Meet the ICMIF team

Shaun Tarbuck, Chief Executive

Shaun joined the International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation (ICMIF) in 1995 and was appointed Chief Executive in 2005. He has overseen the growth of the organisation from 65 members in 1995 to 200 members in 70 countries today. The mutual sector represents 27% of the global insurance market with USD 1.5 trillion in premiums and assets in-excess of USD 9 trillion. The mutual industry has 1 billion policyholders and has grown by 30% in the last 10 years (industry growth is 17%) with the ICMIF members growing by 40%. ICMIF’s current four-year strategy is to help member organisations achieve their strategic goals and sustainably grow in their markets by leveraging the knowledge, competencies and experience of ICMIFs global network and representing the sectors interests to key stakeholders.

Shaun developed the first ICMIF Global Manifesto Protecting Lives and Livelihoods in 2015 and as a result has established working relationships with key global policymakers in areas where ICMIF members need to be represented or are leading the way. These include the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); climate change; disaster risk resilience; poverty alleviation; economic growth; responsible investing; governance; sustainable development and regulation/legislation.

He joined the B20 Financing Growth Taskforce in 2014 during the Australian B20 presidency and was instrumental in setting up the first G20 Insurance Summit which took place in Argentina in 2018 as well as getting mutual insurers mentioned in three of the recommendation papers. In 2015, ICMIF had five representatives from member organisations sitting on various B20 Taskforces.

Shaun has been involved with the United Nations (UN) 2030 Agenda since the beginning. He spoke about responsible investing at the UN General Assembly in 2014 as the insurance industry spokesperson. At the Assembly, industry commitments were made prior to three Global UN agreements being established in 2015. These included the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) Sendai Agreement, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) launch in September and culminated in the Paris Climate Change Agreement in December 2015 at COP2 1 with Shaun speaking at each of these events.

He has subsequently spoken at all the biennial UNDRR Conferences and many other UN-designated events, mostly on the role that mutual insurers can and do play in the UN 2030 Agenda. He has been instrumental in ICMIF’s three global partnerships that were agreed in 2019 with the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UNDRR and The Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S) . Shaun is currently involved with developing the Insurance SDGs (iSDGs) in conjunction with the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), the UN-Convened Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance and COP26 which will take place in 2021 in Glasgow.

Shaun is a founding member of the Insurance Development Forum (IDF, founded in April 2016) and is an ex-officio member of its Steering Group. The IDF brings together insurance industry leaders with global policymakers from the UN, the World Bank and the Financial Stability Board in a unique public-private and mutual partnership to ensure insurance-related issues and solutions are discussed at the highest level. He was the Co-Chair of the IDF Microinsurance working group until 2019.

Shaun regularly speaks at conferences and to mutual leaders on the mutual advantage, sustainability strategies, governance and innovation in mutuals, as well as other strategic issues affecting the mutual and cooperative insurance sector and the wider insurance sector. He writes leadership articles and blogs and is regularly interviewed by the global insurance media in both written and video format. He has also contributed to several research projects on the sector, including ICMIF projects and external ones.

He is a board member of the Climate Bonds Initiative that promotes green bonds and is a board member of Regis Mutual Management which sets up and runs new mutual insurers in the UK and Australia. In his spare-time, Shaun is a Director of the Dunham Trust, an affiliation of several local primary schools.

Shaun qualified as a chartered accountant in 1987 and had various roles in the UK and Bermuda before joining ICMIF. He is married to Francesca with four adult children. He enjoys most sports but particularly rugby union – a sport he has played, coached and refereed.

Liz Green, Executive Vice-President

Reporting to the CEO, Liz Green is ICMIF’s Executive Vice-President. Her role is to ensure that ICMIF’s members gain optimum value and that the Federation understands each member organisation’s strategic priorities and competencies. Leading a team of four, her span of control also includes marketing, communications, design, ICMIF’s customer relationship management system and the recruitment of new members.

She is part of ICMIF’s Senior Management Team and is working towards her master’s degree in Executive Coaching and Mentoring. Liz has also been a board member of Liverpool Chamber of Commerce since 2018.

Before joining ICMIF in 2012, Liz spent 13 years working in senior communications roles for the UK life insurance sector at Swiss Life (UK) and then for Royal Liver Group before it was acquired by the UK’s largest mutual, Royal London Group. Before then she was a PR consultant specialising in financial services accounts.

