Vero Executive Changes September 2014

Media Release
24 September 2014
Vero Earthquake function advanced enough for transition into the
Vero Insurance responds to the successful management of earthquake claims and closer customer
relationships by making a series of executive changes that will capitalise on the work done over
the past three years.
Vero Earthquake Programme Executive General Manager, Jimmy Higgins, will move to lead Vero’s
Claims operations by the end of the year.
After two and a half years leading Vero’s dedicated earthquake response, Mr Higgins will lead an
integrated Claims function which includes responsibility for Vero’s earthquake response.
“This internal shift is a reflection of the great progress we’ve made with our earthquake
programme. We’ve committed to resolving almost all claims by the end of 2014 with construction
continuing into 2015,” said Vero Chief Executive, Gary Dransfield.
“With Jimmy continuing to lead our earthquake response, we will maintain our focus on resolving
all earthquake claims. We have already resolved 76 per cent of claims, paying out $3.7 billion.”
Vero will continue to work closely with customers in the earthquake programme, building trust
and confidence in their settlement options.
Vero Insurance has been the lead insurer in some of the largest commercial settlements in New
Zealand including Lyttelton Ports Company at $445 million; Housing New Zealand at $320 million
and Ministry of Education at $200 million.
Vero was the first insurer to announce rebuild and repair timelines in 2012 which did not change
as the programme progressed.
Vero’s early adoption of the personalised Case Management approach to claim settlement has
proven to be successful. All our customers will know who their case manager is and will have
regular contact with them. We also encourage them to seek independent advice.
Kim Grooby, currently Vero’s General Manager of Claims, will take on an Executive role leading a
key Vero business transformation programme.
“Kim will lead the business to deliver improved products and services for our customers through
renewed technology platforms and business processes. This demonstrates our investment back
into the New Zealand business and our commitment to our customers,” said Mr Dransfield.
“With Kim, Jimmy and the recent addition of Cris Knell as Executive General Manager, Commercial
and Distribution, we have a strong platform in a very competitive general insurance market,” said
Mr Dransfield.
Notes to Editors
Jimmy Higgins - Executive General Manager, Earthquake Programme
Jimmy joined Vero in March 2012 to run Vero’s Earthquake response programme. He came from
Brisbane where he led the Suncorp recovery of the flood and cyclone disasters in 2010 and 2011.
Leading a multitude of disaster response events, Jimmy was well placed for the significance of the
Canterbury earthquake response.
In addition to disaster recovery Jimmy was responsible for managing Suncorp’s Claims service as
well as leading fraud management, quality assurance and process governance for personal
insurance claims at Suncorp in Brisbane. Prior to Suncorp he worked for major firms KPMG and
McGrathNicol as a Chartered Accountant.
[Link to Jimmy Higgins’ photo]
Kim Grooby - General Manager, Claims
Kim joined Vero in July 2012 as a member of our Earthquake Senior Leadership team (EQ
Response Manager, Strategy). He was appointed to the role of GM Claims in May 2013.
Kim has a wealth of experience in the insurance industry, specifically in delivering transformational
change. He has also worked at NZI, IAG and consulted to ACC.
[Link to Kim Grooby’s photo]
Cris Knell – Executive General Manager, Commercial & Distribution
Cris Knell was appointed to the role of Executive General Manager, Commercial & Distribution in
September 2014.
Prior to this role Cris was the CEO of AIG New Zealand. During that time he steered the business
through losses caused by the financial markets collapse, the Christchurch earthquake recovery and
he led the growth of the AIG brand, business and profitability in New Zealand.
In addition to his role with AIG, Cris has been active in industry matters. He has served as a Vice
President of the Insurance Council of New Zealand and was also a member of a recent New
Zealand Government trade delegation with the Prime Minister and other senior Ministers.
He played a central role in the sponsorship of New Zealand Rugby's six national teams, including
the All Blacks.
Cris has held a number of international insurance roles including senior executive positions with
AIG and Chartis in Asia, Europe, Russia and the United Kingdom.
[Link to Cris Knell’s photo]
For media enquiries, contact Vasantha Naidoo on 09 375 9658, 027 480 4380 or
[email protected]