New role for Mercer chief

Outgoing Mercer Australia chief executive Ben Walsh is set to join the executive leadership of one of the nation's largest life insurers.

AIA Australia have appointed Walsh as chief life insurance officer, a newly created role that will see the long-time Mercer boss drive the direction of AIA's life insurance arm, which includes the recently acquired CommInsure.

Walsh will link with the insurer from June 1, and will report to AIA Australia chief executive Damien Mu. AIA said Walsh will be responsible for delivering "market-leading life insurance propositions across a diverse range of channels, in order to best meet consumer need".

Mu said the firm was "thrilled" to have Walsh onboard.

"We have a unique customer value proposition of life, health and wellbeing and each of those pillars is fundamental to our shared value model," Mu said.

"In heading up the Life pillar of the business, Ben will pay a key role in helping us realise our vision of making Australia and New Zealand the healthiest and best protected nations in the world.

"As the business continues to grow, Ben's leadership and expertise will allow us to deliver greater value in life insurance, further strengthening our leadership by identifying and investing in innovative ways to meet evolving customer needs and expectations."

Walsh said he has admired the life insurer from afar for some time.

"Over the years [I] have been fortunate enough to visit its [AIA's] operations and leadership in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore and Australia," Walsh said.

"As the largest global life insurer in the world, AIA is extremely well placed to deliver its vision and in this new role, I look forward to helping the business and team, along with clients and partners, make Australia one of the healthiest and best protected nations in the world."

Walsh's appointment comes around a fortnight after Mercer confirmed he would step down as chief executive on April 30. The global consultant has already appointed its head of industry and public sector superannuation, Jo-Anne Bloch, to take the reins in the interim.

Bloch was profiled by FS Super in its final edition of 2019, where she spoke candidly about her time working with former New South Wales Premier Bob Carr, and revealed trust to currently be the most pressing issue for the superannuation sector.

Read more: Ben WalshMercer AustraliaAIA AustraliaJo-Anne BlochCommInsureDamien MuFS Super
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