Amanda Blanc has become the first woman to chair the Association of British Insurers (ABI) since the trade group started out more than a century ago.
Blanc, who is about to become CEO of Zurich in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, will take over from Andy Briggs, CEO of Aviva UK. He will remain on the ABI board as the senior independent director.
The former CEO of AXA UK and Ireland, Blanc will take up the role in October.
Phil Loney, CEO of Royal London, will become deputy chair of the ABI, succeeding Paul Geddes, from Direct Line Group, who will also remain on the board.
Blanc (pictured) commented: “I’m delighted and honoured to become the next chair of the ABI and the first woman in this role. I want to thank Andy Briggs and the rest of the board for giving me this opportunity.”
The new Zurich EMEA CEO wants to continue to push the ABI to help make insurance a more inclusive sector.
She said: “With so much focus on the role of women in society today, I hope my appointment sends a signal to young women considering a career in insurance that there are no closed shops in this sector.”
“Insurance plays a vital role in the UK economy and provides peace of mind and practical help to millions of people every year. Rapid changes in the market, the use of technology and data and unprecedented geopolitical changes make it more important than ever that the industry can speak with a clear, single voice through the ABI.”
Briggs said of his time as chair: “It has been a privilege to serve as chair over the past two years and I am proud of the progress that the ABI has made in key areas during this time, including growing our membership.”
“The insurance industry has a fundamental role—to help our customers to enjoy a secure and prosperous retirement, and to protect what’s important to them. While there is more to be done, our work on auto enrolment and digital innovation has led to strong growth in pension provision, and our work in general insurance is now leading to fairer premiums for customers.”
He added: “In my successor, Amanda Blanc, the ABI has appointed someone of the highest ability, experience and drive. I am very proud that the ABI has taken a leading role in promoting gender diversity over the last two years, and in appointing the first ever woman to become Chair, this is an important moment for the industry.”
Loney said of his own appointment: “I am pleased to have been chosen as deputy chair of the ABI and feel that this is an opportunity for continued collaboration as an industry. I look forward to supporting Amanda and ensuring ABI is able to represent all parts of insurance and long-term savings sector.”