Insurance and banking major Suncorp has made several leadership appointments as part of a wide-ranging overhaul in response to the economic impact of COVID-19.

Chief executive Steve Johnston said the pandemic had prompted customers to more quickly adopt digital channels, and staff had found more agile ways of working.

Insurance has become a larger proportion of group profit following the sale of Suncorp’s life insurance operations and will be jointly led by two people.

Current Chief Customer & Digital Officer Lisa Harrison has been promoted to the Chief Executive insurance product and portfolio role, while Paul Smeaton has been named chief operating officer insurance.

Mr Smeaton has led Suncorp New Zealand for five years. The organisation will search for a replacement.

Meanwhile the chief executive banking and wealth role will be filled by former Commonwealth Bank executive Clive van Horen.

The banking and wealth division will gain more control over business functions such as finance, marketing and digital distribution.

The new operating model would help the bank make decisions more quickly and better use digital channels, Suncorp said.

Mr Johnston said the changes did not signal any shift of intent about the role of the bank.

Suncorp has also set the upper limit on its catastrophe reinsurance program to $6.5 billion.