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May 31, 2023

Michael Foley

Boston-based, president, commercial insurance, QBE North America

Boston-based chief underwriting officer, specialty casualty, QBE North America

In the world of commercial property and casualty, the threat of natural catastrophes will dominate concerns and necessitate significant property rate increases, geographic diversification and higher retention of risk. On the casualty side, the outlook for workers compensation remains favorable with rates being fairly adequate; however, insurers will have to watch closely for a resurgence in the cost of medical care services, which has lately lagged the spike in general inflation. Meanwhile, for auto liability, general liability and umbrella, industry pricing must continue to stay ahead of the impact of social inflation, which has been a long-term challenge. As always, in times of highly volatile threats, astute risk selection, accurate pricing, and excellent claim service make all the difference in individual company and overall industry success.

QBE North America’s commercial business includes four dynamic operations: Middle market, specialty casualty, workers comp programs and commercial property programs. My goal is to sharpen and cross-leverage the strengths of these businesses to drive sustainable growth through our limited and preferred distribution network and better serve the risk management needs of our customers.

Considering recent volatility, especially in the property market, and the need for rate, I think a key challenge is getting a solid grasp of potential risks and clearly communicating the need for rate and effective loss control with customers. This includes developing better tools and systems to improve up-to-date valuations in an inflationary environment, improving our ability to assess and price risk specific to each customer instead of making blanket moves across classes, and building better engagement between the insurer and broker loss control functions and the customer. Finally, we’ve got to communicate far in advance on potential underwriting decisions so there is time for discussion, understanding and adjustment. We must engage throughout the policy term, not just at renewal. That’s the way to earn the trust of our trading partners and customers.

I started as an underwriter trainee immediately after graduating from college and have held various underwriting roles ever since.

First, I’d congratulate them on a great choice. The commercial property and casualty industry is a dynamic market that will keep them challenged in exciting ways. The improvements being made in data capture and analysis are revolutionizing the way underwriters work. Soak up everything and grow your network. It’s a close-knit industry, and you live and die by the relationships you build. Finally, don’t hesitate to challenge the status quo. Industry leaders know innovation is a key to success.

Real estate development and consulting. I have flipped a few homes over the years and enjoyed helping home buyers navigate the process.

I majored in economics and wanted to work for the federal government. But I soon realized that it would require going to school for about eight more years and then competing with thousands of others for the few jobs available.

With my expanded responsibilities, I’m most looking forward to working more closely with a larger group of people to build a commercial property & casualty business and reinforcing the strong culture we have at QBE. I am also looking forward to tapping all the opportunities new technology presents to help us work more efficiently and effectively in serving our customers. We’re making great progress leveraging artificial intelligence-powered tools and platforms in this regard.

Sushi. Oddly enough, I don’t really enjoy cooked fish, but I could eat sushi every day.

“For Whom the Bell Tolls,” by Ernest Hemingway

Flipping homes, skiing in the winter, and any activity on the water in the summer.

It’s a tie between “Seinfeld” and “The Office.”

I try to be doing one of my hobbies on Saturdays, but too often life gets in the way.