Gen Y moves in
Gen X, 10 years later: p10 October/November 2019
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Contents 8 From the publisher » 10 Where are they now? »
The workplace has changed. Flexibility is the new normal. Gen X is in charge
24 The more things change… »
After 10 years publishing Insurance News, some key issues stand out from our coverage – with many of them still unresolved
33 Indelible marks »
Three very large and different natural catastrophes – bushfire, quakes and flood – have had significant impacts on insurance in the past 10 years
38 Generation Y »
These new age professionals are tech-savvy, impatient to succeed and quite a lot misunderstood
52 Held to ransom »
How Insurance House survived a cyber attack – and came out the other end stronger
56 Back to the future »
Chief Executive Steve Johnston is reshaping Suncorp’s marketing and relationships
58 Mind the income cover gap »
The gig economy, the sudden retreat of a large player and a hardening market are creating optimism in accident & health
62 Eliminating sexual harassment »
A national inquiry is likely to see insurance play a pivotal role in dealing with the workplace risk factors
68 Separate path »
Ryno Underwriting ready for growth
69 MGA milestone »
Cambodia office celebrates five years
peopleNEWS 69 Mayor attends Adroit office opening » 70 Allianz inspires with broker training days » 73 Industry backs White Owl fundraiser » 74 ARPC hosts seminar, drinks at Parliament House » 76 Resilium ARs have whale of a time » 78 Quill Club supports children’s charity » 81 Sold-out dinner caps off APIG conference » 82 AILA dinner draws a crowd » 84 360Globalnet claims event is all round success » 87 Axa XL marks Bastille Day » 88 UAC holds inaugural western Sydney expo » 90 YIPs Gala Ball a ‘sell-out success’ » 93 MGA hosts conference in grand style » 94 ANZIIF holds glittering awards night » 97 PSC shines at Gold Coast conference » 98 maglog »
66 Winter is coming »
The global economic environment is turning distinctly chilly, but Australia remains insulated
companyNEWS 68 Expertise in hand »
Zurich’s risk app helps brokers and clients
68 Clear connections »
Insurx is taking the pain out of claims
Pictured, clockwise from left: Widya Hasan, Rachel Lilliott, Craig Anderson, Kathryn Considine, Emma Matteson and Jackson McDonald
Credit: Kym Thomson and Joseph Feil
Gen Y moves in
From the publisher 1O YEARS OF INSURANCE NE WS Ten years ago Insurance News mag azine arrived in subscribers’ mai lboxes without much fanfare, 20 after the launch of its online sibli months ng insuranceNEWS.com.au. The cover established what this publication was going to be abou t: Looking at our swiftly-changing through the eyes of the people industry who work in it. We have pretty muc h stuck to that formula for the 59 followed. issues that That first issue highlighted the ascendancy of Generation X (bor n 1964-1979) to management rank ing readers to six successful Gen s, introducXers who were grappling with long hours at work, small children at burning ambition to do many thin hom e and a gs differently. In this issue you will again mee t those six successful people, 10 years older and – for the most comfortable in their work/life part – more balance as they nip at the heel s of the last of the Baby Boomers, the you whom are now in their mid-50s ngest of . Ten years ago we described Gen eration X as “squeezed between the acquisitive Baby Boomers and attention-seeking Generation Y”. the flighty, The cover of this 10th anniversary edition pictures six Gen Ys (bor n 1980-1994) who work in insu profiles will impress you with thei rance. Our r breadth of vision, their confiden ce and their mastery of all things technolo Sixty editions on, we have also gical. looked back at the issues that hav e dominated the past 10 years the articles that you told us influ and some of enced, entertained and intrigue d you. (All past editions of Insu now on the insuranceNEWS.com rance News are .au website, providing a valuable window into the industry’s deve the past 10 years.) lopment over We pledged in that October 2009 start-up edition that our online and print publications would alwa available to whoever wanted to ys be made read them, at no cost. Our surveys show the Insuranc e News publications to be the regi onal industry’s most trusted and sources of news and information accessed . This is a vital fact, because the reve nue to deliver our free publications solely from advertisers – who are, comes logically, seeking the largest targ eted industry audiences. It’s a sym tionship that works. biotic relaOur effectiveness in “breaking” important news stories has reac hed a point where Insurance New as the logical place to find out wha s is now seen t’s happening. Breaking News artic les can attract up to 30,000 read end we are fortunate to have a ers. To that team of seven experienced new s journalists, led by Managing Edit We also recognise that industry or John Deex. issues – especially those involvin g governments and regulators – ten explained in terms that are are all too ofobliquely polite. That can frustrate professionals who feel the indu is being inadequately represen stry’s viewpoint ted. Unlike most “trade” publications , Insurance News does therefor e sometimes venture into com discusses alternative viewpoints mentary that or highlights inconsistencies or, som etimes, plain stupidity. We have of interest to hold us back, and no conflicts we believe some independent plai n-speaking is sometimes exactly to achieve better understanding. wha t’s required Our surveys show that our read ers agree with this approach. So what does Insurance News hav e in mind for the next 10 years? The insurance industry is chan and we will continue to change ging rapidly, with it. We have a list of projects we wan t to develop, each of which we beli eve will enhance our ability to perf main function: building underst orm our anding of the insurance industry and the issues and opportunitie s that shape it. Terry McMullan
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Where are they now? The workplace has changed. Flexibility is the new normal. Gen X is in charge By Terry McMullan
eneration X, people born between 1964 and 1979, today dominate the management ranks of the insurance industry in Australia. While there are still plenty of ageing Baby Boomers (1946-1963), their influence is waning. Ten years ago Insurance News launched its first magazine issue by interviewing six Gen Xs from a variety of positions across the industry. Their lives in 2009 were dominated by hard work and the stresses of dealing with very young families. They were excited by the possibilities of technology, although uncertain how it would change them and their jobs. The Gen X interviewees were also looking forward to moving into the higher ranks of insurance as their Baby Boomer bosses moved out. They saw themselves as more agile and adaptable. Under their leadership, they said, insurance will become more responsive and dynamic in meeting the changing needs of customers. In this 10th anniversary issue of Insurance News we’ve assembled those six individuals again to discuss how their world has changed. All have been successful and all profess to have achieved exactly what they wanted. They’re still keen to change the world and now they see technology as the enabler. What they didn’t expect in 2009 was that technology would also enable Gen X to achieve that seemingly impossible goal – a balance between the pressures of their work and the demands of modern family life. The Baby Boomers, born in the shadow of global war and brought up in a world of enormous possibilities – the Space Race, urbanisation, cheap air travel to name just a few – dominated the insurance industry from the 1970s, sweeping aside a generation that had been raised in the Great Depression and survived World War II. The Boomers didn’t have that cautious concern which caused their elders to transact business slowly and with due regard to tradition. Armed with better educations and a strong (inherited) work ethic, the Baby Boomers were self-assured, competitive, disciplined and goal-oriented. Looking at the world as it is today, Gen X could probably add a few less positive traits for those who came before them. They come from a completely different background, and they are dealing with completely different problems. The term “Generation X” was first used by Canadian author Douglas Copeland to signify the generation’s contradictory nature of “independent but insecure”. The reasons for such contradictions are fairly obvious. Gen Xs are the first generation
GENERATION X October/November 2009
of “latch-key kids”, because their mothers had to work; they paid for their own university education; they started their careers as Australia was struggling through a long-lasting economic recession; they’ve seen large companies collapse (remember HIH?), so they don’t expect their employer to always be around; and they’ve seen even senior managers being declared redundant. Sociologists say these are the sorts of things that have made Gen X more resourceful, resilient, self-sufficient and aware of the wider world than preceding generations. One expert puts it this way: “They value freedom and responsibility in the workplace. Many in this generation display a casual disdain for authority and structured work hours. They dislike being micro-managed and embrace a hands-off management philosophy.” That description fits in well with the comments of the six individuals interviewed on the following pages. There’s a bit more grey showing here and there, but overall they have already changed the workplace to suit their way of doing things. Gone are the days of the hands-on micro-manager. They enjoy workplaces where the flexibility to combine work, social and family life is normal. And unlike their predecessors, they don’t expect to spend the rest of their lives working for the same employer – although a couple of our interview subjects have found success in staying where they started. Gen X has already brought so many improvements to the way people work, so will the rise into management ranks of Gen Y mean everything about insurance will change again? Will they embrace the flexibility of the Gen X workplace but reject business methods that don’t have a technological edge? The Gen Xs were trained by Baby Boomers, and several of our interview subjects sound a little like their mentors when they mention the need to get out from behind the computers, stop relying on emails and communicate with colleagues and customers face-to-face. It’s “old insurance”, but under Gen X the customer is still the ma0 jor focus.
Christine Bell New South Wales State Manager Chubb Australia - Sydney
hristine Bell has packed quite a bit into the past 10 years. When Insurance News interviewed her in 2009 she was national relationship manager at QBE, based in Sydney. After that came “a couple of managerial roles” and then more recently she was QBE’s regional manager for New South Wales/ACT. In February this year she started at Chubb as NSW State Manager. She says her new role offers both challenge and satisfaction. “I’m only six months in at Chubb. It was a tremendous opportunity to join a company that’s on the move and investing in their business locally. “I’m bringing 30 years of experience to an employer who’s on a trajectory of change and expansion, and I have the opportunity to add some value and help shape that. It’s an exciting place to be.” Ms Bell started working in insurance straight out of high school. “Insurance is where all my experience lies, so it’s also my passion.” After all, she says, insurance offers “just so many opportunities and experiences that you can latch on to, so why would you actually want to leave? “Whether it’s over the past 10 years, or even the past 30, it’s provided a lot of scope to develop a career and enjoy myself along the way, without feeling the need to actually ever have to leave.” Ms Bell says technology is changing the industry at an increasingly swift rate. “Sure we had email and mobile phones 10 years ago, but the speed now at which we do business, and that expectation of turnaround, is just on a whole new level. I think that’s added a whole degree of complexity to the way we do business, even though it’s also brought a lot of efficiencies.” But change isn’t all about technology. Ten years ago she was worrying about balancing a demanding job with the upbringing of then-three-year-old James – a role she shares with her husband Michael, a senior manager at another major insurer. “The biggest change I think I’ve seen is how that work/life balance and working flexibility have really come into play – but not just from a female or parent viewpoint. It’s available to everybody.
“I’ve seen a lot of change with employers creating better environments, and a workforce that actually wants to be there because they feel there is balance.” James is now 13, and she and her husband are “probably through some of the harder years. But in saying that, with a child that’s in Year 8 in high school, you still need to be there to help them through what are going to be some really challenging years. And then there’s things like the need to ferry a teenage boy around. “So you still need to juggle. Mike and I have had that routine our entire working careers, to ensure one of us is always there for him. We just manage our workloads to that, and we’ve never had a problem with employers recognising and valuing that.” Ten years ago the issue of long working hours was a preoccupation for all the Gen X interviewees. It still is, but as Ms Bell points out, “technology means I can pretty much work from anywhere”. “It’s easy enough to catch up on work after dinner and check in on emails – just making sure that you’re ready for the next day. So I do think we still work equally as hard as we ever did, but we just go about it differently.” Ms Bell sees the technology boom of the past 20 years boosting Gen X managers’ flexibility and effectiveness above that of the Baby Boomer managers who trained her. “But I do reflect on what I learned from many of the Baby Boomer mentors that I’ve had over the years. “One of the things I admire about them is the way they went about doing business – they never shied away from the fact that relationships are done face-to-face, and they knew the importance of building rapport. “I hope that the Gen Ys and the generations that follow them keep up those traditional methods of talking to someone face-to-face, and making the time to get to know people and 0 not hiding behind emails.”
Stephen Brunker Senior Treaty Account Executive Gen Re - Sydney
einsurance still has Steve Brunker hooked. He’s had plenty to keep him occupied since 2009, not least the Christchurch earthquakes and so many new challenges in the reinsurance sector. On the personal front, two of his three children are now in their mid-teens and the baby boy he was so proud of in 2009 is now pushing 11. Steve still enjoys surfing as often as he can – “it’s still my selfish release from the world” – but these days he risks one of his kids dropping in on him. “And all three are better cricketers than me, even the 10-year-old.” In 2019 he sees a lot more flexibility in the way people work, “and more recognition about how people do work. That’s a massive plus.” He’s still looking after a diverse portfolio of business across Australia and New Zealand for the treaty side of Gen Re. Which means he’s seen plenty of action, because 11 months after that interview the first Christchurch earthquake struck, followed by a series of quakes – including the lethal February 22 disaster – that continued until late December 2011. “Between times we’ve probably had the longest period of economic downturn that I and the people around me have actually ever seen in this working generation. It’s been a really interesting thing to work through.” In that 2009 interview Mr Brunker expressed reservations about the absolute accuracy of disaster modelling, and today “I take nothing away from some really smart companies that do some very good work, but I still think the modelled outcomes do seem to bounce around in terms of what they see as ultimates.” But he does see change on the horizon as technology really bites. “I think we’re only on the very thin edge of the wedge of cutting distribution costs. Is it going to be Linked-In, is it Amazon, is it Google, who’s going to jump into
insurance and change it massively? I don’t know – nobody does – but there’s going to be some big player with a massive database that’s going to interrupt insurance more than we’ve ever seen before.” He says that despite the widespread use of technology to deliver services, “reinsurance is still very much a face to face business – how well you know your customer, the level of due diligence you do with them, knowing their portfolios and in many cases, backing them every year”. And he believes there’s less “falling into insurance” by university graduates than there was when he joined 22 years ago. “Some of the subjects I studied at university steered me into insurance in the first place, but there were so many people who had that moment of ‘falling into it’ rather than seeing it as a long-term career. “I think now there’s genuinely disciplines like science and mathematics where people are intentionally building their career plans on the insurance industry because they’re qualified in disciplines the industry’s looking for.” Like many of his generation, he’s disappointed that the insurance industry is still not recognised for the powerhouse it is, and that the industry does so little to promote itself. “[Community recognition of the industry’s value] is better than it was, but we sadly are still a bit too cautious. I think the [Hayne] royal commission finds us under the shadows of a very difficult moment where we’re probably not too keen to beat our chest about how good we are. “But there are some great things that are being done in the market across reinsurance and insurance – pick your discipline – and I think we’re a little bit too cautious to actually say how well we’re doing.” Mr Brunker welcomes the emergence of Gen Y into management ranks and says they represent a “completely different approach to work and career” from the one he grew up with. “I’m truly astounded by just how clear the Gen Ys are on the direction they want, whereas I think Gen Xs like me were far less confident. We were leaving school in a recession, whereas these guys have arrived among us speaking confidently about their futures. I think that’s really healthy.” He might admire their clarity about their ambitions, but Mr Brunker says that should be balanced by some “old-fashioned hard work and a fair bit of loyalty” to their employer. “You might be amazed by 0 where that takes you.”
