by George Nott

QBE CIO takes redundancy in restructure

Mar 19, 2018

QBE Insurance ANZ CIO Tony Forward has accepted redundancy, the result of a restructure of the company’s executive.

The global insurer will bring together its regional technology and transformation teams into one business unit, the Chief Operations Office (COO).

“The new COO will better equip QBE to respond and adapt quickly to the changing needs and expectations of its customers, and will provide much clearer lines of accountability. The COO will have end to end responsibilities for the technology and business transformation,” the company said in a statement today.

The office will soon appoint a new chief information officer for the unit, “bringing together technology, data, transformation and business operations”.

The restructure resulted in Forward’s departure, the company said. Head of Technology Val Matthews has been appointed acting CIO – beginning on March 29 – while an internal and external recruitment process is conducted.

“Given technology’s intrinsic role in delivering on our business transformation, it also makes sense to have these functions aligned under the one business unit to drive greater focus and efficiencies,” CEO Vivek Bhatia said.

Forward has been CIO at QBE since January 2013, joining from IAG where he was head of direct insurance technology. He was previously CIO of the wealth management arm of Westpac, BT Financial.

Bhatia praised Forward’s contribution during his tenure.

“Tony was instrumental in modernising our core policy and claims systems with the launch of Guidewire. He was also a sponsor and ally of the QBE Pride Committee, making QBE a more inclusive place to work. I wish him all the best in his future endeavours,” he said.

QBE also announced a new dedicated strategy team, responsiblefor “focusing energy on being a more innovative and a more customer-led organisation” which will report into the Chief Financial Office led by Inder Singh.

Part of the strategy team’s role will be to drive the company’s start-up collaboration efforts.

“We’ve already made great progress on the insurtech front, with the establishment of QBE Ventures globally, while locally, we’re a founding partner of Insurtech Australia and recently joined Stone and Chalk’s inaugural Insurtech Program, working with startups to solve specific customer needs,” Bhatia said.

“The general manager, strategy role will help drive that agenda in this market, as well as align with global counterparts to ensure we leverage our global footprint and expertise,” he added.