QBE Re's General Manager of Europe Piet Haers, discusses his career and the business’ recent restructure.
What is your career background?
I joined QBE Re in 1996, in Brussels, and have never looked back! During my career here, I have regularly switched between technical roles and support functions. With front line roles, most of the work related to pricing. In support functions, I was focused on IT solutions and wider operational requirements.
Tell us about your current role at QBE Re?
In my new role as General Manager Europe, I am responsible for the delivery of profitable growth by our European distribution hubs in Brussels and Dublin. I also look after the wider reinsurance business written on QBE Europe SA/NV paper, which includes Bermuda as well as Brussels and Dublin. Another element of the role is innovation, something I’m passionate about. Finding ways to innovate and streamline our business is a very rewarding part of my job.
What new developments should we expect to see from QBE Re?
QBE Re’s recent internal restructure will ensure that we are better positioned to deliver the consistent service that our clients demand. We will operate as a more connected and collaborative global business and will become more visible in the territories where we operate.
How did you get into reinsurance?
Like a lot of people in this industry, I didn’t dream of working in (re)insurance when I was 15 years old! I fell into it by accident.
When I was finishing my last year studying statistics, my professor phoned me out of the blue to ask whether I could present myself at short notice at a reinsurance company that had a vacancy in the R&D department. The interview was the next day (a fellow student who was due to attend the interview had cancelled at the last minute), and I turned up totally unprepared – I had never even heard of reinsurance! However, I went in with an open mind and was honest and luckily, I got the job.
What excites you the most about your role?
Reinsurance is an industry based on trust and integrity; values I care about a lot. And I enjoy working face to face with people – both colleagues within the QBE Re organisation and clients and brokers outside QBE Re in the wider market.
What is the most rewarding project you have been a part of?
QBE Re’s recent organisational restructure has, without doubt, been the most exciting and rewarding project I have been able to contribute to. You don’t get many opportunities in your career to start a project with a completely blank page.
Can you tell us more about what you’re currently working on?
The coming together of both the Brussels and Dublin operations is a priority right now. There is so much potential in the integration of these offices, which I believe will be more than just the sum of both.