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“People know they have permission to go outside the strict rules and guidelines and really try to fulfil the needs of people wherever they can.”

A crucial aspect is recognising those within the company who have gone above and beyond. “One of our repair managers organised a truck that had been involved in a fatality to be repaired quickly and brought back to the widow’s house,” Mr Clark says. “He made a follow-up phone call a couple of days later to make sure everything was OK, was the truck back? “She said, ‘Yes, but I just don’t know what to do with it.’ He, off his own bat, organised for the truck to be picked up, sold and the money deposited into her account, without asking anyone. “That’s about empowerment, permission to do things, and just a great result for that person, who was so appreciative when she wrote a letter. “I try to get people to let me know about things that have gone above and beyond, and you tell stories about what people have done, and hopefully that creates a behaviour. “People know they have permission to go outside the strict rules and guidelines and really try to fulfil the needs of people wherever they can. “We take a lot of pride in it, and I’m amazed at what some of our people have done.” 42

You can’t improve service delivery without focusing on your own people: Tony Clark in NTI’s Brisbane headquarters

Another way NTI aims to differentiate itself is by becoming embedded in the transport industry. It has an involvement in almost every major transport association, is a foundation sponsor of the Australian Trucking Association and has a representative on the board of TruckSafe. It also publishes its detailed Major Accident Investigation Report every two years. “We call ourselves Australia’s No.1 truck insurer. If you’re Australia’s No.1 truck insurer there are a whole lot of behaviours you should exhibit, and one of them is about influencing the safety agenda. “It’s the stuff we do in repair shops, working with them to improve their productivity and safety and processes, it’s the work we do with the recovery industry. “We believe even though the rest of the market might get a benefit out of that, we need to be pushing the agenda as far as innovation in those industries goes.” NTI’s focus on people and service does not just lead to awards, it brings strong performance too. And its unusual ownership as a Vero-CGU joint venture only serves to inspire further success. “We only exist if we can do this better than our shareinsuranceNEWS

Bumps in the road? There may be challenging times ahead for the heavy motor sector, but NTI Chief Executive Tony Clark believes the future also holds great opportunity. “Truck sales are flat at best on last year, but with the slowdown of the mining industry, the question is whether other parts of the economy can pick up those sales,” he tells Insurance News. “You’re seeing growth in the building sector with new homes, so can that capacity, which was formerly in mining – and mining was only ever 8% of truck freight – be picked up by other industries?” Mr Clark says insurance pricing reflects fewer truck movements with the slowdown in the economy, plus improved frequency of accidents. But it is hard to see the downward trend continuing, he says. “We’ve had claims slowing down, that’s flowed through premiums for over 12 months now and it’s reaching that equilibrium point again where we would expect the pricing to be maintained, probably some marginal increases if there is a uptick in the economy.” And the future for truck insurers – any insurers, come to that – will be very interesting indeed. “Like everyone else, we’re focusing on data,” Mr Clark says. “Rather than calling it Big Data, [it is] different ways of collecting and looking at data.” Major transport operations already use telematics quite effectively, he says, but one challenge is how telematics works in the non-fleet area. “Do people want it? Do people want insurers monitoring that? That’s a real question that hasn’t been answered as yet. “As the cost of all of that technology comes down, that will make it more viable, but again, do people want insurers to have that information?” Mr Clark believes new technology is set to make trucks much safer. “Certainly the first step will be warning systems. Second step, active assistance-type technology, third step the vehicle being more in control than the driver, and then moving to the driver being a passive operator. “But there’s a lot of technology needs to happen before you get there. You have the challenges of how the technology can be interfered with, the cost of it. It’s a big call and it will be interesting to see how people react. “We need to understand what our position is in a changing world and how we add value to the customer.”

June/July 2015

Profile for Insurance News (the magazine)

JUN/JUL 2015 - Insurance News (the magazine)  

The latest newcomer to the local insurance market is one that’s got competitors worried. It’s Berkshire Hathaway Speciality Insurance, and o...

JUN/JUL 2015 - Insurance News (the magazine)  

The latest newcomer to the local insurance market is one that’s got competitors worried. It’s Berkshire Hathaway Speciality Insurance, and o...