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Genworth looks West as CEO search goes on

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Genworth Mortgage Insurance Australia has named non-executive director Duncan West as acting CEO when Georgette Nicholas vacates the role at the end of the year.

Mr West is presently Hollard Insurance Chairman. He was formerly CEO of Vero Insurance and CGU. He has also chaired Lawcover Insurance and Pacific Life Re. Other directorships he holds include Avant Insurance and Hallmark Life and General Insurance.

The lenders’ mortgage insurer has been scouting locally and internationally for a permanent candidate since the announcement in May that Ms Nicholas would retire and be returning to the US. Her exit date at that time was not finalised.

In a separate update, Genworth announced a 28.1% rise in third quarter net profit to $25.1 million.

Gross written premium (GWP) in the September quarter increased 24.4% to jump to $114.6 million and net earned premium grew 11.9% to $76.2 million.

New insurance written reached $6.4 billion, up 26.4% from a year earlier.

Underlying net profit, including an after-tax realised gain of $8.9 million, increased 29.9% to $26.5 million.

Signs of stability in the housing market, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne, underpinned the business during the quarter.

“Overall 3Q performance was solid,” Ms Nicholas told an earnings call last week.

“The highlight of the strength of this performance is the best gross written premium performance in four years for Genworth.

“Looking ahead, the fundamentals remain sound. We expect this to provide momentum into the fourth quarter. Our 2019 full-year guidance remains unchanged.”

She says net earned premium will likely be at the top of the range of -5% to +5% of last year’s figures and the loss somewhere between 45% and 55%.

Genworth has also secured a three-year extension to its existing contract with key client Commonwealth Bank. The supply and service renewal starts in January and represents about 53% of GWP in the first-half of this year.