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March 8, 2019

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Fire Protection

FPA appoints ex-AVIVA underwriting chief John Smeaton as chair

The Fire Protection Association (FPA) has announced the appointment of commercial property insurance expert John Smeaton as its new chair.

FPASmeaton, whose three-year chairmanship began at the end of January 2019, has had two previous roles at the FPA. He was a non-executive director for 10 years and interim managing director for six months between 2017-18.

His most recent role in a career spanning four decades was as head of commercial property underwriting, commercial liability underwriting and risk management for Aviva.

He has sat on the Association of British Insurers (ABI) property committee and the advisory boards of Pool Re.

The Chartered Insurance Institute’s (CII) underwriting faculty presented him with a Special Achievement Award in 2011 for his contribution to leadership, coaching, mentoring and training within the insurance industry.

After leaving Aviva, John led a commercial underwriting strategy review for AXA. As FPA chair he will continue to carry out other consultancy work

“We’re delighted to welcome back John as an old friend of the Fire Protection Association,” said Jonathan O’Neill, MD of the FPA. “He was chosen by the board as someone with a breadth of experience, market expertise and credibility, and strategic business acumen, as well as of course for his leadership style and commitment to a long-term vision for the FPA.”

Said Smeaton: “This is a great opportunity for me to learn how to be a good chair in a company that I admire, on subject matter that inspires me and with leading experts in their field. I’d like to think that being responsible for underwriting and risk management strategy at one of the largest UK insurers will help me contribute strong leadership and guidance.

“I want to learn how to be a good chair and hope to use my experience to manage a very strong board of high quality individuals. I’d like to maintain a clear focus on what we’re trying to achieve, to successfully grow the business and continue to strive towards being the best at what we do.

“The Fire Protection Association’s been at the forefront of providing advice and guidance to the government via the Hackitt Review, and to insurers via the ABI following extensive testing. It must continue to be the first point of call for fire protection advice, guidance, training, testing and education.”

Smeaton succeeds Chris Hanks, who was FPA chair for nine years.

This article was originally published on IFSEC Global.

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