Due to Liz’s experience in working for mutuals and specifically in promoting mutuality, she has led numerous Communication Leaders Forums for ICMIF and authored reports including Mutual and cooperative values sell and the Global Reputation Report. She has spoken at a wide variety of ICMIF conferences, Board and Executive meetings as well as representing the Federation at other non ICMIF conferences and symposiums.

Sabbir Patel, Senior Vice-President, Emerging Markets

Sabbir is responsible for overseeing the Emerging Markets team at ICMIF and oversees the ICMIF 5-5-5 Mutual Microinsurance Strategy which was launched in June 2016 to scale up mutual microinsurance in five countries where members are already operating. The objective is to build resilience in communities and develop insurable populations by providing financial education, risk reduction and affordable need-based insurance products.

Sabbir joined ICMIF in 1996, starting work on a member directory and the company’s finances. He then also worked on investment and agricultural networks, website, conference sponsorship and the ICMIF Series of Mutual Funds.   In 2004, he took over as Managing Director of ICMIF’s capital support facility Allnations Inc and made several investments to support the development of member companies in Africa and Latin America.   

In 2005, he was appointed Senior Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer,  taking responsibility of the emerging markets department as well as the Federation’s finances.  He oversaw a global cooperation with the Takaful sector including joint conferences, newsletters, an ICMIF Takaful website and the promotion of the concept of microtakaful.  With the support of the ICMIF Development Committee, an ICMIF microinsurance tool was developed in 2010 and successfully run across the globe for different stakeholders.  He was also actively involved in working with the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) to develop guiding principles and an Application paper for the regulation of mutual microinsurance.  Throughout his tenure member partnerships were facilitated through annual seminars on microinsurance, a regular newsletter and technical exchanges.      

In 2015, Sabbir was also appointed CEO of the ICMIF Foundation to lead the ICMIF 5-5-5 Mutual Microinsurance Strategy which has issued over two million policies to low-income individuals to date.

Sabbir is a qualified chartered certified accountant (FCCA) and holds a Master’s degree at the Institute of Development and Policy Management (IDPM), Manchester and a CII Diploma in Insurance.  He has represented the sector on many global platforms and written numerous articles on mutual microinsurance.


Vanessa Smith, Senior Vice-President, Operations

Vanessa Smith is Senior Vice-President, Operations at ICMIF with responsibility for finance, HR, IT and management of the head office in Manchester (UK). She is also part of the Senior Management Team which supports the ICMIF CEO in the delivery of the Federation’s strategic goals.

Before joining ICMIF in 2003, Vanessa’s background was in accountancy and since joining ICMIF she has held a number of roles including Reinsurance Technician and Member Engagement Manager. She was also instrumental in the launch and engagement with the Latin American Reinsurance Group (LARG) during its early years. The Group is a unique collaboration between a number of ICMIF members and was formed in order to allow these members to purchase reinsurance collectively and provide access to technical and reinsurance training.

As part of her current role, Vanessa coordinates and manages the ICMIF Board of Directors and Executive Committee annual meetings. She also holds an ex officio seat on the ICMIF/Americas Board of Directors and manages the governance issues for the ICMIF/Americas regional association.


Yvonne Hautenne, Senior Vice-President, Events

Yvonne Hautenne is Senior Vice President at ICMIF with responsibility for the management of global events including budget control; venue and vendor negotiation; logistics, liaison with host (usually an ICMIF member organisation); and maintenance of a high level of positive member experience at all ICMIF conferences, seminars, training courses, governance meetings and online events. Based at the head office Manchester (UK), Yvonne is also a member of the Senior Management Team, reporting directly to the ICMIF CEO for delivery of the Federation’s strategic goals.

Prior to joining ICMIF in 1997, Yvonne had proven experience in project management in various industries including textiles, safety protection systems, cosmetics and graphic design/print. Over the past 23 years at ICMIF, Yvonne has held roles in several departments at the Federation including communications, HR, operations and more recently, events management. She is currently exploring new ways to deliver networking and learning opportunities to member organisations using remote platforms.

As a member of the Senior Management Team, Yvonne regularly attends ICMIF Executive Committee and Board meetings. As the centenary of ICMIF approaches, Yvonne is looking forward to liaising closely with the Chair of ICMIF for the delivery of the anniversary celebrations and ICMIF Conference which will be held in Rome in 2022.


