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As we near the end of 2020, our Country President, Andrew Brooks, reflects on the highlights and challenges of this extraordinary year. Andrew and other members of Chubb's management team also look ahead to the significant product, service and IT investment that we have planned for 2021. 

Question: What have been the biggest COVID-19 related challenges for Chubb over the past 6 months?

Answer (Andrew Brooks): In the early period of the COVID-19 situation it was enabling our entire staff to work from home in an extremely short period of time. Once this was complete, it was ensuring the wellbeing of our team, which has not necessarily been a challenge but a huge focus for the company. Importantly ensuring the team was focused on service and assisting our broking partners and customers, many of whose lives had been thrown into turmoil. As the year progressed, and we moved between working from home and returning to the office under various changes in Alert Levels, the challenge of maintaining morale and the Chubb culture increased as we missed the face to face communication and engagement.

Question: What do you expect will be the main carry on effects of COVID-19 coming into 2021?

Answer (Andrew Brooks): There will certainly be a different work environment that will, for the vast majority of office-based businesses, include a remote working component. It is difficult to see business travel returning to the same level as was previously the case. At Chubb, 2020 brought the realisation of how important our culture is and we need to continually reinforce the behaviours that drive that culture in 2021.

Question: How will recent industry regulatory changes affect Chubb’s broker partners?

Answer (Andrew Brooks): Whether it be the recent changes or those facing the industry in the near future, we jointly face challenges that together we will need to overcome.  At Chubb we have a Regulatory Reform Project that began earlier this year with various streams of work in response to the variety of regulatory changes including changes to the Privacy Act and the new Financial Advice Regime.  Looking ahead a key focus will be on the Unfair Contract Terms and that will have a significant impact on wordings and how they are crafted. More broadly, the regulation changes and future reviews of distribution arrangements could quite possibly significantly shift the way brokers are remunerated.

Question: What commitment has Chubb made to invest in:

  • Technology

Answer (Andrew Brooks): For A&NZ we have a strategic plan and aligned investment to market facing technology. For NZ we will look to leverage the new platform products rolled out in Australia including investment in our claims facing technology and a payment gateway platform in our Finance area, enabling immediate payments. There is more to come in this space, with additional product rollouts and enhancements planned for 2021.

  • Products

Answer (Ryan Clark, Head of P&C, NZ): We will continue to promote our recently launched Management Liability product “Forefront” and in Q1 launch an online platform for standalone Cyber. Further product refreshes and launches are planned in 2021 including the promotion of our capability in the Fine Art and Specie space. In addition to products, P&C will continue to invest in people; operational efficiency; industry specific offerings; and explore opportunities to develop schemes and facilities.

Answer (Blain Waterford, Head of Retail, A&NZ): With the impact COVID-19 has had on our business and leisure travel products, we have invested significant time into product development to help bring product solutions to the market in A&NZ that will help us reduce our reliance on travel insurance, create new niche opportunities and respond to our new environment. For NZ this has included expanding our Group Personal Accident offering in NZ to include critical illness and recently launching a standalone Group Critical Illness product, which will be a key focus for A&H next year. 

Answer (Michelle O’Dowd, Head of PRS, A&NZ): In PRS in 2021 we will be focusing on helping you grow your personal lines portfolios by working with you to identify targeted opportunities for new business development. We will provide you with the training and marketing collateral you need to clearly explain the benefits of the Chubb Masterpiece policy to your most important customers. We will update and refresh our  Masterpiece policy to provide an even better level of cover to your clients and we will be upgrading our internal systems to improve our turn around times. 

  • Services

Answer (Marcus Oxenham, Head of Distribution, NZ): We’re determined to hit the ground running in 2021, commencing with a renewed focus on engaging our broker partners face to face as much as possible. Whilst technology helped us to adapt our approach in 2020, we want our teams to be driving more in-person engagement in 2021. Simplification and clarity of appetite will also help us to deliver greater awareness of the market solutions we are developing for our brokers and their customers as we get around NZ in 2021

Question: What is Chubb’s approach to adaptive leadership and what does this mean for 2021?

Answer (Andrew Brooks): This year has thrown many challenges to us all, and we realized we needed effective leaders capable of adapting quickly to new challenges and enabling their teams to overcome and thrive. Across A&NZ we have partnered with 10,000 hours to deliver a program to over 100 of our leaders, focusing on the core capabilities of adaptive leadership.

Question: What have you been proudest of this year?

Answer (Andrew Brooks): Our people. The way they have responded, supported each other and continued to focus on delivering for our brokers and customers in, at times, very tough circumstances. Kiwis are known for their “she’ll be right” attitude and we can be proud as a country on how we have worked together to have the lifestyle we can now experience going into the Christmas break compared to other countries around the world. 

Question: What are you looking forward to in 2021?

Answer (Andrew Brooks): Building on the great connectivity we have created this year and converting that into collaboration with our brokers and business partners.  The likes of Webex and Zoom will have their place and be used strategically as a communication tool, but the ability we have in New Zealand to be out and about meeting our brokers and clients providing solutions can’t be underestimated.  Executing on our plans and strategies which was hindered this year, and simplifying our business to make it easier to deal with Chubb are priorities. And of course the ability to go overseas to reconnect with family and colleagues would be a real plus.

The content of the above article is not intended to constitute professional advice. Chubb Insurance New Zealand Limited (Chubb) makes no warranty or guarantee about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the content of this article. Users relying on any content do so at their own risk.