Heath Amber Managing Director Millennium Underwriting Agencies - Adelaide
hen Heath Amber was interviewed for the first edition of Insurance News 10 years ago, people mainly used iPhones to make calls and cyber crime was unheard of. These days he’s running a company that, like the iPhone, has expanded in many different directions to meet such emerging risks as cyber crime. Mr Amber moved up from director to Managing Director about seven years ago, and today Millennium is several times larger than it was in 2009. “We interact differently with our customers and our brokers now, and there’s been a lot of change in what they’re seeking and need,” he says. “We’ve grown, our network of brokers has grown, the type of business that we underwrite and our product set have all changed to ensure we’re delivering what’s needed.” His ambition 10 years ago was to grow Millennium into “a truly national firm”, and as the business expanded so did his horizons. “Today we’re truly a national operation, but it doesn’t stop there. “We’ve moved on from seeing ourselves just as an Adelaide-based company – we have to think outside the traditional box when it comes to how our business is going to look in the next 10 years. If you want to talk about security and capacity, you have to be thinking internationally.” Mr Amber retains a strong connection to MGA, the family company his father Allan co-founded, but he admits his experience with Millennium has given him the confidence to think and act more independently. “But some things never change. I still bend my father’s ear, and my brother’s ear, too. The influence of family definitely created opportunities for me as a young man growing up. Now I see that as a strength I’ve built on.” He says the emergence of the Generation X managers in all parts of business over the past 10 years has been “completely positive. People now are savvier, they’re more researched.” And as a result Gen X intermediaries tend to be more knowledgeable than their predecessors. He says
his generation of managers don’t operate under a ‘command and control’ type of culture, unlike the Baby Boomers. “The arrival of technology means it takes many different people to work on projects, and we need to collaborate to move forward. “Insurance is still a traditional industry but it has shifted. It’s far more accessible.” Mr Amber laughs when he’s reminded that 10 years ago he was relying on technology to make him more efficient and give him more time with his wife and baby daughter, while also worrying about the way technology “follows you around”. The answer, it turned out, was to focus on communicating, prioritising and treating family time as sacred. “I’ve got two children now, and that ‘baby daughter’ has just turned 11, so it’s a whole new world of opportunity, challenge, pain, fun and excitement.” His wife Victoria Angove is the Managing Director of one of Australia’s largest winery operations, “so to try and fit all that in with family, her requirements, my requirements…it does take a lot of effort. But we do it.” As for the technology that “follows you around”, he says “it’s becoming ever so more immediate. It takes a lot of discipline to be able to turn it all off.” Today, with Baby Boomers continuing to move out and Gen Ys and Gen Zs moving into the industry, Mr Amber sometimes finds himself in the middle of inter-generational struggles. But he believes each new generation brings something new. “If a culture doesn’t keep up with the changing needs of staff and customers, it’s going to become a very old and outdated business very quickly.” He says Gen Ys moving into insurance should be encouraged to keep learning – not just education in insurance but also business skills that apply across all industries. And his advice to Gen Ys is simple. “I believe strongly in the adage ‘know what you don’t know’ – develop a growth mindset and seek out answers. To achieve that I have a much younger mentor and much older mentor to help guide me. “Customer service hasn’t gone away. I say pick up the phone and talk to people. Keep learning and be patient, because the opportunities will 0 come.”
Nicole Mann Looking for the next opportunity
icole Mann “took the plunge” last year and decided to spend 12 months doing something completely different. An executive manager whose career in insurance has seen her occupy a variety of senior roles, she grabbed an opportunity to work with a charity she had been involved with. As general manager operations of the School for Life Foundation, she was responsible for all operational areas for an organisation that builds schools and cares for more than 1000 children in Uganda. It was a move well outside her comfort zone, but Ms Mann has spent much of her career being challenged to take on new roles and making them work. As she put it in the 2009 interview: “Our generation has the desire and confidence to challenge established mindsets.” Ms Mann found her varied career in insurance had given her the skills she needed to work for the foundation in Australia and Africa. That career – mainly spent with Zurich, Royal & SunAlliance and then Suncorp – has embraced a wide variety of specialist executive management roles. In Suncorp she managed teams in marketing, broker relations, direct and SME distribution, underwriting and claims. In 2017 she moved to Insurance Advisernet as its general manager national partnerships. “It was very interesting to learn how things on the broking side of the world work,” she says. “The dedication the Insurance Advisernet advisers have to their customers and making sure they’re getting great value just blew me away.” Now, her year with the charity completed, Ms Mann is back in town and looking around for her next insurance role. “Insurance is my first love. The opportunities I’ve been given to change roles, learn new things, meet new people and travel to interesting places has been fantastic. At the core of it you’re helping businesses or helping people in their time of need.” She says that over the past 10 years the insurance industry has become “better and stronger” at focusing on such positives as understanding the customer and providing more responsive products and services that are genuinely needed and valued by customers. “But just as important is the need to provide people leadership and make sure that amongst all of this change we are also addressing critical areas like skills, capability, knowledge – things that empower our people and enhance our professionalism.
“Because if you’re not trained and equipped to capitalise on the huge amount of change going on, at the end of the day we’re not going to be in a position to deliver.” Ms Mann believes the industry does have a more positive profile in the community than it did 10 years ago, thanks to a growing realisation of the role it plays in disaster recovery and personal injury. “You’re always going to get people ringing A Current Affair and whatnot after a big event, but I think in general terms, the way in which insurance helps businesses and people recover and get back on their feet is better understood now.” Reminded that 10 years ago she admitted in her interview with Insurance News that she could “sometimes concentrate on my work to the detriment of my… family and friends”, Ms Mann laughs. “I’ve learned a few important lessons along the way. Work/life balance matters a lot. It’s important for me that my life isn’t all about work, in that your interests and friends and family actually make you a more rounded individual – someone who I think is better and more productive in the workplace.” Asked if she sees differences in the ways her generation manages people, she says the fundamentals of leadership don’t change that much from generation to generation. “Any leader has a responsibility – whether it’s a Baby Boomer or a Gen X or a Gen Y – to figure out how best to motivate all individuals in your team and work to empower your people so that they can be the best that they can be. That’s always been a key focus for strong leaders, and it will continue to be. “I think it’s critical to have a great culture and work environment where people are supported, empowered, trained and made confident and capable of executing the overall strategy and vision of the organisation.” She doesn’t mean to make a statement that might be mistaken for a job interview spruiker, but Ms Mann adds she’s passionate about working with people, and now she just wants to get back to doing just that. “The next 10 years are going to see some amazing people coming into insurance, bringing new skills and new ways of looking at things,” she says. “I want to be there to help take what they bring and combine it with the established skills that insurance needs to deliver to the customer. 0 I can’t wait.”
Vivek Bhatia Chief Executive, Australian and New Zealand Operations QBE - Sydney
hen we interviewed Vivek Bhatia in 2009 he was the chief executive of Lumley Insurance, a company that is now a memory. Mr Bhatia, however, has continued onward and upward through a string of top-level roles. He was chief executive of Wesfarmers Insurance, and then had a stint at McKinsey’s in its restructuring & transformation practice – a particular passion; then he was a leading player in bringing together all the New South Wales Government’s insurance and care schemes to form icare. He shaped and managed this $32 billion insurance behemoth until early last year, when QBE came calling. “I learned about insurance from QBE,” he says, referring to his five-year stint as its head of IT, strategy, governance and program delivery from 2003 to the end of 2007. “The opportunity to come back and do a role like this within the organisation that taught me everything about insurance was absolutely compelling. “Nevertheless, the offer left me in an extremely difficult position at icare, which had kind of become my baby.” Mr Bhatia says his chairman and the ministers he had worked with to put icare together were “very understanding”. Now that he’s back in the insurance mainstream, he sees changes have happened in the insurance business, but not as much as he’d hoped. “I think if you look under the surface you will find we still have a way to go in truly embracing everything that’s happening in other sectors of the world with technology and innovation, with automation, artificial intelligence, with the huge amount of data that has now become suddenly available for people to do things with…” Nevertheless, he says the level of professionalism in insurance has risen considerably, with more graduates, knowledge and expertise available to bring to bear on opportunities and issues. “One thing that I think has happened is that we are now attracting more qualified people, different people from different backgrounds and specialties, into the sector, but I also think that
again we are only at the cusp of what we could do at scale.” So does this greater level of expertise and professionalism translate into a more positive public profile for insurance? “No.” Ten years ago Mr Bhatia had two small children who are now 15 and 13, and back then he was already worrying about long working hours and their effect on not only him but also his employees and their families. He says that today he has had “varying degrees of success in getting the balance right. I am very, very proud that I’ve got a hugely strong bond with my kids, and they have been extremely understanding of what my professional demands are. “But at the same time I have made sure that I am always there for them in all the most important moments, and also as much as I can in the everyday moments. And I ensure that when I am with them that I am present.” But while the demands of elderly parents – Mr Bhatia is an only child – or kids or work “can be kind of all-encompassing”, he says he is “hugely at peace with the harmony and balance that I have established between all those different components”. This includes finding time for himself as an individual. “I have a bunch of school friends I grew up with who I keep in touch with, which is incredibly grounding, and I have a great bunch of friends locally as well.” As Mr Bhatia sees more Gen Ys entering the workforce, how would he advise them to shape their careers? “I would say be open to all opportunities, because all of them provide some learning. “Don’t be impatient, and really work hard on perseverance and resilience, because I think those are hugely important attributes for a long career. “There isn’t much point in having a job without having fun, and the last thing is, think broader. “Don’t just think about yourself or the area of the organisation you work in, think about the enterprise, think about the sector, think about the community. “Because the people who truly leave a legacy are the people who make a broader impact on 0 our everyday lives.”
Peter Roberts State Manager Queensland Vero - Brisbane
unny how careers sometimes loop back on themselves. Peter Roberts was a teenager in the 1980s when his father suggested he get a job in insurance, which became a 16-year stint with Suncorp before he turned to broking in 2001. Four years later he set up the highly successful Brisbane brokerage Assurity with Mark Fewings, which they sold to Insurance House in December 2015. After a brief period working with Insurance House in Brisbane Mr Roberts moved back across the street as the Queensland State Manager for Suncorp-owned insurer Vero. “I did my apprenticeship with Suncorp, so I was excited to make the move,” he says. “As a broker I’d really liked the Vero brand, and I hoped I could bring something different to the organisation because I could understand a broker’s perspective. “I do relate to a lot of the brokers’ concerns, because I’ve experienced them as well. So I can advocate internally on their behalf.” As a broker Mr Roberts was active with the National Insurance Brokers Association (NIBA), which brought him into contact with some of Queensland’s brightest young brokers through the selection process for the Warren Tickle Award. Ironically, it’s sponsored by Vero, so he’s still involved. “I’m really at ease with the quality of the younger people that are coming through, especially in regards to their degree of professionalism. “The only question mark for me is, how are they adapting to the hard market? Although I guess I could say that’s affecting every broker, anyway. I have kind of a gut feel that they’re probably under a lot more pressure than they would have ever experienced before.” Having experienced the industry’s performance highs and lows from more than one perspective, does Mr Roberts think people hold the industry in higher regard than
they did 10 years ago? His answer is an unequivocal no. “I think the industry undersells the great work it does. There were some rare situations where we could have done better that came up in the royal commission. But then, when we do well – which is most of the time – there’s a lot of goodwill comes back to us. “When people need us we respond very well by doing what we’ve always done, but we’re not telling people about that enough.” When Mr Roberts was interviewed in 2009, he defined his work/life balance as “quality time more than quantity time”. His oldest child is now in the third year of a physiotherapy degree, and the other two are in their mid-teens. For their “very proud” dad, that whole balance thing still causes him angst. “I think that’s just a struggle for everybody. Am I doing enough at home, am I doing enough at work? Am I doing enough for myself? “You try to be there for your kids as much as you can. I’ll always be there when they need me, but you always wonder whether you’re doing enough. It’s just a struggle all the time – it’s something that’s always on my mind.” In terms of work, he’s very happy in his present job but admits that sometime in the future he could see himself taking on more responsibility. “Where that may be and if it ever comes about, I don’t know. There’s always the intermediary space too, of course. But I’m also happy doing what I’m doing.” Mr Roberts sees plenty of change coming for brokers and insurers over the next 10 years as the Gen Ys like his own children enter employment. How would he advise them on ways to succeed in insurance? “I said to you 10 years ago that it’s important not to be afraid to get your hands dirty, and do the job till the job gets finished. “I would tell them the industry has been great for me for over 30 years. It can provide a fantastic future, a real global career if you want it. But it comes at the cost of hard work, which at the end of the day I would suggest is not the worst thing in 0 the world that can happen to you.”
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The more things change… After 10 years publishing Insurance News, some key issues stand out from our coverage – with many of them still unresolved
Holding back the tide
f there’s one issue that’s caused consumers more grief than any other over the past 50 years, it’s flood cover. To this day, despite all the reforms and all the awareness-raising, some people still struggle to get their heads around it. Prior to the devastating 2011 Brisbane floods, the industry’s attitude to flood insurance was, at best, fragmented. A few insurers offered flood cover, but the definitions of flood they used were varied and confusing. Some major insurers were adamant flood was unpredictable and therefore uninsurable. After the Brisbane catastrophe, homeowners who hadn’t taken out the crucial cover were held up by the mainstream press as victims. So vast was the devastation and so inadequate the industry’s response that Federal Assistant Treasurer Bill Shorten stepped in, setting a 2012 deadline for the industry to agree on a standard definition of flood. In an exclusive interview with Insurance News in April 2011, Mr Shorten said the industry must “use its wit and inPushing for change: Bill Shorten telligence” to address flood forced the flood agenda
insurance issues, and warned the standard definition “is only a first step”. Headlines in the August 2011 edition showed there was still plenty of debate: “Governments told: you failed, not us”; “Insurance in the flood equation”; “The greatest flood risk of all”; “Better than flood mapping”. Flood mapping was, in fact, a great solution. ICA wrangled recalcitrant state governments and local councils to share their flood data, and developed a database to assist with flood risk calculations where there was inadequate information. Insurers now have in-depth information on individual properties’ flood risk. The standard definition of flood that insurers eventually agreed to is: “The covering of normally dry land by water that has escaped or been released from the normal confines of any lake, river, creek or other natural watercourse, whether or not altered or modified, or any reservoir, canal or dam.” Crucially it is distinct from damage caused by rainwater – either from above or as run-off. Unlike pre-2011, the most common approach now is for personal lines insurers to include flood cover as standard and give customers the ability to opt-out. About 94% of home and contents policies across Australia now include flood cover. There is no obligation to provide it, but if it’s not included then the policyholder must be made aware of the fact. So is flood cover no longer a problem? Not quite. Following the record-breaking floods in Townsville in February this year,
most claims disputes centred on…flood cover. The main issue surrounded commercial policies, which still generally omit flood, with the insured having to opt in. In a flood-prone city like Townsville, this can be expensive. Local politicians leapt to the defence of those told they weren’t covered, arguing insurers were using “fine print” and “loopholes” to wriggle out of claims. Unfair, but damaging to the industry nonetheless. There can also be disagreements where a property is flooded by both flood and rain water. Expert hydrologists are brought in to assess what damage was caused by what type of water – and insureds don’t always like the decision. Then there is the assessment of risk in our changing environment. Some homes or businesses once considered low risk may no longer be so, and flood mapping used by insurers is not always up to date. So flood cover continues to take up significant amounts of dispute resolution teams’ time – and pages in Insurance News. We’ve come a long way since 2011, but the waters are still murky enough to create confusion and suspicion at claims time. And the only real sure-fire solution is mitigation. “The floodwaters have gone now,” our Note from the Publisher in August 2011 said. “They’ll be back one day, unless governments get the message and start spending the money they should to build decent defences.” 0 They still haven’t got the message.
