Insurance Investor - news round-up 14/7/23

A guide for all the news you may have missed in the investment space for insurers featuring Standards Based Alternative Investments (SBAI), Swiss Re, Athora, Alan Gray LLC, Hiscox, Conning, and Zurich.

Insurance Investor Editorposted on Friday, July 14, 2023

@Shutterstock. Weekly comings and goings and portfolio management news for the investment and finance community in insurance.

Comings and Goings


Hiscox has appointed Dan Kovac as US Chief Risk Officer (CRO). Kovac will report to Hanna Kam, Group CRO, as well as sit on the Hiscox USA Leadership Team, and be based out of San Antonio, Texas.

In the newly created role, Kovac will provide risk oversight and management for the US business.

Prior to joining Hiscox, Kovac spent over 15 years with USAA, most recently as the CRO for the P&C division and previously as the Chief of Staff to the CEO.


Björn Bierfreund, has been promoted to Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Canada, at Zurich Insurance.

Bierfreund, based in Toronto, was previously Senior Investor Relations Officer from 2022 onwards.

He has held several other positions for the company since he joined 2009, in, according to his LinkedIn profile, Dubai, Germany and in Switzerland.


Conning CEO Woody Bradford will stay in his current role after the asset manager announced it will be acquired by Generali Investment Holdings (GIH), an entity comprising the majority of asset management activities of Generali.

Conning’s current owner is Cathay Life Insurance Co. As part of the transaction, Cathay will enter into a partnership with Generali by contributing its ownership of Conning and its Affiliates in exchange for 16.75% ownership of GIH.

Swiss Re

Swiss Re's Board of Directors’ Governance and Nomination Committee – led by Joerg Reinhardt – concluded that the current Vice Chairman, Jacques de Vaucleroy, should continue leading the Board of Directors and be proposed for election as the new Swiss Re Chairman at the next AGM in April 2024. This was fully endorsed by the members of the Board of Directors, the company said in a statement.

Swiss Re's Board of Directors launched a succession process for a new chairperson after Sergio P. Ermotti's resignation as Chairman on 30 April 2023.

Until the next AGM in April 2024, de Vaucleroy will continue to lead the Board of Directors in his current capacity as Vice Chairman. He will make this his "cornerstone" mandate and step down from most of his external mandates to ensure the capacity and time commitment required by the Chairman role.

To follow best governance practice, de Vaucleroy will step down as Lead Independent Director and as Chairperson and Member of the Compensation Committee. Reinhardt will become the Lead Independent Director and Jay Ralph will chair the Compensation Committee, both appointments with immediate effect.

He will also step down as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Swiss Re Europe S.A. and Swiss Re International SE once a successor has been selected. 

“From the selection process, which involved several external candidates, Jacques emerged as the Board's preferred successor,” said Reinhardt. “I am convinced that his in-depth knowledge, his outstanding experience in the industry and his thorough acquaintance with Swiss Re will be of great value."

Alan Gray LLC

Claims and audit consultancy firm Alan Gray LLC has hired Seth Patel as its new CEO.

Patel was named last month as the incoming CEO after the previous CEO, Mike Ceppi, said he would "transition into a new role".

The Boston-based company provides data analytics and broad audit services – including claim, forensic accounting, underwriting and legal bill auditing, reinsurance identification and collections and risk management services to clients including leading insurers and reinsurers, MGAs, self-insured corporations, and public entities. Alan Gray is a wholly owned subsidiary of Premia Holdings Inc.

Before his current role, Patel was an Advisory Board Member at Echo Ridge and on the InsurTech sector lead for the Harvard Business School Alumni Angels investor network. He’s also had roles at Verisk, Accenture, EY, Swiss Re, and AIG.


European savings and retirement services group, Athora Holding Ltd, has announced senior appointments, including a new Chief Risk Officer (CRO).

Michael Koller has been appointed as Group CRO succeeding Lukas Ziewer who stepped down in May 2023.

Koller will become a member of Athora’s Management Committee subject to regulatory approval. He is joined at Athora by Chantal Waight, who has recently taken up the role of Managing Director of Group Risk. 

Koller has more than 30 years of industry experience and was most recently CRO at MS Amlin. Previously, he was Group Risk Director at Prudential plc for almost a decade, where he was also a member of key subsidiary Board Audit and Risk Committees. Before joining Prudential plc, Michael was the CRO for Aviva’s European operations. 

Waight has 25 years of insurance industry experience, the last 15 of which were at M&G plc and Prudential plc, most recently as Director of Strategy & Corporate Development for M&G plc and Director of Investor Relations for Prudential plc.

Athora recently completed acquisitions in Italy and Belgium and signed a large acquisition in Germany, raising approximately €2.75 billion of Common Equity Capital and completing its inaugural bond issuance in public capital markets.

Standards Based Alternative Investments (SBAI)

Richard Johnston, Partner at Albourne Partners, has been appointed as the new Chair of the Science Based Alternative Investments (SBAI) APAC Committee. Johnston will lead the SBAI’s activities and initiatives in the APAC region.

He will succeed Ted Lee as Chair of the APAC Committee.

The SBAI APAC Committee is equally split across asset owners and managers, which it says “[exemplifies] their commitment to neutrality”.

The SBAI also has expanded its APAC team by adding Annie Yang as APAC Co-Head to work alongside Tina Hu, who has been involved with the SBAI since 2021.


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