board.

Barry O’Dwyer said: “Whether it is making our sector more diverse, freeing our opportunities to invest in the future through Solvency II reform, customer reforms to improve trust or leading the race to net zero, we must lift our ambitions and work closely with government and regulators on the challenges ahead.”

Cristina Nestares added: “We must ensure our sector continues to deliver for customers, and is the destination of choice for the brightest and the best talent. We have a lot of work ahead but I can’t wait to get started.”