AAP Townsville under water: many parts of Australia remain vulnerable to natural catastrophes
Talking in circles #1: mitigation and the north
nsurance should be available and affordable for everyone that needs it, but increasingly it’s not. The cyclone-threatened north of Australia has seen some residents and businesses hit by significant premium increases since Insurance News launched 10 years ago, with annual premiums as high as $20,000 reported for homes in at-risk areas. Our changing climate, coupled with ever more granular address-level pricing, has exacerbated the problem, and it needs a solution. This issue has been talked about and reported on for more than a decade, but remarkably the main actors – governments – are still just commissioning more and more research that is doomed to go over the same ground. The insurance industry’s position has been clear and consistent from the start – bar a few outliers. It says that increasing spending on mitigation projects is the only way to sustainably reduce the risk and reduce premiums. Forget reinsurance pools, mutuals or direct government subsidies. As numerous Insurance News articles and a Federal Government taskforce have already pointed out, such alternatives will just shift the burden, skew the market, and worse still, encourage further development in high-risk areas. Insurers have tried to do their bit, introducing schemes to enable homeowners to cut premiums by carrying out mitigation measures on their own homes. But it’s larger-scale public mitigation projects that would make the real difference – and for the most part we’re still waiting. The Productivity Commission
recommended increasing Federal Government mitigation spending to $200 million per year – matched by the states – way back in 2014. It took Canberra another two years to decide that it “does not propose to pursue these recommendations at this stage”. Instead it launched the Northern Australia Insurance Premiums Taskforce, which reported in March 2016 that the best way forward was indeed mitigation. Later that year, a Senate inquiry into general insurance was launched, concluding much the same thing. The Government took until December 2017 to respond to both reports, when it accepted mitigation was “the only way to reduce premiums on a sustainable basis”. But if this sounds like good news, don’t be fooled. Almost incomprehensibly, earlier that year yet another inquiry had been launched, this time led by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). Frustratingly this was to be a three-year affair, with a final report scheduled for November 30 next year. Cynics might conclude that by commissioning inquiry after inquiry, successive governments give the impression of taking the issue seriously while indefinitely postponing difficult decisions. The Insurance Council of Australia could barely contain its annoyance when the ACCC probe was unveiled. While it pledged to “fully co-operate”, it pointedly reminded the Federal Government that it had “already spent tens of millions of dollars on numerous reports into insurance in northern Australia”. ICA also noted that the independent Australian Government Actuary had issued
three reports into insurance in northern Australia, and concluded insurers were pricing appropriately. But the ACCC inquiry, and the debate, rumbles on. Old ideas once rejected, are dusted off, considered, and rejected again. And all the while communities suffer when catastrophes strike, governments continue to spend far more on recovery than they would need to invest in resilience, and insurers continue to raise premiums to match the cost of the risk. Perhaps, however, there is hope on the horizon. The industry recently gained an unlikely ally in the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, which raised eyebrows with an uncharacteristically forthright call for increased mitigation spending. “Hundreds of millions of dollars each year are spent on disaster funding but about 97% goes towards clean-up and recovery, with only 3% directed to mitigation and prevention,” Executive Board Member Geoff Summerhayes said. “Addressing this imbalance will save money in the long-term by reducing the physical loss and economic disruption caused by storms, floods, cyclones and bushfires.” Music to the industry’s ears, after so many knock-backs over so many years. Insurance News magazine highlighted the “case for resilience” in October 2013, quoting ICA’s Karl Sullivan as saying, “We’ve been pushing since 2006”. Some 13 years later the insurance industry is still pushing. But now more are pushing with them, raising hopes that perhaps a mitigation breakthrough might 0 happen one day.
Talking in circles #2: insurance taxes
ince the very first edition of Insurance News magazine, the industry has been campaigning against insurance taxes. Review after review has recommended their abolition and everyone agrees they’re inefficient and contribute to underinsurance. Yet they survive in one form or another, everywhere except the ACT. An article in our first issue 10 years ago zeroed in on Victoria’s infamous fire services levy, following the tragic Black Saturday bushfires. Successive state governments had refused to engage on the issue while constantly raising the amount levied on the industry to fund the state’s fire services. It made insurance expensive – and if you didn’t insure you weren’t paying the levy. A royal commission investigating the bushfires recommended a levy system based on council rates, and the Victorian Government – much to everyone’s amazement – agreed. However, a similar reform in New South Wales was scrapped at the last minute in 2017, leaving a furious insurance industry facing costs of $40 million. NSW
is now the only mainland state to levy the industry for its emergency services. The Insurance Council of Australia says the tax component of home and contents premiums in NSW is now more than 50%. And for commercial policies it’s even higher – GST, state stamp duties and the levy account for 60-70% of the premium. Stamp duty on insurance policies is charged by all state and territory governments except the Australian Capital Territory. The stamp duty is charged after GST, to maximise the tax. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission inquiry into insurance affordability in northern Australia has recommended abolishing stamp duty on home, contents and strata insurance in the region. But this can be no real cause for celebration – so many previous reviews have done the same. To name just a selection so far: the Henry Tax Review, the NSW Independent Pricing & Regulatory Tribunal Review into State Taxation, the Victorian Royal Commission into the 2009 Bushfires Royal
Taxing issue: Insurance News highlighted insurance taxes from its first edition
Commission; the NSW Government 2012 review into funding of emergency services, the ACT Review of Taxation, the GST Distribution Review and various Productivity Commission reports. The arguments against insurance taxes are accepted, so why are they still here? As Insurance News has reported many times over the past 10 years, much of the problem is based around the states’ reluctance to give up a massive revenue-raiser that hardly anyone notices. And so taxes on insurance continue, 0 with no end in sight.
Broker fees vs commission
ince the Hayne royal commission, the remuneration of general insurance brokers has become a hot button issue. As the ugly truths surrounding the sale of add-on insurance through motor dealerships and the conflicts evident in some financial adviser arrangements were revealed, the industry waited with trepidation to see whether the royal commissioner’s final report would recommend a blanket ban on commissions, also known as conflicted remuneration. The National Insurance Brokers Association (NIBA) warned such a move would “decimate” the industry, arguing that with commissions broadly consistent there is no selfish incentive for brokers to go with one insurer or another. Brokers work for the client and place cover according to their needs. And what’s more, the proposed solution could make matters worse if clients baulk at paying a fee and are deprived of expert insurance advice as a result. Meanwhile, consumer groups were
baying for blood, promoting the view that conflicted remuneration is the “root cause” of many evils exposed at the royal commission, and there is no reason to allow insurance brokers a free pass. As it turns out, any decision on the issue was delayed, with a further review scheduled for three years’ time. So, the arguments will go on – as they have for years, possibly decades. In just the second edition of Insurance News, in December 2009, an article noted the “historic” decision by the Financial Planning Association board to amend its remuneration policy in favour of a fee-based structure and asked: “Should insurance brokers follow suit?” NIBA’s then-chief executive Noel Pettersen said no, noting that “Australian insurance brokers have high ethical standards and serve their clients well”. Just two editions later, however, Insurance News carried an article from veteran broker Terry Mills saying “the likelihood is that commission payments are on their way out”.
In June 2010 another article outlined how general insurance commissions would be examined as part of the Future of Financial Advice (FOFA) reforms. Mr Pettersen again argued that general insurance should be ring-fenced, and ICA joined the fight. “Commissions on general insurance policies that are renewed annually are more akin to a fee for service, with minimal scope for conflicts of interest,” it said. A ban on conflicted remuneration was introduced, in Section 963A of the Corporations Act, following the FOFA reforms in 2012. But some carve-outs were allowed – with one key exemption relating to general insurance products. This remains the case today, and so the arguments continue. Mr Mills says in his 2010 article that the “ongoing debate on whether insurance brokers should accept commissions…has had currency for at least 50 years and probably a lot longer.” Hopefully the industry can gain some certainty before another 50 years roll by. 0
Burning issue: Insurance News flagged high-rise building risk with award-winning coverage in 2013
Building a case
here’s widespread recognition now that Australia has a huge problem with building defects, especially in high-rise apartments. But it hasn’t always been that way. It took London’s Grenfell Tower tragedy to push the issue of flammable cladding into the mainstream, and strong action from the insurance industry to finally stop governments from sweeping the issue under the carpet. Insurance News was flagging the dangers as early as June 2013. Our article titled “Hot on a high-rise issue” highlighted the concerns of international fire safety expert Jonathan Barnett. He warned about a lack of data, training, maintenance and enforcement in the sector, eerily predicting that we could be due a major disaster. “It wouldn’t surprise me,” he said. The article won a national Engineers Australia journalism award, with judges
praising the article as “a serious warning to Australian regulatory authorities, particularly in relation to high-rise buildings”. In October that same year Insurance News ran a piece about the increasing use of flammable cladding (complete with explainer graphic) and its associated risks. Experts warned that the insulating core contained between the two aluminium sheets could melt during a fire, akin to “someone pouring petrol on your property”. A year later, in November 2014, Australia narrowly avoided the disaster Dr Barnett feared, as fire raced up cladding on the Lacrosse building in Melbourne’s Docklands. Thanks to favourable weather and a well-functioning sprinkler system, nobody died that night, but it was a lucky escape. In August 2015, Insurance News spoke to a range of experts about the blaze, the extent of such cladding, and the dangers it posed. The insurance industry was under pressure to take a stand by declining coverage
and forcing action on the issue. But the Insurance Council of Australia didn’t want to engage at that time. Then came the game-changer – the horrors of London’s Grenfell Tower tragedy in June 2017, which led to the deaths of 72 people. Fire swept up the building’s recently installed flammable cladding exterior, trapping helpless residents inside. Despite taking place half a world away, the repercussions were felt in Australia, and authorities were forced to act. The Building Ministers’ Forum commissioned a study by Western Sydney University Chancellor Peter Shergold and experienced lawyer Bronwyn Weir. Their report on Australia’s compliance and enforcement systems for the building and construction industry delivered a damning verdict in May 2018. It highlighted a range of “significant and concerning” issues including non-compliant cladding, water ingress, unsound roofs and poorly constructed fire-resisting elements. And then…nothing happened. Not, at least, until the insurance industry entered the fray to play a crucial role. Such was the level of risk and the state of the market that insurers began walking away from, or adding exclusions to, professional indemnity cover for surveyors and certifiers. This in turn sparked fears that the construction industry could grind to a shuddering halt, and suddenly the ministers wanted to listen. The last Building Ministers Forum in July this year agreed to a co-ordinated national response, and to take up all 24 suggestions in the Shergold-Weir report – more than a year after its release. But, as the insurance industry was keen to point out, promises change nothing and only concerted action will solve the problem and bring insurers back to the table. While progress is being made, the full extent of the issue is still unknown, and it seems likely to feature in the pages of 0 Insurance News for years to come.
Greatest challenge: insurers could be exposed by climate change
Same message on changing climate
cientists have been warning for decades about the impact of carbon emissions on our planet and its climate. And Insurance News was quick to highlight the issue as a key challenge for the insurance industry, as global warming was predicted to ramp up the severity and frequency of many extreme weather events. “Looking over the precipice”, warned a headline in just our second edition back in December 2009, followed by an explainer piece six months later on “why understanding climate change is vital”. However, the response from the local insurance industry a decade ago was underwhelming to say the least. While international reinsurers were taking a lead in the debate, Australian insurers were happy to stay in the back seat. There was concern over weather events and how to mitigate damage, but the industry wasn’t about to take a strong position on how climate change would play out or what should be done about it. Former Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) president Andy Cornish sought to change tack, with strong opening comments at the group’s 2016 Annual Forum. “And I think we can use the words climate change now,” he said, flagging a panel on the issue taking place at the event. He warned Australia is more exposed
than other nations to the threat but noted “the insurance industry here has not been very vocal”. In the years since that forum the industry has found its voice. Earlier this year ICA launched a climate change website, which includes a public statement. No deniers here – members “accept the international scientific consensus presented by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change”. “The earth’s mean surface temperature is increasing and it is extremely likely the dominant cause of the observed warming is the effect of human activity on the climate system,” the statement continues. “Climate change is occurring along a rapid and severe pathway, and without intervention it presents a serious risk to environments, economies and communities worldwide.” ICA has also launched a Climate Change Action Committee to help the industry “embed climate change issues and insights into decision making”. The committee will “work with stakeholders to raise awareness of climate change” and “work with governments, regulators and other key stakeholders to promote action on climate change and other environmental issues”.
The most senior executives at Australia’s biggest insurers now speak openly about the climate change threat, and commitments have been made on reducing underwriting and investment exposure to thermal coal. But many believe the industry must do more. Campaigners are demanding action on oil and gas too, and an as yet unnamed company is providing cover for the controversial Adani mine in Queensland, without which it could not operate. There is also frustration over the insurance industry’s reluctance to lobby governments on the underlying causes of climate change. “We need to talk about emissions”, urged a headline in the previous edition of Insurance News. But the industry’s reaction seems to be fragmented, with ICA judged as reluctant to enter the fray and risk upsetting key politicians and, possibly, member companies. The industry may have become more vocal in recent years, but it’s still not loud enough for those wanting to see a greater sense of urgency. To quote 16-year-old Swedish environmental campaigner Greta Thunberg: “For more than 30 years, the science has been crystal clear. How dare you 0 continue to look away.”
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Embracing change: digital disruption is far from over
sk anyone what the big issue will be for insurance over the next decade and most will reply “technology”. And it’s been that way for a while. One of the early issues of Insurance News in 2010 featured a cover photo of an Apple iPhone and a story inside about “unexplored territory”. The iPhone was first launched in Australia in 2008 and it was soon clear the enthusiastic uptake of mobile technology would have profound implications. A decade later and discussions continue about the need for insurers to make it easier for customers to transact business through their mobile devices, while the impact of digital technologies is opening up new horizons. The most recent Insurance News magazine flagged the transformation that will be caused by 5G technology, which will allow decentralised seamless interconnectivity between many more devices. Automated cars are being trialled and the Internet of Things (IoT) has implications for everything from fridges to home security systems to complex industrial processes. Computing power and the explosion of data is driving greater use of artificial intelligence that can speed decision-making and processes, while alongside that has been the rise of the algorithm and questions about what biases may lurk within. Around a decade ago another new technology was also in its infancy, as the creation of the bitcoin
cryptocurrency led to the emergence of blockchain. Various projects are underway to test application of the technology, which offers transparency, speed and security through the insurance process. All the increased connectivity has also seen the rise of cyber risks which for insurers represents both a worry and a business opportunity that barely existed 10 years ago. Cyber attacks can cripple business operations while regulators are getting tougher on privacy breaches, stepping up the reputational ramifications if systems are infiltrated. The pace of change has been confronting for an industry that continues to battle antiquated IT systems and sometimes user-unfriendly technology. Many firms are looking outside their own walls to insurtechs for fresh ideas, while start-ups are offering innovative ways of approaching existing problems. PwC’s biennial Banana Skins survey this year ranked technology as the issue that most worried insurers, the first time it has held top spot since the survey began in 2007. Cyber risk took second place followed by change management. One certainty is that technologies on the horizon today are simply opening the door for more far-reaching changes, and the insurance industry will need to keep up, if not aspire to take a lead. That iPhone on the cover almost a decade ago is al0 ready looking more than a little dated.
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WINLEY: THE STRANGEST STORY WE EVER TOLD Insurance News reported the matter in its online news, sparking consternation among major insurers who weren’t aware until then that they had been dudded of millions of dollars. Not only did they lose the money, but premiums paid to the broker are deemed to have been paid to the insurer. The Godwins set up Winley in July Strangest story: Insurance News exposes the background to the Winley fiasco 2009 with local broker Jeff Bailey, who inley Insurance Group was a small became its managing director and an AR. and unremarkable authorised (Mr Bailey was permanently banned from representative broking compathe financial services industry in 2017.) ny based in Perth, with about 47 ARs. In The collapse of the company was a shortFebruary or March 2016 – no one seems to lived blip in the industry. Other AR compaknow for sure – two of its directors cleaned nies complained about the company’s lax out the company’s broker account and fled controls and insurers fumed, but the furor the country. soon died down. For Insurance News, it was a story that However, a few months later the Winley started out as a bit unusual and became story took on new life. more and more bizarre as it developed. Insurance News spoke to a Los Angeles There has never been a story quite like it. resident who was one of up to 70 people who In early April Insurance News became had worked for the Godwins in Los Angeles aware Winley was in trouble and was being for much of the previous year on setting offered for sale around other broker groups up the publicity and support facilities for a in Perth. stunt involving an unnamed “challenger” A bit of digging revealed that directors who would jump from an aircraft in the Chandanie and Steve Godwin, who were stratosphere without oxygen or a parachute United States citizens, had emptied the comto raise money for a charity. pany’s broker trust fund of at least $8.68 milThe plan was that viewers around lion and couldn’t be found. the world would pay to vote for various
“lifelines” as he fell towards “shark-infested” waters. At each stage people would pay online to give the man a parachute – if enough money was pledged. The publicity blurb made it clear that billions of dollars was expected to be raised. The stunt was planned for March 2016, around the time when the Godwins emptied the Winley account. But it was shelved in late December 2015, with the promotional website closed down in early January and the workers paid off. The Los Angeles source – who worked and often stayed in one of two mansions the Godwins owned – said “a lot of money was getting thrown around” in 2015. “Chandanie and Steve were very, very secretive,” he said. “Taking pictures of them was absolutely banned. She was really no-nonsense. She did all the talking. It was a real command-and-control situation. “Steve would walk around wearing a hoodie. He never talked to anyone.” The source also said the Godwins would disappear for long periods during the seven months of employment. In Perth, people noted that the couple travelled often, with Steve talking about owning companies in the US. Today, more than three years later, the story of Winley, the Godwins and the Death Challenge remains the oddest story the Insurance News editorial team has ever encountered. And where are the Godwins today? They live completely off the internet – which isn’t easy – and for all we know are enjoying the high life in LA from funds stolen from insurers via a small AR company on the oth0 er side of the world.
