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QBE hires AGCS’s Watkins as aviation chief following staff exodus

QBE logo new york with Watkins.jpg

QBE North America has recruited David Watkins as its head of aviation, the company said on Tuesday.

The move follows the departure of QBE’s former aviation head, Steve Allen, and 10+ staff in his team, as reported by this publication in October.

In his new role, Watkins will be responsible for strengthening QBE’s aviation practice and serving the “unique needs” of aviation customers.

The QBE aviation team offers aerospace manufacturers’ product liability, agricultural aircraft, airport and government entity, and airlines coverage, as well as commercial aviation, corporate aircraft, pleasure and business, and aviation workers’ compensation.

“The decision reflects QBE's strategy to invest in the areas where it has a distinct advantage in providing innovative and customized risk management solutions,” the insurer said.

“The aviation practice is a key component of QBE's broader specialty business group.”

Prior to joining QBE, Watkins served as head of general aviation for Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty. He has more than 15 years of professional aviation insurance experience.

Steve Gransbury, head of specialty insurance, said: "David is a proven leader with deep aviation industry expertise and a solid track record of building high-performing teams and strong trading partner relationships.”

In recent months, there have been a number of senior management moves at the firm.

Last August, this publication revealed that QBE reinsurance buyer Jim Fiore will retire in April 2022 after nearly 30 years with the firm.

His roles will then be handed onto two UK-based colleagues: Neil Jones and Rob Stone.

QBE also announced in late August that its international markets division had made a pair of senior hires to its Miami-based Latin America team.

Juan David Mejia joined the carrier as vice president of property underwriting from Swiss Re, and Maria Amalia Cruz was appointed LatAm senior claims specialist in the Miami office, joining from Steller Public Adjusting Services.

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