In a significant changing of the guard, Te Kāhui Inihua o Aotearoa The Insurance Council of New Zealand has appointed a new chief executive, president and vice-president.
Former cabinet minister Kris Faafoi will take up the chief executive role at ICNZ, replacing Tim Grafton, who will step down on April 7.
Newly appointed ICNZ president and IAG NZ chief executive Amanda Whiting said Faafoi had extensive experience in the financial sector and a strong background in media that will serve the organisation well.
“I’m delighted we are able to appoint someone of Kris’s calibre who has a track record of demonstrated leadership together with extensive experience and understanding of the machinery of government and the financial sector,” she said.
“He is well known to many New Zealanders, has a strong background in media, has served as a minister, having responsibility for many portfolios over his political career, and most recently has been running his own consulting business.
“Kris will bring strong relationship-building capability, global knowledge and an approach that will support the industry to build on its already strong reputation,” Whiting said.
Faafoi said it has been “a challenging 12 months for insurers”.
“I’m looking forward to leading the industry through the next period, focusing on influencing for a sustainable industry and more importantly, ensuring that New Zealanders can continue to protect the things they love when disaster strikes.”
There will be a four-week handover period from early March before Faafoi takes on the new role.
Whiting acknowledged Grafton’s contribution to the insurance industry.
“Tim Grafton has made a significant contribution to the insurance industry that cannot be underestimated.
“I have no doubt that when the time comes to farewell him there will be many across the industry, and broader stakeholders, that will want to recognise this and wish him well.”
Grafton has led the industry body through 96 major insured events in the NZ general insurance sector, ranging in size from just over $1 million up to the current weather events that are on track towards $4 billion in insurance payments.
His tenure has included the Canterbury earthquakes, the Kaikoūra earthquake, major floods, tornadoes, fires and cyclones.
He has also led the industry’s engagement with government to modernise and strengthen NZ’s insurance legislation and regulation.
After almost 12 years of service to ICNZ, he said it’s time to explore new opportunities following the organisation’s annual meeting in April 2024.
Earlier this month the council announced Whiting’s appointment to the presidency and the appointment of Adam Heath, chief executive of Farmers Mutual Group as vice-president.
Whiting replaces Toni Ferrier as president. She has stepped down from the role as she has moved to become country manager for Marsh McLennan, which is not an ICNZ member.
Whiting was ICNZ’s vice-president before her latest appointment.
“I feel honoured to have the confidence of my fellow board members to take up this leadership role for general insurers and look forward to working with Adam to ensure New Zealanders continue to enjoy the strong protection our sector provides,” Whiting said.