The little insurer that couldn’t In August 2016 Insurance News published an article which had involved two years of research covering Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom and the Dutch Antilles in the Caribbean. Researched and written by Insurance News senior reporter John Wilkinson, the article uncovered the curious story of Western Pacific Insurance, a small New Zealand-based insurer that collapsed in April 2011 under the weight of claims from earthquake-ravaged Christchurch. Western Pacific incurred earthquake-related claims of $64.8 million, on a reinsurance shortfall of $NZ31 million. What wasn’t realised until much later was that the insurer was carrying billions of dollars of under-secured cover for Australian public liability risks. The central figure in the Insurance News investigation was Jeffrey McNally, a Melbourne-based broker with an
established business in Hong Kong, contacts across Asia and a history that included a couple of prior scrapes with the Australian regulators. Western Pacific was Mr McNally’s most ambitious project. When it fell over, the insurer was found to be carrying a total sum insured of $NZ2.3 billion. Added to that was a total of $NZ7.7 billion in public liability written globally. Australian public liability policies alone covered risks of $5.4 billion. Australia was the insurer’s largest revenue base. The 2006/07 accounts showed Australian business contributing $NZ8.6 million in revenue, compared with just $NZ718,669 earned locally. But it was the smaller New Zealand business that did Western Pacific in. The 2011 Christchurch earthquakes exposed the company for what it was – a shell insurer selling cheap insurance policies and gambling
on the likelihood of never having to pay out large sums in claims – and certainly not at one time. The collapse of Western Pacific was an embarrassment to the regulators in Australia and New Zealand, which may account for the fact that no one connected with the company has ever been charged for running an insurance company without adequate levels of reinsurance. Neither the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority nor the Australian Securities and Investments Commission has ever mounted an investigation into the company and its extensive reach into the Australian insurance market. 0
Indelible marks Three very large and different natural catastrophes – bushfire, quakes and flood – have had significant impacts on insurance in the past 10 years By Bernice Han
ushfires, cyclones, floods, earthquakes, hailstorms…some or all of these are part and parcel of living in Australia and New Zealand. The damage is done, the insurers move in, followed swiftly by builders and repairers,
and eventually a natural disaster fades from public consciousness, a page in local history. But there are exceptions, where the scale of devastation is so great the natural disaster and its aftermath remain etched in the
minds of the public at large. And for the insurance industry, the personal and financial impacts from major catastrophes are far-reaching. Here are three that stood out over the past 10 years:
Black Saturday 2009
he bushfires catastrophe in Victoria did what insurers could not do: it forced the state to bin its contentious fire services levy (FSL) on insurance. The Black Saturday fires started on February 7 amid baking conditions. Hot winds pushed about 400 bushfires across the state, killing 173 people and destroying 2029 homes. Insured losses reached $1.07 billion. In 2017 dollars that’s $1.76 billion, according to the Insurance Council of Australia. In July 2013, a property-based funding model was finally introduced in place
Reaction to tragedy: early editions of Insurance News focused on lessons from Black Saturday
of the levy, three years after the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission wrapped up its investigation of the disaster. The levy reform was one of 67 suggestions the royal commission submitted in its final report in 2010, and the one with possibly the most significant impact on the insurance industry. The royal commission had prepared a discussion paper on insurance and the FSL to gauge community and industry opinion. Until that policy u-turn, successive Victorian governments had resisted – in most cases ignored – calls for changes to the unfair collection of fire services funds through insurance premiums. The Insurance Council of Australia and National Insurance Brokers Association lobbied strongly against the levy system, and the subject was one that Insurance News adopted as an issue that needed to be understood and resisted. But the industry wasn’t alone in waging a losing battle against the levy. Several official and industry-commissioned reports pushed for the elimination or reduction of all taxes on insurance. For successive state governments, the levy collection system was a policy that could safely rely on bipartisan support. The Victorian levy provided 75% of Melbourne’s Metropolitan Fire Brigade budget and 77.5% of the cost of the Country Fire Authority. The FSL, combined with the effects of stamp duty and GST, pushed up the cost of a basic household insurance premium in country Victoria by more than 50%. The
penalty on commercial covers was much higher, with premiums up by more than 100%. For country businesses the total taxes and charges could run up to 123% of the basic premium when GST and stamp duty were applied. Not surprisingly, the royal commission rejected state government assertions that the insurance levy-based model provided a good arrangement of linking the charge for fire services to the risk properties individually faced. “Evidence suggests…that this link is at best tenuous,” the royal commission noted in its final report. “Fundamentally, the commission considers that the current funding model lacks transparency and is inequitable since people who are not insured or are under-insured do not make a fair contribution to the funding of fire services.” It was the first time the Victorian Government had been faced with a challenge to the levy system that couldn’t easily be ignored or swept aside. Too many people had died on Black Saturday, too many homes and businesses had been lost. How could those who had under-insured or not insured at all as a result of high premiums afford to rebuild? A disaster that revealed so clearly the shortcomings of the insurance-based levy system effectively sounded the death knell for the Victorian FSL. It remains highly doubtful to this day that the state would ever have mustered the political will to push through the reforms had 0 there not been a Black Saturday.
Canterbury earthquakes 2010/2011
early 10 years after the Canterbury earthquakes, New Zealand is still counting the cost of the most expensive and damaging natural disaster in its history. And so is the insurance industry. The four major quakes and 11,200-plus aftershocks that jolted Christchurch and the surrounding towns between September 2010 and the end of 2011 produced staggering losses of more than $NZ31 billion. The insurance industry paid out more than $NZ21.5 billion, and the government-owned Earthquake Commission (EQC) another $NZ10 billion. And the payouts continue as insurers work to finish outstanding claims. Private insurers, according to the Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ), would take about 40 years to pay off the bill at current premium rates. The Christchurch earthquakes also demonstrated the fragility of some New Zealand insurers. Christchurch-based mutual insurer AMI, which carried a disproportionately large number of Christchurch risks, sank under the weight of claims. The New Zealand Government contemplated giving the company up to $NZ1 billion to avoid the chaos of a collapse, and eventually agreed to a $NZ500 million support deed. But AMI’s losses still exceeded its regulatory capital requirement, so AMI was sold – not without protests – to IAG for $NZ380 million. But IAG would not take on AMI’s earthquake liabilities, so the Government
set up a company called Southern Response to deal with the Christchurch claims. Western Pacific Insurance, a small insurer with inadequate reinsurance, collapsed in April 2011 under the weight of its Christchurch claims. Its directors sought government support to stay afloat but were rebuffed. At the time of its collapse, the only significant asset Western Pacific had to compensate quake claimants was the $NZ32.19 million it held in reinsurance. The New Zealand Government has since injected massive capital support running into the hundreds of millions to settle quake liabilities. Tower, the only listed pure-play New Zealand insurer, described itself in 2017 as a “canary in the coalmine” for problems facing the industry in the wake of the earthquakes. Last year the insurer moved to riskbased pricing across the country to more accurately price cover at specific property locations. The seismic aftershocks from the Christchurch earthquakes continue to play out. In June this year an insurance tribunal with $NZ3.39 million in funding was created to resolve outstanding claims. Justice Minister Andrew Little says the tribunal will be a circuit-breaker for homeowners trapped in disputes over their claims. An inquiry into how the EQC can better manage claims and improve its response to natural disasters is expected to deliver its
Unprecedented: Manchester Street, Christchurch, 10 days after the quake on February 22, 2011. Credit: Margaret Low, GNS Science
findings and recommendations soon. Legislation passed this year brought in significant changes to the way EQC works. The cap for residential building cover has been raised from $NZ100,000 to $NZ150,000, a move that will see the public insurer take on a larger portion of the risk, with fewer “over-cap” building claims expected to be pass on to private insurers. But the $NZ20,000 EQC cover for contents has been removed, so private insurers will now pick up all contents claims. The changes were triggered in part by lessons learned from the Canterbury quakes. The ongoing Christchurch disaster has in many ways been a watershed for New Zealand, forcing the country to reassess the way insurance should be approached. Longheld perceptions over quake cover have also been challenged. Earlier this year, the Insurance Council of New Zealand suggested the time may be right to re-examine whether insurers should be expected to return properties back to their pre-disaster conditions. New Zealand is the only country with that sort of guarantee in place. The council’s Chief Executive, Tim Grafton, questions whether the guarantee is sustainable. “How realistic is that, how sustainable is that, when we are going to be living in a world where there will be increased risk due to climate change, increased frequency of extreme weather event losses as 0 well as underlying seismic risk?”
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Brisbane underwater: how Insurance News reported the devastation in early 2011
Brisbane floods 2011
hat started as prolonged and extensive rainfall in December 2010 became one of the worst flood catastrophes Queensland has experienced. It exposed shortcomings in the management of a major dam upstream of the city, and exposed insurance against flood as a hopeless, confused and confusing mess. Normalised in 2017 dollars, insured losses from the Brisbane floods disaster are estimated at more than $1.52 billion. The deluge extended into January, by which time more than 78% of the state – an area larger than France and Germany combined – had been declared a disaster zone. Low-lying Brisbane was virtually submerged. Some 5500 homes were inundated, as were commercial and industrial parks. The insurance industry copped heavy criticism over its response to flood victims. Confusion over whether properties were insured against flood or not – and even if they were, each insurer seemed to have a different definition of exactly what they understood by the word “flood” – lasted for weeks. Calls for the industry to get its act together came quickly and with considerable anger. The Insurance Council, under a brand new chief executive and an ill-prepared support team, was, initially at least, hopeless. Three different reviews into insurance at the federal level began in the months after the disaster. One
of the most significant reforms the industry undertook as a result of the Brisbane floods was the adoption of a universal definition of flood. Assistant Treasurer Bill Shorten set a 2012 deadline for insurers to agree on a definition. As he told Insurance News in April 2011 in an exclusive interview, the industry must “use its wit and intelligence” to address flood insurance issues. Automatic flood cover is now included in standard home policies unless the customer chooses to opt out. About 94% of home and contents policies across Australia now include flood cover. However, it is not extended to commercial policies unless the customer requests it. The work put in by insurers to clear up the soggy waters surrounding flood cover since the disaster has disappointingly not been matched by the government. As the Townsville flood catastrophe last summer demonstrated, after any major flood insurers will still come under fire from stressed local politicians, claimants and people who didn’t take out flood cover. Complicating matters is the fact that flood maps have their limitations, with 1-in-100 year flood event overlays that may not keep pace with the rapid pace of urbanisation and the implications of climate change. Will some properties in high-risk cities become uninsurable in the future? That’s a question that will 0 have to be debated one day.
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These new age professionals are techsavvy, impatient to succeed and quite a lot misunderstood By Terry McMullan
ight now, Generation Y is a bit of an enigma. The older members of this generation have been working in insurance for 10 years or more, but it’s only now that their influence is beginning to be measured. This is the generation we’ve loosely referred to as the Millennials – the exact years we are referring to here vary widely, but we have gone with the popular consensus that Gen Ys were born between 1980 and 1994. These are the people who’ve grown up in the 21st century and bedazzle older generations with their instinctive grasp of everything technological. They have arrived in the insurance industry as it sits on the cusp of a technology-led revolution that will play to their strengths. Social commentators use words like selfish, narcissistic, lazy, delusional, disloyal and materialistic to describe this generation, but the people we have interviewed for this 10th anniversary edition of Insurance News reveal none of those traits in the way they talk about their perceptions, their work and their ambitions. Unlike the “lucky generation” Baby Boomers and the “forgotten generation” Gen Xs, this generation grew up around the explosion of technology – think smartphones, the internet, social media and an obsession with connectivity. They live on social media, and technology is, for them, as natural as driving a car is
for a Baby Boomer. Shopping online, sending instant pictures to their peer groups, sucking up entertainment and communicating with their friends wherever in the world they are illustrate just how “instant” this group is. At work, they rely on technology to be efficient. When it comes to research or problem-solving, they can pull together a solution in record time using search engines and peer groups. Their smartphone isn’t just a private communication tool, it’s also how they handle emails, access the cloud, organise their schedules and hold virtual meetings with colleagues. That’s also why some of the Gen X managers in our previous interview section urged their younger colleagues to heed the advice of the Baby Boomer managers and foster face-to-face conversations as they develop relationships – not via a device but as a physical presence. Like Gen Xs, Gen Y people are independent thinkers and believe there’s more to life than work. They want flexibility in their working arrangements, too. It’s something they list as a priority when looking for a job. Those negative assessments of Gen Y may well come from their ability – and sometimes preference – to work outside the office, whether it’s at home or in the coffee bar downstairs. They might not be physically in
the office, but they’re still switched on. Gen X managers say Gen Y employees are ambitious but ridiculously impatient for promotion. Once they’ve learned the job they want a reward – a higher-level role or more money. They’re certain they can master any role you throw at them. They aspire to be the MD. The solution to all that impatience, employment consultants say, is to give Gen Ys multiple projects that really matter and leave it to them to sort out the details. Using the internet and search engines with lightning speed, they inevitably will. And managers are advised to encourage them to work in groups, because Gen Ys excel at co-operative tasks. After all, they’ve spent most of their lives interacting in hyperspace. The experts warn bosses to be aware that their Gen Y employees have grown up in an instant-response world, so their demand for instant feedback and credit for a job well done isn’t narcissism but simply a reflection of where they come from. These are the people who will begin moving into senior industry roles over the next 10 years. They will need different handling from their conscientious Gen X managers, but with plenty of feedback and a willingness to hold them on a loose leash, this is also the generation that will tailor technology and make insurance a truly responsive, efficient 0 and trusted industry.
Emma Matteson Assistant Underwriter Pen Underwriting - Sydney
t would be easy to assume Emma Matteson was inspired by her father Adam to pursue a career in insurance. The former Talbot managing director, now with Suncorp, is an industry stalwart with three decades’ experience. But, if anything, her dad’s involvement in the industry initially put her off. “The last thing you want to do is follow in your dad’s footsteps,” she says. “I assumed that whatever dad did, it had to be pretty boring.” However, after finishing a bachelor of commerce degree at the University of Sydney, Ms Matteson was drawing a blank on career plans. She considered travelling, but needed funds. So, reluctantly, she thought again about insurance, and an internship at law firm Sparke Helmore kindled her interest. “I just thought, ‘you know what I’ll give it a go, I’ll try my luck in insurance’.” She’s very glad she did. Two years in as Assistant Underwriter with Pen Underwriting and she’s enjoying working in an industry that she admits is “much more dynamic” than she expected. It hasn’t been easy. As a young graduate with no insurance-specific qualifications she had to learn fast. But crucially, she gives the credit for her advancement to the excellent support and encouragement she received from senior members of her team. “My first day, I asked one of my colleagues what a premium was. He was just like ‘okay, this is where we are at, we’re starting from scratch’. “I didn’t have any insurance qualifications, but one of the most incredible things about insurance is that you can really learn on the job, and that’s exactly what I did. “I couldn’t have learned what I have without my team. Every day I learn from those who have had different experiences.” Not only does Ms Matteson admit she remains
surprised by how much she enjoys working in the industry, she’s also excited by the future opportunities insurance offers. A major aspiration is to work overseas, and one day she’d like a management role that would enable her to mentor others. “I don’t think there is anything I want to achieve in my life that I couldn’t do in insurance,” she says. Ms Matteson believes technology will be the major opportunity for the industry in the coming years. She says her generation is able to see such opportunities more clearly, but again points out how well supported the vision of younger people is. She was recently presented with the Insurance Leader Award at the Young Insurance Professionals Gala Ball, and says the competition is an example of how the industry fosters young people’s ideas. Ms Matteson’s greatest concern is that other young people might not realise the opportunities that exist within insurance. “We are not seen as a cool industry for young people to go into, which is worrying to some extent and unfortunate. “A lot of people like me who didn’t have a passion and don’t know what they want to do don’t see insurance as an option because they just don’t know about it, or they don’t see it as a career that you would pursue.” Following in her father’s footsteps may have been the last thing she planned for – but it’s worked out pretty well for Ms Matteson, and now she’s encouraging others to think harder about working in the industry. In fact, she has already become something of an industry evangelist when people ask what she does. “I always feel like I want to take 20 minutes to really prove to them that I am not weird for enjoying myself in insurance, and that it’s not just a job but a career. “I would love people’s first thought to be ‘awesome, you’re in insurance’. 0 But it’s not, a lot of the time.”