Mike Ashurst, Vice-President, Reinsurance and Professional Development

Mike Ashurst is a Vice-President at ICMIF, responsible for reinsurance and professional development services. He organises the biennial Meeting of Reinsurance Officials (MORO) that attracts around 100 reinsurance professionals from across the globe. On the professional development side, he runs the ICMIF Advanced Management Course and several bespoke development courses, as well as some new online offerings. Mike is also part of the team that delivers ICMIF’s webinars.

Mike has been in the (re)insurance industry since 1989, working for three years at The Co-operative Insurance in the UK as a reinsurance technician. He joined ICMIF in 1993, working initially as a reinsurance technician then later providing reinsurance intermediary services to ICMIF members. He has conducted development courses and workshops all over the world. He is an Associate of the Chartered Insurance Institute.

Mike is secretary of the ICMIF Reinsurance Committee and has organised several networking forums focused on talent development, and has written articles and blogs for ICMIF and various external publications on the topics of reinsurance and talent development.

Catherine Hock, Vice-President, International Relations

Catherine Hock is Vice-President, International Relations. She monitors legislative and regulatory requirements which could potentially affect ICMIF members. Her involvement also includes participation in conferences where she presents and explains the characteristics of the mutual and cooperative insurance model.   

Catherine has over 17 years of experience in financial services. Before joining ICMIF in 2013, she was Deputy Secretary General at the Association of Mutual Insurers and Insurance Cooperatives in Europe (AMICE). She has a good knowledge of public administrations, having worked for the United Nations (at the Secretariat and in the field) and the Belgian Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

Catherine is responsible for member engagement and ICMIF’s work programme with Latin American members and has established working groups with members on Capital Maintenance and Sustainability and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

She authored the Practical Guide to Understanding Mutual Insurance and several position papers on behalf of ICMIF members to the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS), the Financial Stability Board (FSB) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), on topics including financial stability, reporting requirements, risk management, governance and climate change risk.

Steve Leicester, Chief Finance Officer

Steve is responsible for the company’s financial function including accounting, audit, budgeting, treasury, and management of ICMIF’s investment portfolio. Before joining ICMIF in January 2016, Steve worked in the IT and Communications industry as Finance Director for the GK Communications Group before completing a management buyout of Pav Data Systems (a manufacturer and distributor of free space optics equipment). Steve is a qualified Chartered Management Accountant.

Steve is increasingly involved in ICMIF’s work in climate change, green bonds and sustainability and he actively supports the CEO Shaun Tarbuck in his role on the Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI) board. The CBI is an international, not-for-profit organisation which promotes ‘green’ capital investment projects to build a global, climate resilient economy.

Steve is also involved raising awareness within the ICMIF membership of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and The Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S) which was established by The Prince of Wales in 2004 with the aim of inspiring action by finance leaders to drive a fundamental shift towards resilient business models and a sustainable economy. As part of ICMIF’s partnership with A4S, Steve encourages members to comply with the organisation’s recommendations as they become mainstream in financial reporting for all businesses.

Steve has written several blogs and articles on the topics of climate change, sustainability and ICMIF’s work with A4S.


Ben Telfer, Vice-President, Business Intelligence

As Vice-President, Business Intelligence, Ben is focused on strategic intelligence and research of emerging trends, best-practice strategies and innovations in the global cooperative and mutual insurance sector. He is responsible for the ICMIF Intelligence Committee, a sub-committee of the ICMIF Board which is made up of more than 25 strategic leaders from member organisations, and acts as the secretary of the committee. Ben also has responsibility for ICMIF’s activities in North America as member engagement lead for the Americas region.

Since 2017, Ben has co-ordinated ICMIF’s Young Leaders activities, a recent initiative to help member companies develop their young and emerging talent. He also leads on delivering ICMIF member-only webinars and managing the strategic content for the ICMIF Knowledge Hub.

Ben has over 10 years’ experience in the financial service industry. Before joining ICMIF in 2011, he was a research analyst for the corporate finance arm of a global information service provider. He has a Bachelor’s (B.A) Degree from the University of Manchester (UK).

Since joining ICMIF, Ben has also held responsibility for all of ICMIF’s financial research and statistical analysis on the global cooperative and mutual insurance market and members’ financial information. He is the project manager and author of a number of ICMIF’s financial insight reports (including Global Mutual Market Share reports) and strategic best-practice reports. He has also collaborated on a number of external research reports and written numerous articles for external publications on the cooperative/mutual sector.

Scroll to Top