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MLC Life appoints executive

MLC Life has appointed a new chief life insurance officer, as Sean McCormack gets ready for a February 26 departure.

The role is going to Michael Rogers, who has worked as QSuper's general manager for insurance while it set up its own insurer QInsure.

Rogers has also worked for AXA in Australia and UK, and for AMP.

As MLC Life Insurance's chief life insurance officer, Rogers will oversee insurance operations and delivery to customers, advisers, and superannuation funds.

He reports to MLC Life Insurance chief executive Rodney Cook, who joined in June last year. 

"Michael's appointment, in addition to the recent capital injection from Nippon Life and NAB, demonstrates that we are on the right path, despite the fast-changing operating environment we face," Cook said.

"While we acknowledge that we have work to do to rebuild positive relationships with our advice partners after our service deteriorated following the recent technology upgrade, we are confident that, once overcome, we will deliver a superior service over time," he said.

McCormack was promoted to the role last year, but months later decided to take the role of chief executive at startup insurer Integrity Life, as its founder (former local chief financial officer of Zurich Chris Powell) retired.

The leadership change comes as MLC Life raised about $650 million at the end of 2020. The capital injection was a mix of $530 million in equity (subscribed to by NAB and Nippon in their 20: 80 ownership ratio) and 10-year subordinated debt of $120 million.

In its statement, Nippon Life referenced life insurance industry's spike in income protection claims, COVID-19's impact and high unemployment which put MLC Life's business performance being "stagnant" beyond 2021.

Commenting on his appointment, Rogers said: "I'm delighted to be joining MLC Life Insurance at such a critical time for the company and the life insurance industry. I'm aware of the challenges we face as a business after a difficult 2020."

"We need to work hard to restore trust amongst advisers and licensees and our team is ready to do that. I look forward to working with Rodney and the MLC Life Insurance leadership team."

NAB sold 80% of MLC Life to Nippon Life in 2015 for $2.4 billion, which was followed by disagreements on terms of the transition. Nippon in its recent statement said it injected capital into MLC Life in December 2019 [$290 million] and June 2020 to ensure the business's soundness and support execution of their business plan.

MLC reported $113 million in net loss after tax for the financial year ending 31 December 2019, according to most recent institution-level data published by APRA. Life insurers reported $1.58 billion in net loss for the year ending September 2020.

Read more: MLC Life InsuranceSean McCormackMichael RogersRodney CookChris Powell
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