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Craig Anderson Senior Client Service Manager Austbrokers ABS - Sydney
nlike so many of his peers, Craig Anderson didn’t grow up in a family of insurance executives. There was no ready network of contacts for him. The closest link with insurance – albeit indirectly – was his father, who worked in operational risk management. Today, 16 years after starting work in the insurance industry, hard work and a natural flair for engaging with clients sees Mr Anderson working as a senior broker. “My career has had its fair share of ups and downs,” he says. “What I’ve really learned is that it’s just about hard work and not giving up. “Really, the successes have come from absolutely trying to understand what our clients do and putting myself in their shoes and letting that drive all of the decisions I make day-to-day.” Marsh was his first employer as he learned the broking ropes, followed by stints at JLT and Gow-Gates Insurance Brokers. Today, as the Senior Client Service Manager with Austbrokers ABS, he manages a portfolio of mid-market corporate business predominantly in real estate and manufacturing. He is also in charge of developing the corporate commercial business, a role that involves meeting potential clients and designing and implementing programs for them. “Professionally, my goal is to become a senior leader,” Mr Anderson says. “I’m on the track of doing that. I just want to play a big part in our continued growth and success.” He is presently the Chairperson of the National Insurance Brokers Association’s (NIBA) NSW Young Professionals Committee, and last year won the prestigious Vero-sponsored Warren Tickle Memorial Award for Young Professional Brokers. That ranks as among the biggest achievements of his career so far. “It is a dream come true.” Like many of his Gen Y peers, Mr Anderson believes automation and other technological innovations will have a say in shaping the future of the industry. At the same time, he worries that the insurer-client relationship, a key factor in what sets the industry apart from other financial services, risks being superseded by the tech-fuelled disruptors. “In any successful business that I see, the driving
factor is understanding your clients and giving them the best service possible,” Mr Anderson says. “You just aren’t able to understand the nuances and the differences of your clients until you are there in the business talking to them. “It’s a bit of a catch-22. We must make sure we are able to strike the right balance between having the technology to be able to support us in our back office functionality, but also make sure we are still able to spend time with our clients and understand what they do.” And these days, at the age of 34 this father of a young son finds himself worrying professionally and personally about climate change. “From an insurance perspective, it’s got massive implications,” he says. “And then of course personally, you have to worry about the environment and what we are leaving behind for the next generation. Being a father does have a big impact on how you think about such things.” Spending time with his son and family is important to him, but he believes he can strike a good balance between work and family. “I think the simple answer is by making it a priority,” he says “It’s very easy to get caught up with the pressure and stresses at work and let your own mental health and family sit by the wayside. “For me it’s not about the hours you put in but the quality of the output that we’re driving.” Mr Anderson believes Gen Ys have the strengths that could help the industry in the post-Hayne royal commission landscape. “The Gen Y colleagues I have produce the best results when they are really allowed to be fully informed. They can really drive the culture of the business when they feel they are contributing to more than just financial results. “What we’ve seen out of the royal commission and everything that is coming into insurance is that there is always the fairness test. The Gen Ys are really pushing that. “The industry needs to do the right thing, and I think that’s something that’s going to impact more on insurers as we move 0 forward.”
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Jackson McDonald Market Development Manager Protecsure - Sydney
ime is a precious commodity these days for Jackson McDonald. He easily spends as much as 70% of his time on work. Knocking off at 5pm is a rarity for him. And weekends are often taken up with work, too. But the 24-year-old Sydneysider doesn’t mind one bit. Nor is he drained by the workload placed on his shoulders. He relishes the opportunities to learn and the multiple challenges he is getting since joining Protecsure in February. He is a Gen Y with a clear career plan – he sees his future in the insurance industry and he’s determined to make it in the business. To achieve that, he knows there is hard work and sacrifice involved. “In my current job, it’s definitely not a 9-to5 job,” Mr McDonald says. “There are a lot of conferences so I probably work outside normal hours. And there’s quite a bit of travel on weekends. “I expected that coming into this role because I’m the only person doing this. In a small business you often have to become a Jack of all trades, and I understand there is a lot of time to invest in this early stage. But I know that will even out eventually. “I understand the long-term opportunities available, so I know I have to put in the hard yards now for the potential rewards in 10 years.” Mr McDonald graduated in 2016 with a double degree in business marketing and communications advertising from Charles Sturt University. At that time a career in insurance did not even remotely cross his mind. In high school he aspired to be a journalist covering all things motor. This was despite growing up in a household where insurance was hardly an unfamiliar topic. His mother, Gabriele McDonald, is an industry veteran who carved out a successful career in the business while raising a young family. And it was his mother, presently Protecsure’s Managing Director, who convinced him to give the industry a try when he realised marketing
wasn’t what he wanted. Starting out, he was determined to make it on his own merit – he didn’t want to have to rely on his mother’s extensive network to land his first job. “It was really important not be compared to her but to sort of make my own way to begin with, and to succeed. “I didn’t want to be seen as though I was getting it just because of who I knew in the industry. “I really wanted to prove that I could work hard and do the job well. So that’s why I didn’t start off working for her straight away.” And he has not looked back since. He secured his first full-time job with GSA Insurance Brokers as a trade risk and surety administrator before becoming an assistant account broker for professional risks. Mr McDonald is currently working on a diploma in general insurance to add to the Tier 1 Insurance Broking compliance certificate. He’s also the Vice President Australasia at Young Insurance Professionals Australia and New Zealand . “At the end of the day, insurance was just the right fit,” he says. “It’s really helped develop me to where I am now. “I think I’m very unlikely to get bored in insurance because if you find yourself getting complacent in one role, there’s lots of different opportunities. You can get into finance, marketing, underwriting, broking… “There are so many different opportunities in the industry and it would be hard to say goodbye to my peers and everyone that I’ve got to know in the industry.” Mr McDonald believes the industry continues to offer bright prospects for anyone willing to put in the effort. But he does wonder if the industry is ready for the changes coming its way. “I don’t think the insurance industry is probably ready for the next 10 years, but that’s because it’s very hard to predict what will happen in the next 10 years. “It’s just about being flexible and being ready to change when required. “If you look at the disruptions or disruptors we have seen over the past five years – cyber crime, drones and all those sort of things – they were very hard risks to forecast. But I think the insurance industry can adapt quite 0 quickly.”
Rachel Lilliott Underwriter ATC Insurance Solutions - Melbourne
on’t rely on a Gen Y to hang around a job for very long if there’s no challenge to it. The experts say this tech-savvy group likes variety and problem-solving, which is a trait that Rachel Lilliott would probably agree with. Insurance, she says, has given her everything she was looking for, and more. After leaving school and working in customer service, she decided she wanted job security and something with some challenge attached. A bit of practical thinking led her to insurance. “I felt that everyone is always going to need insurance, so the job security is quite strong,” she tells Insurance News. “That’s what originally attracted me.” She took an entry-level position with Lumley at the age of 22, and more than a decade later is an underwriter with ATC Insurance Solutions, specialising in plant and machinery. Those practical beginnings – job security and all that – have blossomed into something more akin to a passion. “It just gets more interesting every day,” she says. “Every risk is different, and it is a lot more technical than I originally realised. I think I will be an insurance lifer. “I’m someone that always likes to be challenged, or I get bored. Our industry challenges me every day.” She has addressed an initial lack of qualifications with a diploma in general insurance, and is part-way through a bachelor of business degree. Ms Lilliott believes Generation Y has the “best of both worlds”, with increased insight on technology but also excellent old-school mentoring. “While we are being mentored by the older generation to understand their philosophy and the way they do things, we’ve also been brought up in the world of social media, so we can adapt quite quickly and we are quite tech-savvy,” she says. “I’ve still got some brokers now who will only send things by fax because they refuse to change. Our generation is willing to adapt.” Like many Gen Ys, Ms Lilliott hopes to travel and
gain international experience in the industry. “You grow so much more as a person if you have experienced different cultures. It makes you understand what impacts the world. “Longer term I want to get exposure to international markets to help me understand the industry as a whole and bring more international solutions to Australian customers which they could really benefit from.” A previous Australasian secretary and Victorian president for the Young Insurance Professionals, she says the industry is full of opportunity. Right now she has a state manager role in her sights. She says working in a hard market is a good test for her. “I think being able to adapt to different market conditions is a good thing. I feel like that has progressed my career in a positive way. “If everything is handed to you and you don’t have to work for it you’re not going to learn as much as you would if you were challenged.” She says it’s sad that younger generations like hers don’t look at insurance as a career to aspire to. As well as challenge and opportunity, she believes the industry can also bring good work/life balance. “I am so passionate about a work/life balance, especially with the mental health issues you hear about,” she says. “It is so important, especially at busy times, that people take time for themselves, to really clear their minds and not have to worry about work 24/7.” For Ms Lilliott, technology will bring the greatest opportunity as the industry evolves. “Every day something new is coming out. It will play a massive part going forward and it is already shaping the way we interact with the consumer.” But she also fears that automation may threaten the job security that attracted her to the industry in the first place. “In my view the personalised service that underwriters give will always be needed, but it’s always a worry that everything goes automatic. Why would they then pay some0 one to sit behind a computer and do the same job?”
Widya Hasan Underwriter – Technical Lines, Property Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance - Melbourne
ngineers don’t usually look for a career in insurance, but Widya Hasan was only looking for part-time work while studying engineering when she landed a job with an insurer. That paved the way for an unexpected career path. That part-time position with Chubb in the financial lines team led to conversations with engineers who were using their skills in the insurance arena. “I wasn’t aware that insurers hired engineers,” she says. “Seeing what they did really got me interested in the industry more and more.” Nevertheless, Ms Hasan, who holds degrees in civil and infrastructure engineering and business management from Melbourne’s RMIT, initially entered the rail contracting industry after completing her studies. “I tried the engineering industry first to see whether I’d like it or not, instead of going straight into insurance, and I liked it – but I found it a bit boring.” Compare that with her current position at Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance, which has given her the opportunity to apply her risk analysis skills across a variety of projects in a fast-paced environment. “I would describe it as fun, to be honest,” she says. “Maybe I have been quite fortunate to work with the right company and the right people, which obviously makes a big difference, but I find it to be very interesting.” Ms Hasan already has a high level of responsibility in a national underwriting role that involves covering operational risks for major mining and energy projects and construction risks more broadly. “It has definitely been a thrown-into-the-deep-end scenario at times, but I love that personally and I am one of those people who work really well under pressure,” she says. Beyond technical expertise, factors she sees as vital for success include being transparent and upfront with brokers and customers and being prepared to keep asking questions to gain information and insights.
Also, it’s important to just keep having fun. “I am a firm believer that you need to enjoy where you work. You are probably going to spend the majority of your life at work, so that is a factor that will make you successful in what you do in a professional career.” Ms Hasan is very aware that underwriting details and decisions can have a very direct impact on a company’s financial position, while brokers, customers and insurers all face difficult decisions and pressures in a hardening market. To maintain balance and a clear mind she goes to the gym at lunchtime, even if it means coming in earlier or staying later. In the longer-term she expects the insurance industry will become increasingly flexible in its working arrangements, particularly as urban growth and high housing prices extend commuting times. Looking ahead, Ms Hasan believes success will require continually keeping pace with rapid technological changes in construction, mining and energy to remain an expert in the area. She says her generation has been encouraged at university to be demanding in the pursuit of knowledge and opportunities and to keep pushing the envelope. “I do get that feedback sometimes, that generally our generation does get impatient – we want more and more, and more quickly, than the previous generations. I don’t think that should be seen in a negative light.” Ms Hasan would like to visit more project sites around Australia, and at a personal level anticipates seeing more of the world, while a long career is on the cards using her critical analysis skills in the insurance industry, or as an insurance expert within other sectors. “As long as I can use that skill-set in analysing and managing risk as an insurance professional, regardless of which industry it is in, I would be 0 quite happy,” she says.
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Kathryn Considine National Manager Placements Community Broker Network - Melbourne
athryn Considine was in university when she had her first brush with working in the insurance industry. At the age of 19 she wanted to earn extra money so she could travel. She even had a list of places she wanted to go. Having “office experience” in her resume was another motivation. Coincidentally her father Tim, who runs Austbrokers Countrywide, was looking to hire a part-timer for his professional indemnity team. So he offered her the job, which she happily accepted, doing 2½ days of work a week while completing a full-time degree at the University of Melbourne. She learned a lot, taking up a variety of functional roles including assisting account managers to place insurance programs, business development with associations and providing inputs to marketing and social media projects. At the same time, she became a member of Young Insurance Professionals (YIPs), serving on the committee handling the public relations aspects. Networking with other aspirational Gen Ys was something she enjoyed and found motivating. After graduating in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in political science and history, she wasn’t going to look around for an industry to work in. She enjoyed insurance and she knew that this was where she wanted to make her mark. “As I was doing processing and assisting, I just grew to love it and talking with clients,” she says. “I quite like numbers, so it was a really exciting new opportunity for me and I haven’t looked back since. The flame for insurance has not gone out. It never will.” The industry has reciprocated in kind. Ms Considine says her decision to pursue a career in insurance put her on a path she has found to be rewarding in terms of career and personal satisfaction. As a business development officer with CGU, she took a sabbatical and spent a year in London working for a Lloyd’s broker. The experience of living and working in London enabled her to tick off one of the top items on her travel list. After London she returned to join the CGU National Partner Solutions Team as technical delivery specialist before going on to the Community
Broker Network, where she started as regional manager Victoria/Tasmania before being promoted to network development manager and then National Manager Placements, her current position. “The opportunities have been abundant,” Ms Considine says. “It’s been very rewarding. “I’ve certainly taken on a number of different roles in my career to date that have all been within the industry. I think it’s a real credit to our industry that we have so many diverse roles you can take on.” Now, at the age of 29, Ms Considine is a member of the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance’s (ANZIIF) Generation i Council, a group dedicated to addressing the needs of the next generation of industry leaders. And she is completing a Diploma of Insurance Broking through ANZIIF to go with her Tier 1 Insurance Compliance Certificate. Ms Considine feels the industry still struggles to attract the brightest young people. “I think we have struggled to adequately address the issues around attracting young people to our industry, and more so determining the key skills we need to engage to cater to the future of insurance – things like creative brains and AI specialists, for example.” Technology and the emergence of new challengers are other areas where the industry will need to be more nimble and adaptable in responding to them, she says. “It’s so hard to predict what’s going to happen. We could see new entrants into the industry that we never expected, and I think we will continually evolve the way we do things to compete with those peripheral industries. It all comes down to understanding our customers better.” Ms Considine believes her generation has much to offer to the industry as it works to stay engaged and relevant in the digital economy. “We communicate electronically more through emails, texting, Instagram… we are kind of multi-channel communicators. “With our digitally savvy mindsets and experiences, we can offer new ways of doing things and I’ve certainly experienced that throughout my time – through automating 0 processes to marketing online.”
