Markel, the insurance operation within Markel Group Inc., announced it is has hired an in-country leader for Australia and will open three new offices there in September 2023.
These offices, in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, will be led by Rory Morison, who has been appointed managing director of Markel’s Australia operation.
Markel Australia will focus on providing underwriting solutions to businesses that traditionally purchase insurance in the domestic Australian market. This approach will complement existing support through Markel’s significant London capacity, as well as industry and product specialists from across its wholesale international business in London and Asia.
Morison joins Markel from AXA XL where he has worked since 2002, most recently as head of long-tail lines. He is a proven local leader in casualty and financial lines – a key initial focus area for Markel in Australia – and he combines this with a deep understanding of Lloyd’s, having spent eight years in the London market.
This will ensure even closer connectivity with the existing underwriting support and capacity from London, Markel said in a statement.
Demand is growing across Australia for specialty commercial insurance, particularly in casualty and financial lines, driven in part by the growth of the digital economy alongside traditional industries, Markel explained.
The company intends to introduce new products to the local market, including its fintech and commtech insurance solutions, designed to protect fast-growing technology businesses from a range of risks such as professional indemnity, general liability, directors and officers (D&O) liability, and cyber. Markel also will continue to support Australian brokers and commercial customers with its broad range of specialist insurance products.
By establishing new offices, assembling an experienced leadership team under Morison, and ramping up its investment in local underwriting talent, Markel said it aims to build on its long-standing commitment to the Australian market.
Having an appropriate on-the-ground presence means that underwriters can respond more quickly and adapt products to onshore clients’ needs and the nuances of a particular risk environment. This is especially important given the speed at which many businesses operate today.
“Australia is the world’s tenth largest insurance market, and it’s growing. Specialist commercial insurance forms a significant portion of this premium. We know that local underwriters understand local conditions and are uniquely focused on the needs of local clients,” commented Christian Stobbs, managing director, Asia Pacific, at Markel.
“By establishing a strong underwriting presence in Australia under Rory’s leadership, we are well-positioned to serve our clients as part of the domestic market, raise our game, and further Markel’s international vision,” Stobbs said.
Andrew McMellin, managing director of wholesale at Markel, added: “Markel has a solid track record of building businesses in international markets, having successfully established onshore operations in Canada, Europe, the Middle East and Asia over the past decade. In each case, we have committed to hiring high-quality talent and empowering them with underwriting and claims authority, underpinned by Markel’s highly collaborative and entrepreneurial culture.”
“I am looking forward to leading the Markel team in Australia and expanding our presence in the local market,” according to Morison.
“We see significant opportunity for Markel within Australia as businesses adjust to the changing landscape, including the rise of the digital economy, increased scrutiny on director liability, and a spate of high-profile cyber breaches. Markel’s dedication to a strong local presence and on-the-ground capabilities will ensure that we are best placed to support our new and existing Australian brokers and customers,” Morison continued.
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