Risk Management

Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty strengthens its market-facing leadership team

  • Executive appointments for regional management, underwriting and risk consulting roles
  • New Regional Managing Directors for Regional Units London and Ibero/LatAm: Nadia Côté and Gianluca Piscopo
  • New Global Heads for Liability and Energy & Construction lines of business: Alfredo Alonso and Max Benz
  • New Global Head for Allianz Risk Consulting: Michele Williams

Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty SE (AGCS) is strengthening its leadership team to support the company’s ‘pivot to growth’, following its successful remediation program. It is attracting both internal talent as well as high-profile external hires to executive positions in its regional management, underwriting and risk consulting functions, all in market-facing roles. 

Alfredo Alonso who currently leads AGCS’ Regional Unit London & Nordics will become Global Head of Liability with immediate effect. Contributing 20% to AGCS’s global premium volume in 2020, the Liability line of business is the largest underwriting unit at AGCS. Alonso will be succeeded in May 2022 by Nadia Côté who joins AGCS as the new Regional Managing Director for London & Nordics from her current role as Head of Major Accounts Europe and International Broking Distribution for Chubb.  Alonso will remain based in London and, in the interim, will retain his regional responsibility for London & Nordics in addition to his Liability leadership role. 

Gianluca Piscopo will be appointed Regional Managing Director for the Ibero/LatAm region, also effective from May 2022. In this role he will succeed Nuno Antunes who continues to oversee the Ibero/LatAm region until the handover next year and will then move to a new role which will be confirmed in due course. Piscopo is currently CEO for W.R. Berkley Spain & Portugal. He will continue to be based in Madrid. 

AGCS has also appointed a new Global Head of Energy & Construction, Max Benz. He will join in February 2022. Benz was previously AXA XL’s Global Chief Underwriting Officer (CUO) for Construction as well as Regional Product CUO Construction for Asia Pacific & Europe. He will drive further growth opportunities for the Energy & Construction line of business which generated about 13% of AGCS’s gross written premium in 2020. 

Michele Williams will take over as Global Head of Allianz Risk Consulting (ARC) in Munich with immediate effect from Thierry Portevin who leaves AGCS to pursue interests outside Allianz. She started at AGCS in 2004, working in various Risk Consulting and Underwriting roles, and most recently led the CEO Office for AGCS CEO Joachim Mueller in Munich. With over 280 staff spread across 24 locations worldwide, ARC’s risk engineers and industry experts provide a wide range of risk consulting services to AGCS customers, as well as advising underwriters on technical risk issues. This setup presents a unique opportunity to create customer value and support the company’s plans to grow in its target segments and markets. 

Côté and Piscopo, as Regional Managing Directors, will report to Henning Haagen, AGCS’ Chief Regions & Markets Officer; Benz and Williams will report to Tony Buckle, AGCS’ Chief Underwriting Officer, Corporate.  

AGCS CEO Joachim Mueller comments on the leadership changes: “As our portfolio turnaround and wider business transformation program advance as planned and we pivot to growth again, we are pleased to attract top talents for these core positions, all of which are directly connected to our customer-facing activities. It’s a good balance of high-profile external hires and talented members of our internal team. I look forward to working with these energetic managers – both familiar and new colleagues – to drive our ambitious transformation and growth agenda over the next years.”

These appointments are subject to regulatory approval, where relevant.

Get to know the new AGCS executives: 

Alfredo Alonso is currently Regional Managing Director for AGCS Regional Unit London & Nordics. He moved to AGCS in 2020 from Bermudian insurer ArgoGlobal where he was Head of Europe/Middle East & Chief Underwriting Officer for Europe. Before that, he had worked for eight years in chief underwriting roles in emerging markets and UK for RSA Group, most recently as Group Casualty Director, and 12 years for Zurich Financial Services. Alonso began his career at Winterthur Insurance in its claims department, before joining Winterthur International as a senior casualty underwriter. He holds an Executive MBA from the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland and Vlerick Leuven in Belgium.

Max Benz, a Swiss national, is currently Global Chief Underwriting Officer Construction at AXA XL as well as Regional Product CUO Construction for Asia Pacific & Europe. Until the merger of Axa and Catlin XL in 2018 he was a Construction Underwriting Manager, overseeing all markets outside of North America for XL Catlin’s insurance operations. From 1999 to 2015, he filled similar underwriting roles for XL and Winterthur International. As a trained mechanical engineer with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from ZHAW Winterthur, he worked for industrial companies for several years before ultimately moving into corporate insurance in 1994.

Nadia Côté has more than 20 years’ experience in the corporate insurance market. Since March 2020 she has been Head of Major Accounts at Chubb Europe. In this role, she sets and implements the business strategy for the Major Accounts Division and is responsible for global broker relationships outside North America. Before that she was country president for Chubb Europe in France for seven years. She had started her insurance career as a Financial Lines Underwriter first at AIG and later at Chubb. She holds a Bachelor Degree in Economics from the University of Sherbrooke and Simon Fraser University (Canada).

Gianluca Piscopo, an Italian national, is currently CEO of W. R. Berkley Spain & Portugal. He began his career as actuary in a trainee program at Zurich Financial Services in Switzerland in 2002 and moved to Zurich Global Corporate Spain in 2004 as Chief Pricing Actuary. In the following years he took over various management roles in operations, IT and underwriting before being appointed to the role of CEO Spain at Zurich in 2013, subsequently adding responsibility for LatAm in 2015. He is a trained actuary and graduate of the University of Bern.

Michele Williams assumed the role of Head of CEO Office in May 2020 after two years leading AGCS’s digital transformation and innovation focused department, known as XSE. Prior to this, she worked as Global Practice Group Leader for Heavy Industries & Manufacturing, Base Industries & Construction in the Chief Underwriting Office Property in Munich. She joined AGCS in 2004 as a Regional Manager for Allianz Risk Consulting in London, a role she held for nine years. She holds a Master’s degree in Fire and Explosion from the University of Leeds and worked for several years as design engineer with the industrial company Kidde.

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