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Held to ransom How Insurance House survived a cyber attack – and came out the other end stronger By John Deex
hen Insurance House Group Managing Director Jay Fereday’s phone rang in the early hours of Sunday June 9, nightmares became reality. “The call was from my chief operations officer to say, ‘We’ve got a problem. We think we’ve had a malware attack.” Instead of enjoying the Queen’s Birthday long weekend, Mr Fereday was launched headlong into a cyber crisis, which would test the Melbourne-based company’s resilience to its limits. The first indication of any problem had been a sudden outage on one of the company’s landing pages. Further investigations revealed a file sitting behind the network, which contained a message: “You have been the subject of a ransomware attack – click here and we will negotiate.” It’s a scenario every business leader fears – but how should you respond? Best-practice advice is very clear, Mr Fereday tells Insurance News. Firstly, don’t click the link, don’t negotiate. In fact, don’t do anything that would alert the attackers to their success. Then comes the hard part. Entire systems should be taken down to prevent any further damage, or loss of client data. “We are told by our IT security people that if in doubt, if you think you have an issue with any form of malware, the first thing you have got to do is shut down your systems.” But Insurance House is a diverse operation – a brokerage, an authorised representative network, underwriting agency ProRisk, plus an affinity business and life insurance business. It operates from more than 50 locations across Australia, many of them regional.
Taking systems offline would have a huge impact – and leave insurers and clients without any means of contact. “That is one of the most difficult decisions,” Mr Fereday says. “You are thinking ‘now it is going to affect everyone, no one is going to be able to do any work for a while’.” Difficult or not, it’s what Insurance House did. Systems were taken down, the back-up environment was deployed and the lengthy process of cleansing and restoring close to 450 pieces of IT equipment was started. More than 200 new laptops were ordered and more than 20 temporary staff engaged to help get through the massive workload. “We could have cut corners but we were really mindful of acting responsibly,” Mr Fereday says. “All of our staff computers were wiped and restored. It was the right decision but the inconvenience was huge. “We could have thought that maybe we could fix this, maybe it would be okay within a couple of days. But you don’t know, and there was an element of just doing the right thing. “We communicated very early and we were not trying to sweep anything under the rug.” Key insurance partners were contacted immediately, and cover was held for all clients. Manual workarounds were deployed where necessary. “The response from insurers was fantastic,” Mr Fereday says. “This was a first for us, to the extent that it was such a significant outage. Clients were covered and the insurers were great.” After shutting down systems on June 9, the next day was a public holiday in many states. But not in
Queensland, where Insurance House staff would ordinarily intercept calls from other states. As a result, there was one day of severe disruption where phone lines and emails were down and the company was not contactable. On June 11 all offices opened their doors, and by the afternoon alternative phone and internet solutions were in place. The following day the process of cleansing and restoring IT equipment across the country began – but it would be almost a month before all staff were fully operational. Despite the lengthy disruption Mr Fereday has no regrets. “You can go one of two ways. Many [people] I have spoken to would pay the ransom. “But you are dealing with criminals, so there is no guarantee as to exactly what the outcome would be. The professional advice is, don’t.” Allowing criminals access to systems in order to decrypt what they have put in could easily make the situation worse. One big relief for Insurance House was that no client data was lost – and it was determined to keep it that way. Being well prepared – having a disaster recovery plan and a back-up environment ready to go – makes it easier to make the brave call to shut down and cleanse systems and equipment, Mr Fereday says. “It is a much easier decision to do that if you have done the pre-work, if you have the back-up environment, if you have plans. “If some businesses have not got the environment to go to, then they might feel their only option is to
negotiate and pay a ransom. “It’s an expensive process to put the measures in place and it is an expensive process to deal with these things, but you just have to act responsibly and do all you can to protect client data and get up into operational mode as quickly as you can.”
Holding firm: Insurance House’s Jay Fereday refused to negotiate with cyber crooks
Prepared: having a disaster recovery plan in place is crucial, Mr Fereday says
Insurance House’s cyber insurance policy includes a forensic investigation into the source of the vulnerability. Initial concerns surrounded email attachments, but this was later ruled out. The cause has been narrowed down to a third-party breach – either within virus protection or remote desktop applications. While there is relief staff had not acted inappropriately, extraordinary vigilance over third-party applications is required. Insurance House says it used “reputable global providers” but was still burned. “There was no reasonable way for our staff and systems to manage this particular issue,” Mr Fereday says. “We have got 24/7 monitoring, we’ve got an IT security vendor, network engineers, systems engineers and full IT support, and we still copped this. I feel like we were incredibly unlucky. “All you can do is remain vigilant, choose reputable people and have regular dialogue with them.” The independent report looks at all of the various service providers that have to dovetail into a company’s environment and systems’ networks. “When you go through that exercise it is always a bit alarming to realise just how many connections a business our size has,” Mr Fereday says. “All of those are potential vulnerabilities. It is a real risk for all of us.” So what would he advise to others who may one day find themselves in the same situation? Mr Fereday emphasises three things: • Engage with professionals to create a good disaster recovery plan. • Have a back-up environment as ready as it can be. • Communicate regularly and be transparent. The importance of effective communication was the
key lesson learned by Insurance House. “We have five distinct businesses within the group, so we had differing needs for communication,” Mr Fereday tells Insurance News. “At times we were really good, but there were parts of our business where we missed the communication. “This whole process reminds us how important it is to let people know what is going on behind the scenes.” Insurance cover is a key part of preparation for a cyber event, and – one of the few upsides of the incident – having first-hand experience will strengthen Insurance House brokers’ expertise when selling policies to clients. The business is stronger in other ways, too. “This was a bit like a personal training session where five minutes into it you are thinking, when is this going to be over? It’s painful. “But when it is over and you look back you realise there has been muscle created in this business. “I look around and see staff doing stand-up meetings, reconvening, agreeing actions, going away and helping each other. The spirit and the reaction from our people was fantastic. This has been our team bonding event.” Mr Fereday hopes Insurance House never again has to go through another cyber attack. But he says there is strength in knowing that if it happens, it can be dealt with. “Most businesses that have been through this want to quickly move on,” he says. “I suspect we won’t do that. We will talk about the lessons we have personally learned, be brave enough to admit where we could have been better, and make sure we share that with our industry and our clients.” 0
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Changing the narrative: Suncorp CEO Steve Johnston
Back to the future Chief Executive Steve Johnston is reshaping Suncorp’s marketing and relationships By John Deex
or several years, scrutiny of Australian insurance giant Suncorp centred on its controversial Marketplace strategy. Former chief executive Michael Cameron’s Appleinspired retail objective aimed to offer a one-stop shop for insurance, banking and other financial products. But investors and analysts were quick to criticise the strategy as major investments and flagship high street stores failed to spark significant returns. Now former chief financial officer Steve Johnston has been confirmed in the top role, he’s looking to switch the narrative. Marketplace has not been abandoned, but it’s been drastically scaled back, with Mr Johnston instead prioritising Suncorp’s central insurance and banking identity. He believes the “noise” over Marketplace meant the
company’s retail ambitions eclipsed all else, masking other good work the group was doing. “We over-sold the narrative that we were aspiring to,” Mr Johnston told Insurance News. “What tends to happen if you oversell the narrative and you aspire to something that is unrealistic or very difficult to achieve, the attention starts to move away from the core of your business. “I am very keen to make sure that we get back to focusing on what is important to an insurance company and a bank. We have got great brands – they are very valuable. We need to invest in them, we need to support them; we need to make sure they are lined up against their target markets. “We have been doing some good stuff, but the narrative just became overwhelmed by discussions around the Marketplace.
“I have been very focused on making sure the broker community understands how important it is to us as a partner, and providing better service to them as they interact with their customers.”
“Our strategy was far broader than the Marketplace. Our strategy was to the core of our business, but it just got lost in all the noise. Investors and others are looking for pretty immediate returns.” Despite the change of tack, Mr Johnston is convinced investments in digital and data made under his predecessor will stand the company in good stead. “Ultimately digital and data, whether it be in direct or intermediated, is going to be a big part of the future, it is just the timeline it takes to get there,” he said. “We have got to continue to incrementally invest in digital and data and we are a lot further down the path than we would have been had we not made the investments we made a couple of years ago.” The previous retail narrative left many brokers feeling unloved, but Mr Johnston is determined to correct any misconceptions. He says intermediaries are crucial to the company’s future. “I have been very focused on making sure the broker community understands how important it is to us as a partner, and providing better service to them as they interact with their customers. It’s a key part of what we are going to do over the next couple of years. “Our narrative has made it seem like they have been less of a priority. They haven’t, and shouldn’t be,
and they will be a top priority going forward.” Mr Johnston sees four key short/medium term priorities for the business. The first is to refocus on and improve the performance of the insurance and banking businesses. Secondly, Suncorp will embrace regulatory change. This is vital, Mr Johnston says, to produce positive outcomes. “Instead of looking at it as a burden or imposition we should embrace it,” he says. “Get it done as quickly as we can, improve the outcomes for customers and get on the front foot. If you think about it with a positive mindset you’ll get a better outcome than if you think about it as just a regulatory burden.” Thirdly, to leverage digital and data investments already put in place. “We’ve spent a lot of money over the past couple of years in building out some digital infrastructure and there is a great opportunity to leverage that and get value from it.” And lastly, Suncorp must continue to be operationally efficient. “We’ve gone from one big program of efficiency to another over the past decade,” he says. “We are now trying to make sure we embed all of those processes into how we run the 0 business day-to-day.”
Defining moment Suncorp, along with other general insurers, was criticised for its claims handling during the Hayne royal commission. But while Mr Johnston believes the insurer should learn from its mistakes, he says in reality such issues are few and far between. Using February’s catastrophic flooding in Townsville as an example, he says customers are well served. The “complex event” cost Suncorp almost $500 million in claims, he says. “We don’t do it 100% right all the time, but by and large I think our performance has been pretty good,” he told Insurance News. “It is the 1% of things you don’t do well that get a lot of attention.
“We have just got to learn from it, and make it better. “I had the privilege of going up to Townsville a couple of months ago with [Insurance Chief Executive] Gary Dransfield to hand the keys back to a couple of customers who had been out of their homes. “To be honest, it was a very defining moment for me to see what the company did. “I think people underestimate what impact having a metre of water through your house has on people psychologically. “Having an insurance company that stands by them and manages the process on their behalf and rebuilds the home in a timely manner and gets them back in so they feel safe again really underscores what insurance and our company is all about.”
Mind the income cover gap The gig economy, the sudden retreat of a large player and a hardening market are creating optimism in accident & health By Miranda Maxwell
armers, fishermen and fencers, tradies, horse riders, charity workers, netball clubs, prison officers, firefighters and parcel couriers. This diverse range of Australians seemingly have little in common, except for the fact that they all rely on accident and health (A&H) insurance for income protection. Such sole traders, not-for-profit employees and other workers who fall outside state-enforced workers’ compensation schemes make up the bread-and-butter clientele of A&H specialists. There are several quite different products under the broad A&H banner, encompassing a range of optional individual personal accident polices for unanticipated health-related events, assuring income to the employee or family in the event of accident, illness, disability or death. The large arena of enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) group income protection, which many workers are obliged to have under collective agreements, also falls within the A&H spectrum. While the A&H demographic is generally blue collar, macroeconomic drivers such as the casualisation of
the workforce – often referred to as the “gig economy” – and a broad upward trend in rates are shaking up this 24/7 complementary cover. It’s meeting the changing needs of a growing range of workers, and that’s creating opportunity. “As the landscape changes in terms of how people work and the types of jobs that they do, the products and the technology are evolving,” says Adam Bohacek, General Manager of Accident & Health at insurtech Agile Underwriting. “It is quite a volatile and interesting space to work in,” he says. A comprehensive study by Zurich says income protection is a rising global challenge due to demographic shifts and increased budget pressures in many countries. This is resulting in a trend towards a gradual withdrawal of state-funded social security guarantees and underpinning corporate protection and pension plans. “People increasingly need to take personal responsibility to protect themselves,” Zurich says. A&H reduces the financial burden of gaps in medical coverage and downtime on the job. It often pays a lump sum to be used as the recipient sees fit. It could
go toward meeting deductibles, transportation to and from doctor appointments, childcare or any out-ofpocket expenses. “Personal accident historically is a product that people will take out either to replace workers’ compensation or where they are not willing to take out a life insurance product because of the cost or due to medical reasons, they have not been able to get a life insurance product,” Point Insurance Managing Director David Fogarty says. “So it sits in the middle of those two products.” Mostly voluntary and paid by the employee, A&H can also complement compulsory workers’ compensation as it covers accidents outside the workplace or work hours. A&H products can top up workers’ compensation so that it is a 24-hour product, seven days a week, and cover benefits such as loadings. “A lot of companies, to be a differentiator or to bring in and retain good talent, may bring in a group personal accident policy which effectively is a top-up to workers’ compensation,” Mr Bohacek says. A comprehensive 35-page study of global A&H by Zurich says younger Australians are showing greater
uptake of income protection than more complacent older generations, as confidence in government-funded “safety nets” wavers. And as the economy evolves, contract work and dual occupations are featuring more frequently in A&H, particularly in regional areas where taking on more than one occupation is commonplace. “We are seeing a lot of multiple occupations for the one insured person, which may be a sign of the economy at present, where people are having to take on a couple of jobs to make ends meet,” says Mr Fogarty, who adds that Point is enjoying growth of 30-40%. “We think our product is excellent and our pricing is on the cheaper side, but it is not too cheap to deliver results to our underwriters,” he says. Quantifying the size of the A&H market is a moving target. But participants estimate the group EBA sector could be worth at least $600 million. A recent decision by heavyweight Chubb to exit the EBA space took industry insiders by surprise. They say sometimes-suicidal rates have made this business area unprofitable at times. But participants say that has changed now, with notable hardening taking place in
line with the broader insurance industry. Chubb declined requests by Insurance News to comment on its exit decision, but various industry sources say the insurer caught brokers off guard with its letter explaining it had withdrawn its support for EBA-driven income protection cover. Possibly it was the involvement of the unions that led Chubb to quit. Brokers say unions have negotiated very good A&H rates and some top-class cover on behalf of their members, making the space historically challenging for underwriters to make a profit. “Put simply, too much group/scheme income protection business was written by too many underwriters for far too long throughout the prolonged soft market cycle,” says Tim Curling, the Accident & Health Underwriter at Epsilon. He says increased activity has been taking place in an A&H market that is nevertheless heavily contracting. Epsilon has been operating in the agency sector since 2001, writing business on behalf of Lloyd’s and company paper while focusing on liability, property, construction and cyber. Mr Curling says reduced capacity out of London and tighter underwriting controls have contributed to higher A&H rates. Brokers now need to identify experienced underwriters to assist them in navigating this new, tougher cycle and retain their clients. Outside of the EBA business, competition in the individual A&H market is fierce and highly price-sensitive. According to Agile Underwriting, personal accident products generally speaking carry a 2.5-3% “hit ratio,” in terms of amount of claims, while A&H corporate travel products sit less profitably at around 10-15% in terms of claim frequency.
Mr Bohacek, who sells both individual personal accident and accompanying travel cover, says A&H is “a pretty hard sell because it is a ‘nice-to-have’. “You don’t need it to legally operate your business. You must have things like property and liability in place to be able to operate your business. So brokers concentrate on the lines that are a requirement in terms of cover – the ones that are compulsory, not voluntary. “Generally speaking, the only way to win business is to be the cheapest.” Broker education and relationships are the answer here, he says. At Point Underwriting, which kicked off its specialty A&H offering in mid-2015, Mr Fogarty agrees. “It is definitely a very price-driven product. You really have to be competitive on price to get access to the market, otherwise the insured parties will not often look at additional benefits. Their focus is on the price. “The market is changing at the moment because underwriters are putting rates up across the board and brokers are more and more looking for better products, not necessarily just price-driven policies. “So it is slowly changing but I think it will always be a challenge for this product,” Mr Fogarty says. Point has introduced security in its A&H product to ensure claimants get what they want to be covered for at claim time. For example, agreed value is a standard offering, and broadened age bands help the buyer to keep up with extended career spans. “We had to move with the times a bit,” Mr Fogarty says. “It is a challenge to get that message across, because it is not really realised until claim time, when it matters. “Some brokers will always write it based on price
A&H explained A&H is a broad term that covers specialty insurance for loss of earned income in case of sickness, accidental injury or accidental death. There are group schemes as well as individual cover. Unlike workers’ compensation, A&H covers the results of accidents outside the workplace or outside an employee’s work hours. It also covers the self-employed and volunteers. It’s an emotive area of insurance offering cover for the moments in life no one wants to dwell on. A&H benefits reduce the financial burden associated with gaps in medical coverage, as well as downtime on the job. In many cases it pays a lump sum to be used as the recipient sees fit. It could go towards meeting deductibles, transport to medical appointments, education costs and so on. The supplemental A&H benefits help fill gaps for
conditions not covered under traditional plans. Most medical plans cover medications and hospital/doctor bills, but not childcare and daily living expenses post-accident or illness. Employees can often exclude the benefits from gross income or the employer is entitled to a deduction for the payments. Some examples of A&H are Group Journey Accident, which provides personal accident cover to-and-from the workplace; Travel Insurance; Expatriate Medical Expense & Emergency Repatriation, which provides coverage for medical expenses, access to 24-hour medical assistance and emergency repatriation cover for employees and their families seconded overseas; Voluntary Workers’ Personal Accident for volunteers performing unpaid work on behalf of the insured; and Individual Personal Accident & Sickness, typically for the self-employed.
