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John French has recently been appointed as Chubb’s Acting Head of Distribution, A&NZ.

‘Frenchy’ as he is affectionately known by friends, colleagues, and business partners has enjoyed a distinguished career with Chubb that spans almost 25 years. He has held several senior leadership roles with the company and spent four years as Country President in Australia and New Zealand.

We are fortunate to have a leader with John's vast experience and enviable market reputation step into this critical role for Chubb in Australia and New Zealand.

In this article, we hear John’s take on his key priorities for 2022 and views on the market.

Tell us a little bit about your career…

I joined Chubb in 1997 and held several local management roles before moving to Asia as Country President for our Singapore operation. While overseas, I also served as Chubb Country President for Thailand, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan.

I returned home in 2014 as Country President for Australia & New Zealand and was lucky enough to lead the local integration of ACE and Chubb in 2016.

In 2018, I stepped down from my country leadership responsibilities and took up a Head of Broker Distribution role for Chubb Asia Pacific before becoming Head of Global Brokers for Chubb in Australia and New Zealand. 

So, you will bring lots of leadership experience to the new role! In one word, describe your personality? How does this quality translate to your leadership style?

Collaborative. I’m a people person. I enjoy working with, talking to, and learning from people. That is what excites me about this role and the Distribution function at Chubb. I love working with our broker partners, helping them to find solutions for their clients and grow their businesses.

What are your top three priorities for Chubb’s distribution team this year?

With the Covid situation improving in some locations, it is important that our distribution teams are out in the market meeting brokers again. Technology might make it easy to keep in touch these days, but in my opinion, there is no substitute for face-to-face interaction.

We also need to better support our broker partners with the service levels they expect. We have an incredibly talented group of professionals here at Chubb and dedicated teams in place to serve business, we just need to fine-tune a couple of things to ensure brokers receive an excellent experience during every interaction with Chubb.

Finally, we have some exciting new developments planned for brokers in 2022, so we need to execute them to the best of our ability. This includes our new Lower Middle Market team dedicated to servicing business in the $10m - $50 million revenue bracket, our full General Liability policy has been added to our SME Professional Indemnity offering, we have refined our Business Pack appetite and we have an exciting new broker campaign that will help brokers sell value rather than price.

What most excites you about the challenge ahead?

Potential! We are in a fortunate position here at Chubb with a strong and stable balance sheet, a broad product range, a talented leadership group, and the best claims team in the business. Most importantly, we have the people and the desire. We have some big objectives for future years, so we must remain focused on supporting our distribution partners, executing our business priorities, and fulfilling our potential.

What keeps you awake at night?

Unfulfilled potential! One of the emptiest feelings you can experience is not achieving an objective and not having done all you could to make it happen; that is what keeps me up at night!

What do you most enjoy about working in the insurance industry?

The people. That includes my colleagues at Chubb and our business partners in the broking community. I’m lucky enough to have many friends in the global broking space and in my new acting role, I am re-engaging with and meeting more and more insurance professionals from the independent brokerages around the country. I’m constantly amazed by their passion, dedication, client focus, and professionalism. It reminds me of the team at Chubb, the talent and energy for their craft is infectious and you can’t help but be inspired!

What is your favourite sport?

I am a self-confessed sport fanatic but rugby union is my passion, followed in no particular order by horse racing, golf and cricket. I love watching just about any sport – especially live.

Favourite holiday destination?

Noosa – it’s in Queensland (enough said) with great weather, beaches, restaurants and one of the best surf clubs in Australia. Followed closely by Queenstown, NZ.