CHU Underwriting Agencies began business in Sydney in 1978 under the name Corporate Home Unit Underwriting. Today, it provides residential strata insurance, commercial strata insurance, community association insurance, landlords insurance and contents insurance. CHU is part of the Steadfast Group, the largest insurance broker network and underwriting group in Australasia.
According to CHU, it created the first strata plan insurance policy in Australia. More than 40 years later, it is now one of the largest underwriting agencies in Australia and covers close to one million apartments, units, and townhouses across the country, with almost $500 billion in insured value.
Due to its extensive experience in strata insurance, CHU has a recommended prestige repairer network, which aims to ensure that property owners get the best value and workmanship out of property repairs.
With the rise of short-term letting through platforms such as Airbnb and Booking.com, CHU offers a specialised insurance product for short-stay rentals, which addresses exposures traditional landlords insurance cannot cover.
Aside from strata insurance, CHU also offers travel insurance under the ‘CHUiSAVER Travel’ brand.
CHU’s policies are underwritten by QBE Insurance (Australia) Ltd, one of the largest insurers in Australia.
Key people as of 2019
Bobby Lehane, CEO
Lehane was appointed CEO of CHU Underwriting Agencies, a subsidiary of Steadfast Group, in April 2015. Prior to joining the strata insurance specialist, he was with Zurich for seven years, holding various roles such as executive general manager of the SME segment, then, later, its billion-dollar commercial insurance segment.
Steadfast managing director and CEO Robert Kelly described Lehane as having “an impressive track record of building high-performance teams, leading transformation and change, leveraging technology and delivering results.”
Steve Tchepak, national underwriting manager
Tchepak has been with CHU since 2008, first joining as a commercial underwriter, before becoming underwriting manager for NSW/ACT in 2013. In 2018 he was named national senior underwriter before transitioning into the national underwriting manager role. Prior to CHU, he was a strata manager.
Annette Lees, national liability claims manager
Lees, who has been in the insurance industry for almost 30 years, joined CHU in July 2003. She began as national liability claims consultant before being named national liability claims manager. She has worked with several insurance companies in Australia, including Commercial Union, FAI, QBE, and GIO.
According to CHU chief executive Bobby Lehane, the company’s culture focuses on promotion from within. Lehane pointed out that in 2018, 7% of the company’s staff were promoted. “It demonstrates the depth of our talent which enables us to focus on promotion from within,” Lehane said.
The company is also committed to diversity and inclusion, as shown by its nomination for excellence in the category in the 2019 ANZIIF Awards.
In February 2019, CHU staff donated $1,350 to the Black Dog Institute through an art initiative to create a calendar, with each month handled by a different department. The Black Dog Institute conducts research aiming to reduce the incidence of mental illness and the stigma around it. It works to actively reduce suicide rates and empower Australians to take care of their mental health.
Awards open for nominations
Winners chosen based on seven key aspects of underwriting agencies' service
"Industry-first integration" to benefit brokers and strata managers