IN T RODUCING...
because that is what their client wants, and as a result they don’t always necessarily see the value-add.” Mr Curling says Epsilon has experienced solid growth in its A&H portfolio in recent years and expects “plenty of upside” over the next three to five years. Epsilon aims to be one of the top three “go-to” agencies for group income protection across Australia by the end of this year. The list of industries its products touch is long, taking in manufacturing and food processing, security and protection personnel, various trade sectors, haulage and warehouse-distribution and logistical-related occupations. “We have an extremely broad appetite across all blue-collar industries,” Mr Curling says. “Part of my role in developing new pipelines is to encourage brokers with little or no experience of A&H to think outside the square and have a meaningful conversation with their larger clients about the merits of offering their workforce some income protection – either ‘facilitated’ or as an employee benefit aside from any EBA obligation.” The group-style A&H covers that Epsilon offers are not products that can be readily disrupted by insurtechs, as the income protection area of A&H is too “people-oriented”. “We are experts in complexity and simplifying client outcomes,” Mr Curling says. “This is where Epsilon excels – through its relationships and our ability to find a solution that isn’t always immediately obvious.” The ways in which the A&H sector is changing are well illustrated by the Western Australian experience. The state once represented two-thirds of Australia’s accident and health business across portfolios, but that has dropped to a low of just 5%. Mr Curling says compulsory Income Protection prescribed within EBAs – which was commonplace during the mining boom that lasted almost a decade but ended in 2014 – is now re-emerging in Western Australia. Recently, Epsilon provided A&H cover to an $800 million three-year redevelopment outside Perth, which is expected to create around 2500 jobs during construction. “Western Australia is very much on the move again,” he says. “It’s been a long time between drinks. “Perth’s shiny new airport and Optus Stadium are bellwethers for its next boom, which is likely to involve its vast lithium 0 deposits. Watch this space.”
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Eliminating sexual harassment A national inquiry is likely to see insurance play a pivotal role in dealing with the workplace risk factors By Wendy Pugh
Mitigation approaches could include requiring employers to have an appropriate workplace behaviour policy covering harassment, bullying and discrimination before insurance cover is provided.
court ruling awarding a paralegal $170,000 after she was sexually harassed by her employer through repeated personal emails and on a business trip may prove to be a landmark case in a watershed year. The recent Federal Court decision was significant for the $50,000 in aggravated damages for the woman, whose boss bombarded her with messages seeking a relationship and loitered in her room in his underwear during the work trip. The ruling was handed down as concerns rise over the level of harassment in Australian workplaces and as action is set to be recommended to address failings in the way issues are handled. Government data and research shows harassment is widespread across geographies and industries, but despite some high-profile court cases victims of workplace harassment are generally reluctant to come forward. The #MeToo movement that started in the US put a spotlight on the issue while raising questions over the local situation. Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins went on the front foot last year and launched the National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces. Her update to the Australian Professional Indemnity Group (APIG) conference in August highlighted the fact that changes are on the way, and that there will be implications for the insurance industry. APIG President Jeremy Scott-Mackenzie, who is also Swiss Re Corporate Solutions Head of Casualty and FinPro for Australia and New Zealand, says the issue is now on the agenda for boards and risk managers, and the insurance industry has the opportunity to play a pivotal role.
“The work of the Sex Discrimination Commissioner and the publicity of the #MeToo movement has brought about a heightened awareness of discrimination and harassment in the workplace,” he tells Insurance News. “It is incumbent upon the insurance industry to effectively engage by not only providing insurance solutions but to provide assistance through education and assisting clients in building an effective reporting and risk management framework.” Locally, directors’ and officers’ (D&O) policies are typically expected to respond to claims against individuals, while an employment practices liability (EPL) policy will chiefly respond to those against the business. Many larger organisations do not purchase standalone EPL, but the changing environment should act as a catalyst for brokers and insureds to review the benefit of such a standalone policy, Mr Scott-Mackenzie says. “Underwriters are already considering the implications of employment dispute claims across management liability, employment practices liability and D&O classes,” he says. “We have seen premium and deductibles continue to shift on management liability, and corporate clients are becoming more attuned to the need for EPL insurance.” Ms Jenkins, who will deliver the harassment inquiry report by the end of the year, gave the APIG conference audience some guidance as to where the recommendations will fall. Broadly, they will cover education, improving employer responses and the legal framework. There will be an emphasis on “incentivising” prevention and enhancing rules and regulations that have already had an impact when it comes to physical injuries.
“Those who come forward find the process difficult. People don’t want to complain about sexual harassment – they just want it to stop.”
“There is no question that there will be a focus both on the regulation but also on the practices,” Ms Jenkins said. “Workplace safety laws already apply to sexual harassment. The regulators just haven’t really paid much attention to it [and] employers haven’t really been good at other than physical injuries.” CGU, which has provided EPL insurance for more than 20 years, says there has been substantial growth in demand for management liability policies over the past 10 years and it is now the most sought-after product for covering employment practices claims against SME and mid-market businesses. “We believe this is a result of an increase in the general awareness of employment-related risks faced by businesses, on both employment practices and workplace health and safety (WHS), including through the implementation of enhanced WHS legislation,” a spokesman tells Insurance News. Ms Jenkins has encouraged the insurance industry to think about how it can encourage employers to prevent sexual harassment claims as more issues are raised and more attention is set to be focused on the area. The Australian Human Rights Commission’s annual report last year showed a 19% increase in Sex Discrimination Act complaints at the federal level, while the numbers have also risen in state and territory jurisdictions. The NSW Anti-Discrimination Board reported a 39% jump in sexual harassment complaints in 2017/18, with 89% of those related to the workplace. The rises partly reflect public commentary and greater awareness of actions considered harassment, but the numbers are still considered a snapshot that doesn’t fully reflect the size of the problem, or the shortcomings of current systems. The Human Rights Commission’s fourth national survey on sexual harassment in workplaces found one in three people said they had been harassed at work in the past five years, but fewer than one in five made a report or complaint. Ms Jenkins says even with the #MeToo campaign, employees are reluctant to speak out, given they “become witness No.1”, feel cast as the villain when they
come forward and are subjected to a level of scrutiny that makes them wish they had remained silent. “We heard that people did get more courage to speak up because of the general public comment on sexual harassment. But those who come forward find the process difficult. “People don’t want to complain about sexual harassment – they just want it to stop.” Some of the issues include the fact that employers tend to side with perpetrators to protect business reputations, there is almost no onus on managers to do something in the absence of a complaint, and bruising adversarial systems often lead to poor experiences and outcomes. “You need more options that don’t just end up in a Rolls-Royce legal investigation,” Ms Jenkins says. “But even if you are in the legal process you should be recognising, and taking into account, the welfare of the victim or the complainant.” Gilchrist Connell Special Counsel Sarah Wood, an EPL and workplace relations specialist, says the insurance industry can encourage workplaces to have appropriate behavioural policies in place and can play an important role in preventing situations escalating. “This is an area where parties can get really heated, and having the insurance there can add a rational voice that is not necessarily emotionally attached in the same way as a victim or employer,” she says. Mitigation approaches could include requiring employers to have an appropriate workplace behaviour policy covering harassment, bullying and discrimination before insurance cover is provided. The Human Rights Commission has compiled documentation on its website to help simplify the process, providing guides and examples of best practice policies. They can be freely downloaded by firms. “There is no excuse these days for not having a policy; it is a basic bare minimum that a business needs to be doing, whether they have one employee or 100,000 employees,” Ms Wood says. The Federal Court decision awarding the $170,000 – which is under appeal – is not the only case to have flagged the rising stakes if situations are not dealt with adequately as societal standards change
Also widely cited is the Richardson v Oracle Corporation Australia appeal case in the Full Court of the Federal Court in 2014. That decision found an initial general damages award of $18,000 was inconsistent with prevailing community standards. The amount was bumped up to $100,000 plus $30,000 for economic loss. The lower amount was “manifestly inadequate” for the employee, who endured humiliating slurs and advances from a colleague that built into “a more or less constant barrage of sexual harassment”, the court ruled. Mr Scott-Mackenzie says encouraging people to come forward early may lead to more reported matters, but with the support of a claims professional they should not necessarily lead to an increase in claims payments. He says employers are better off encouraging people to raise issues. “This will not only encourage a healthier work environment, but there is a higher likelihood that issues in the workplace will be addressed earlier and not allow matters to become more serious,” he says. “In my experience, it is often matters that occurred over months and years that have affected the employee the most and are the most difficult to resolve.” The final report of the national inquiry will be based on submissions, consultations and research, and will include work from Deloitte showing the business and economic cost of harassment. Ms Jenkins has emphasised that improved practices are needed to achieve better outcomes for everyone involved, and the time to make changes has arrived. “What I heard was the system currently is not working well,” she told the APIG conference. “Sexual harassment is a breach of human rights, it is a breach of workplace 0 rights, and it is a safety issue.”
Winter is coming The global economic environment is turning distinctly chilly, but Australia remains insulated By John Deex
Frosty forecast: Swiss Re’s Jerome Haegeli
here was a touch of Ned Stark about Swiss Re Chief Economist Jerome Haegeli as he arrived in Sydney in August for his annual visit. Fans of HBO’s smash television series Game of Thrones will be familiar with the oft-repeated House Stark motto, “Winter is coming.” It was a phrase Dr Haegeli put to good use in summarising the global economic environment. While we’re unlikely to face rampaging undead hordes, there are certainly tough times ahead. “It has been a short summer with winter coming soon for the global economy,” he tells Insurance News. “It won’t go away quickly, it’s quite chilly out there.” There is a 35% likelihood of a US recession in 2021, Dr Haegeli tells Insurance News, and if this eventuates a global recession will follow. The “number one risk” is the US-China trade war, he says, with escalating tensions “expected to have a significant impact on global growth”. Dr Haegeli also believes the world is less resilient than it was 10 years ago. “The record amount of negative yielding debt is here to stay, showing how dysfunctional the market system has become.” But there is better news for Australia, which could remain protected behind a wall of relatively low government debt and sound monetary policy. “Government debt has increased but it is still only about half the [Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development] average,” Dr Haegeli says. “There is a buffer and room to manoeuvre and react. “Australia has had 29 years without recession, and there is a high likelihood of making that 30. Turning 40 is going to be tough, but there is a good chance. “Challenge number one is a hard landing in China. In that scenario Australia does not reach 40.” Swiss Re predicts Australia’s gross domestic product will rise 2.3% this year and 2.5% next year. In China growth could hit 6.2% and 6.1% respectively. In insurance markets, Dr Haegeli says a new milestone was reached last year – $US5 trillion in global primary insurance premium. Despite this, protection gaps are also at record levels, and narrowing these would be positive for the insurance industry and stability. The protection gap sits at $US69 billion in North America, $US100 billion in Europe, and $US304 billion in Asia Pacific – creating concern but also offering huge opportunity. Dr Haegeli says China accounts for a rapidly increasing share of the insurance market, growing five times faster than the global average. “With economic growth and increasing insurance penetration in emerging Asia foreseen, the insurance industry will continue to pivot east. For the Australian
market, the proximity and strong connection to China is positive.” China’s share of the global insurance market is set to rocket from 0% in 1980 and 11% last year, to 20% in 2029. “In less than 15 years China will be the largest insurance market in the world,” Dr Haegeli says. At the same time China is continuing to open its financial services sector to foreign investment. Earlier this year the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission announced a series of measures making it easier for foreign insurers and brokers to gain a foothold in the market. “Over the past six to 12 months everything they have done is about opening the market,” Dr Haegeli says. “If I look globally where growth is in insurance markets, there is a lot of growth in China. “From that perspective being engaged in China is just common sense.” Australia’s share of the global insurance market has remained steady at 2%, and will stay that way in 2029. Swiss Re says the Australian property and casualty (P&C) sector’s outlook is more promising than life and health, due to improved rates and profitability. Ongoing consolidation is expected, as a result of more stringent capital requirements from next year, and fallout from the Hayne royal commission. Last year saw Australian P&C growth of more than 2% (in real terms) compared with a fourth consecutive annual decline (-6% in real terms) in life – with those trends set to continue. “We forecast increasing real premiums for P&C and declining life premiums in 2019 and 2020,” Dr Haegeli says. He points again to global concerns. “Global economic activity has slowed, growth [has been] revised down with low rates for longer, and central banks are easing again,” he says. “The trade war is the number one risk to the global economy and continues to increase. There is a one in three chance of a US recession in 2020/21.” However, Australia’s “record economic success will continue” – possibly hitting that 40-year milestone. Dr Haegeli’s confidence that Australia can weather the global storm stems from the Global Financial Crisis more than a decade ago. “In 2008 it was a deep recession, and Australia survived. The next recession will not be as deep. I don’t see the crisis being the same, with the whole financial market infrastructure under stress. “It is more likely to be more shallow, but more protracted, and I see Australia as being more protected.” Winter may well be coming for the global economy, but like some of the Starks in Game of Thrones, 0 Australia has a habit of surviving.
Expertise in hand: Clear connections: Insurx is taking the pain out of claims Zurich’s risk app helps brokers and clients Zurich is offering brokers a versatile digital tool that assists client understanding of their risks while also facilitating adoption of measures to prevent incidents happening, and to minimise losses if something does occur. The Zurich Risk Advisor app supports brokers in providing on-site or remote self-risk assessments and is designed to make risk management initiatives more successful. Self-assessment reports are available for property, cyber security and workers’ injury risks and more categories are likely to be added as the app is continually updated. The insurer says the app, which is free to download, can be especially useful for customers analysing risk in smaller locations where a risk engineer wouldn’t normally go. A “light” self-assessment takes as little as 10 minutes to complete, and involves a short series of questions before a report is generated. In addition, a business may delve more deeply into the various risks it may face with a fuller self-assessment. The more extensive version includes suggestions for risk improvement. The app allows users to experiment with a “what if” function to see how different improvements could lead to a more favourable risk grading compared to their current status. Suggestions are available for the various potential issues included, drawing on Zurich’s resources and experience, while a hazard analysis process allows for brainstorming and devising a plan of prioritised risk improvements that can be discussed in collaboration with brokers. Zurich says it strongly supports the advice-led broker distribution model for general insurance, and has developed the app in recognition of the important role brokers play in helping their business clients receive the right insurance product for 0 their needs.
Removing frustrations experienced during the claims handling process is a key concern for new third-party administration (TPA) specialist Insurx. The business, launched by Claim Central Consolidated, couples insurance expertise with technology to improve visibility and communication as it seeks to make the process more effective for everyone involved. “We wanted to optimise what we saw as a gap in the market for a connected, transparent claims TPA offering,” Claim Central Group Chief Executive Brian Siemsen told Insurance News. The Sydney-based firm says it has worked alongside insurers, transacted more than 20,000 claims and collected performance data to support the launch of Insurx, which is also available initially in the US, South Africa and New Zealand. Insurx manages claims from start to finish on behalf of insurers, underwriters, brokers, self-insureds and fleet managers for property, motor, cyber and business SME. The business says it can offer a service focus or a more automated solution, can
use its own panel of builders or the client’s, and can manage claims on a business as usual basis or when there is a surge in demand. Technology is used to free up staff from menial tasks so they can focus on insureds, who benefit from real-time communication on the progress in handling their particular situation. “It’s not just about using our insurance expertise, it’s about walking in the customer’s shoes, showing empathy and finding a way to accept their claims,” Mr Siemsen says. Services include “real-time customer sentiment” monitoring, which sees insureds sent a question about their happiness along multiple claim touchpoints, allowing concerns to be quickly addressed. Insurx is led by Sam Ratcliff, who joined earlier this year after more than 14 years’ experience in insurance. Previously, he has worked at companies including Sedgwick and IAG. The new offering will help “clients enhance their claims handling capabilities and connect better with their customers”, 0 he says.
Separate path: Ryno Underwriting ready for growth Ryno Insurance Services, a specialist division of East West Insurance Brokers, is effectively dividing into two as the business expands its products and services. As a result of the changes, Ryno Underwriting will operate independently to provide brokers and authorised representatives with access to specialist insurance products for liability, property and personal accident and sickness. Ryno Insurance will remain a business-to-consumer focused unit, specialising in motor and hospitality. East West Managing Director Greg Rynenberg established the Ryno business in 2006, initially providing cover for vintage, classic, prestige and American
import vehicles and later expanding the offering. The changes will allow Ryno Underwriting to have a clearer identity. “As the Ryno Underwriting brand continues to grow and expand, we are totally committed to looking at and driving new ways to transact business, improve, adapt and interact with the intermediary market in an increasingly competitive industry,” Mr Rynenberg says. With the restructuring of the business units, the firm has also taken the opportunity to update its logo, introducing a more modern and simplified style. Capacity for Brisbane-based Ryno is 0 provided through Lloyd’s.
Mayor attends Adroit office opening Geelong Mayor Bruce Harwood cut the ribbon and welcomed guests to the opening of Adroit Insurance and Risk’s new state of the art office. Adroit began operating in the Victorian city more than 40 years ago and Managing Director Fabian Pasquini says the new premises reinforces its commitment to the area. The event began with the welcome to country and acknowledgement of the land before
guests were led upstairs for the formalities. The evening was also an opportunity to toast some other changes at the firm, with Jason Dowling joining as Managing Principal and Darrell Fenton stepping into a senior account manager role. The firm has more than 140 brokers and professionals based in nine locations across regional and metropolitan Victoria. The new office is at 380 Latrobe Terrace, Newtown.
High five: Chanthol Seng, left, and Meas Sophat mark MGA’s fifth anniversary of launching in Cambodia
MGA milestone: Cambodia office celebrates five years MGA Asia Insurance Brokers has celebrated the fifth anniversary of opening its Cambodian Phnom Penh office. The joint venture between Adelaidebased MGA and the Cambodian management now has a team of more than 20 people, and MGA says it is well placed to build on early successes as economic and infrastructure development in the country continues. “It certainly hasn’t felt like five years,” MGA Managing Director Paul George says. “We believe we are the largest broker there by a long way already and it is really growing for us.” The firm services clients from all areas of the economy and lines of business, supported by systems that have underpinned MGA’s expansion in Australia. The company has opened a representative office in Myanmar and will look at further opportunities. MGA was one of the first foreign brokers to be granted an insurance licence to operate in Phnom Penh after going through the approvals process. The broker’s founder and chairman John George already had a long association with the country at that time through the Australia Cambodia Foundation, which supports education projects for children. MGA Asia is led by Executive Chairman Meas Sophat who has worked in the insurance industry for more than a decade, while Executive Director Chanthol Seng also has extensive experience 0 in financial services.
Allianz inspires with broker training days Allianz held a series of broker training days across the country, to inspire and inform intermediaries. The theme was “moments that matter”, and the events held during August and September also offered networking opportunities. Master of Ceremonies was leadership expert Matt Church, while consumer futurist Amanda Stevens was keynote speaker. “By investing this time with us we expect that you will take away valuable market and industry insights and a greater appreciation for current challenges and opportunities,” Allianz Chief General Manager Broker & Agency David Hosking told attendees.
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Industry backs White Owl fundraiser This year’s annual White Owl charity fundraiser was a sell-out once again in August, with more than half the 300 attendees from the insurance industry. More than $70,000 raised at Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium will go to the Australian Prostate Centre, rounding out $250,000 given to worthy causes over four years. The charity, which raises awareness of men’s health issues, was established following the deaths of two close mates to prostate cancer and suicide. A holiday for two to Surfers Paradise, a photo package, a cosmetic gift pack, Bunnings gift voucher, a round of golf and double passes to the Australian Grand Prix were some of the raffle prizes up for grabs.
ARPC hosts seminar, drinks at Parliament House New South Wales Parliament House provided the venue for the Australian Reinsurance Pool Corporation (ARPC) fourth annual seminar and networking drinks. More than 100 representatives from the general insurance and government sectors attended the seminar, moving to the Fountain Court event space after the formal program. ARPC Chief Executive Christopher Wallace and Chief Underwriting Officer Michael Pennell outlined the group’s work, while terrorism experts provided the latest insights on key issues. Speakers included Alex Hill from the Federal Government’s Defence Science and Technology Group and Deakin University counter terrorism academic Greg Barton. The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation’s Counter Espionage and Interference Division presented on the espionage and foreign interference threat environment. 74
Resilium ARs have whale of a time The Resilium conference held at the Sheraton Mirage resort on the Gold Coast brought together the group’s network of authorised representatives from around the country in August. More than 350 people attended the event, which included a gala dinner on the first night and a trade show with 20 stands from major insurers. Conference speakers included surfing champion Layne Beachley, political commentator Peta Credlin and comedian and artist Anh Do, as the event inspired insurance advisers and the wider Resilium team to do all things “better”, in line with this year’s theme. Participants received an update on insurance industry trends for the year ahead and information to assist advisers in their businesses. In addition to the speaking sessions, activities on offer to delegates included jet boating, indoor skydiving and whale watching. Next year’s conference will be held in Queenstown, New Zealand, in August.
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Quill Club supports children’s charity The Quill Club annual charity lunch this year raised funds for Syndromes Without a Name (SWAN), which provides information and support for families caring for a child with an undiagnosed or rare genetic condition. SWAN President and founder Heather Renton spoke before more than 550 people at the event, highlighting the role of the organisation and the assistance it provides. Attendees were also moved as Abigail Burton talked about life with her son Matthew, who passed away in March after dealing with the condition and constant hospitalisations. The Quill Club lunch is one of the largest industry networking and charity days in Victoria and has previously supported groups such as Yellow Ladybugs, Commando Welfare Trust, Spinal Muscular Atrophy Australia and Parkinson’s Victoria. This year’s event was held at Central Pier in Melbourne’s Docklands and sponsored by Scott Winton Insurance Brokers. The lunch raised $45,000 including a $5000 donation from Insurance Advisernet.
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Sold-out dinner caps off APIG conference The energy of the Taikoz Drummers and the skill of an acrobatic duo entertained almost 500 people at the sold-out Australian Professional Indemnity Group Gala Dinner in Sydney. The dinner at the Sheraton Grand Sydney Hyde Park in August followed network drinks and capped off a conference program that tackled some of the major issues relevant to insurance. Colin Biggers & Paisley sponsored the evening event with Partner Amanda Ryding wrapping up themes from the conference in a brief speech and highlighting the role of the conference and dinner in bringing together participants. Conference presenters outlined trends and repercussions from the increased use of artificial intelligence and evolving cyber threats. An update was also given on the sexual harassment national inquiry and on building product problems. Fallout from the Hayne royal commission and the path that led to the inquiry were discussed by speakers including whistleblower Jeff Morris, who made public the failures of the Commonwealth Bankâ€™s financial planning arm.
AILA dinner draws a crowd
A record 190 guests, including C-suite executives, attended the Australian Insurance Law Association (AILA) Young Professionals Luminaries Dinner at the Sydney Opera House in August.
Insurance Council of Australia Chief Executive Rob Whelan was guest speaker, sharing his thoughts on challenges facing the industry following the Hayne royal commission.
The event was an opportunity for industry executives to network and exchange ideas with young professionals. Seating placements were changed for each course, enabling better interaction.
He predicts the industry will be transformed over the next decade as a result of the proposed reforms. AILA immediate past president Angus Kench says the night offers great value for C-suite and attendees alike.
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360Globalnet claims event is all round success More than 80 guests including brokers, underwriting agencies and supply chain partners turned out for 360Globalnet’s first digital technology claims event in Australia.
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The Digital Claims Journey took place in August at the Ovolo Hotel in Sydney’s Woolloomooloo, focusing on challenges and opportunities of digitalisation and practical ways of achieving it.
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There are plans to make the event an annual fixture, following positive feedback.
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Axa XL marks Bastille Day More than 250 brokers joined French insurance giant Axa XL to celebrate Bastille Day in July at the waterfront Pier 2 venue in Sydney. Invited guests enjoyed free-flowing champagne, wine, hors dâ€™oeuvres and, of course, cheese. The function room was decked out in blue, white and red, the colours of the French flag. Craig Langham, Regional Leader for Asia Pacific, and Country Leader for Australia Robin Johnson hosted the celebrations, thanking brokers for their support. George Winfull of Gallagher went home a lucky door prize winner, with a bottle of wine produced in one of Axaâ€™s vineyards in the south of France. The Bastille Day celebration is the first for the business since Axa acquired Bermuda-based XL Group in September last year.
UAC holds inaugural western Sydney expo The Underwriting Agencies Council (UAC) held its first expo in western Sydney as the group aims to make it easier for brokers to participate in the popular events. More than 200 brokers came through the doors for the Norwest expo, hosted at the Castle Hill RSL Club in August. The day provided an opportunity for brokers to meet with 58 exhibiting UAC members, and feedback about the inaugural event was positive. In March UAC held its annual Sydney Underwriting Expo at the Hyatt Regency in the CBD, while the Australian calendar this year also includes events in Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart and Perth.
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YIPs Gala Ball a ‘sellout success’ The Young Insurance Professionals (YIPs) Next Gen Insurance Leader Gala Ball was attended by 130 people and hailed a great success. The sold-out ball, which celebrates the insurance industry, was held at Brisbane’s Emporium Hotel South Bank in August. Emma Matteson, Assistant Underwriter at Pen Underwriting, won the Insurance Leader Award for her submission “How can we use data analytics to capture better risk insights and reengineer the claims process?” She was awarded a $5000 cash prize by Barry.Nilsson and is invited to speak next year at the event, which will be held in her home town of Sydney and is tentatively scheduled for May. Brisbane-based Alex White, Casualty Underwriter at Chubb Insurance, and Kendra Hooijberg, a Sydney-based underwriter at Allianz, were the other two finalists. YIPs says submissions demonstrated the high calibre of young professionals within its community.
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MGA hosts conference in grand style The annual MGA Broker Conference took place in August over three days at the five-star Grand Hyatt Melbourne hotel. MGA Whittles Group of Companies Executive Chairman John George and MGA Managing Director Paul George spoke at the event on the business and future directions. Award-winning social researcher Mark McCrindle and former AFL coach Mick Malthouse delivered the keynote speeches. On the final evening, attendees dressed up as their favourite sport icons for the dinner. Speed painter Brad Blaze drew portraits of Muhammad Ali, Roger Federer and Executive Chairman John George. The paintings of the boxing legend and tennis champion were auctioned for charity. With sponsorsâ€™ support, MGA raised almost $18,000 for mental health service Beyond Blue and AllKids, a charity in Cambodia for disadvantaged children. Suraâ€™s Managing Director Angie Zissis and his team sponsored 10 children, providing them with education and other support.
ANZIIF holds glittering awards night About 800 people turned out in August for the annual Australian Insurance Industry Awards at the Star Event Centre in Pyrmont, Sydney. The event, now in its 16th year, is hosted by the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance (ANZIIF) to celebrate the industry’s outstanding individual and company achievements. Prue Willsford, Chief Executive of ANZIIF, says the occasion is “always a special time of the year”. Hollard Insurance was the big winner, with the company crowned large general insurance company of the year and Chief Executive Richard Enthoven the insurance leader of the year. Marsh topped the large broking company category for the second year running and Warren Saunders Insurance Brokers was the small/ medium broking company of the year. CHU Underwriting Agencies was best in excellence in workplace diversity and inclusion and Club Marine Insurance claimed the underwriting agency of the year honours. Jillian Pancott of Sedgwick went home with the young insurance professional of the year prize. Other winners include Insurance Advisernet Australia (authorised representative group of the year), CPR Insurance Services (authorised representative business), RACT Insurance (small/medium general insurance company) and Lawcover (direct general insurance company). 94
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American International Group, Inc (AIG) is a leading global insurance organisation. Building on 100 years of experience, today AIG member companies provide a wide range of property casualty insurance, life insurance, retirement products, and other financial services to customers in more than 80 countries and jurisdictions. These diverse offerings include products and services that help businesses and individuals protect their assets, manage risks and provide for retirement security. AIG commmon stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. This document is provided as a general overview of the subject matter and should not be taken as providing any specific advice, legal or otherwise. Availability of cover modules is subject to underwriting approval. Insurance products are issued in Australia by AIG Australia Limited ABN 93 004 727 753 AFSL No 381686. AIG is the marketing name for the worldwide property-casualty, life and retirement, and general insurance operations of American International Group, Inc. For additional information, please visit our websites at www.AIG.com and www.AIG.com.au © AIG – All rights reserved.
PSC shines at Gold Coast conference More than 300 delegates attended the annual PSC Connect Australasian Conference at the Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort on the Gold Coast. A mix of authorised representatives (ARs) from Australia, New Zealand member brokers, insurer and underwriting agency partners, along with PSC staff heard from senior leaders on how the business aims to achieve the conference theme of â€œbigger, better, strongerâ€?. The welcome dinner sponsored by BOQ Finance at the Yot Club had guests also enjoying a tour around Gold Coast waters. At the iQumulate-sponsored gala dinner held at the Miami Marketta venue, delegates enjoyed streetstyle cuisine while a live band and magician provided entertainment,
and winners of the annual PSC Connect Authorised Representative prizes received their awards. Heather Lander of StrataAdvise Insurance took home the rising star prize, PSC Connect IT Services Manager Peter Haritos claimed high achiever honours and Aaron Stephenson of Aviation & Marine General Insurance is Australian AR of the year. A surprise after-party at the Gin Parlour capped the gala night. PSC raised $30,000 for the nominated conference charity, Surf Life Saving Queensland, through raffles, donations and insurer contributions. The amount raised broke all previous records. The conference turns 10 next year and the milestone event will be held in Singapore.
By Sam Pentecost Contributor
ou probably don’t recognise Bill Wood, but you’d be very familiar with his work. Bill is a cartoonist, producing the whimsical little pieces that have appeared in Insurance News from Day One. However, what Bill knows about insurance is about as much as you’d expect from someone who runs a thriving little business selling his skills around the world via the internet. In other words, not much. That’s never been a problem, however. The thinking is done by the
editorial team, and Bill receives a brief to follow to which he adds his magic. In the wider world you’ll find Bill’s designs on just about everything – canned food labels, kids’ books, animated movies, maps he’s drawn for cities around the world. You name it, Bill’s drawn it. If you’d like to use Bill for anything from a one-off birthday card to a portrait or a corporate special or a logo or whatever you can think of, you’ll find him at 0 www.illustration.com.au.
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This information is general advice only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situations or needs. You should obtain and consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement and Policy Wording (as applicable) from zurich.com.au before making a decision. The issuer of general insurance products is Zurich Australian Insurance Limited (ZAIL), ABN 13 000 296 640, AFS Licence Number 232507 of 5 Blue Street, North Sydney NSW 2060. ZU24007 V1 0819 LEWG-014866-2019
It’s 10 years since Insurance News magazine was launched, and this month’s special anniversary edition looks back over the big industry issu...
Published on Oct 1, 2019
It’s 10 years since Insurance News magazine was launched, and this month’s special anniversary edition looks back over the big industry issu...