Dawes Underwriting Australia : Everything you need to know

Dawes Underwriting Australia: Everything you need to know

Established: 1987

Number of employees: Around 10

Headquarters: Bathurst Street, Sydney, NSW

Key figures: Chris Quick (Motor underwriting manager), Simon Lightbody (CEO, Steadfast Underwriting Agencies)

Dawes Underwriting Australia, also known as Dawes Motor Insurance, is a specialist motor underwriting agency that focuses on high-value vehicles, including rare, prestige, and performance cars, as well as high-end motorcycles.

With over 30 years’ experience in specialist motor insurance, Dawes is part of Steadfast Underwriting Agencies, one of the largest underwriting agency groups in Australasia, with over 25 agencies under its wing, and $914 million in gross written premiums annually. Steadfast is headed by Simon Lightbody, who founded Miramar Underwriting Agency in 2005. Miramar was later absorbed into Steadfast in 2013.

Dawes was previously part of the Calliden Group, which was acquired in 2014 by Steadfast for a net value of $55 million. Following the purchase, Steadfast sold Calliden Insurance Ltd, as well as the Business Package and Middle Market Agencies portfolios to Munich Re. It kept Dawes and seven other agencies – ARGIS Farmpack, Builders’ Warranty, Calliden Home, IUA business interruption, Mansions and Accident and Health, and 50% of QUS strata.

In April 2017, Dawes Underwriting and Allianz entered a partnership, where the German insurance giant took over as the new underwriter of Dawes’ motor insurance products, which were previously handled by Great Lakes.

Hard-to-find cover

With its specialist vehicle focus, Dawes can arrange cover, through insurance intermediaries, for a wide variety of vehicles, some of which may find difficulty finding appropriate cover. These include classic/vintage cars, exotic vehicles, hot rods, street machines, and heavily-modified vehicles. These are under high-end and exotic makes such as Rolls-Royce, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Alfa Romeo, and Harley Davidson. Import vehicles such as US pick-ups are also accepted.

The agency works with brokers to find cover for vehicles used in niche applications, such as dirt bikes, stretch limousines, hearses, off-road race cars, ex-military vehicles, and film set vehicles. It can arrange cover for related risks such as driving instructors and storage cover for racecars. It will also assist ‘troubled prestige drivers’ who may have lost their licence in the last five years.

Flexibility is key

According to Dawes, some vehicles are as unique as the people who drive them, so it assesses each situation on a case-to-case basis to ensure the appropriate cover. It employs a dedicated motor underwriter with decision-making authority and who is knowledgeable in specialist vehicle risks. If they wish, clients can choose their own repairer, or the agency can refer a specialist auto workshop from its expert repair network.

In order to create a more efficient claims experience, Dawes created an online quote tool named Xccelerate, which aims to handle quotes with a turnaround time of one day.

Awards gained

In 2017, Chris Quick, motor underwriting manager of Dawes, was named as one of the Insurance Business Young Guns, which names the 35 most promising young brokers in the Australian insurance industry, as judged by their colleagues, managers, and peers.

Quick joined Dawes in 2011 as a motor underwriter, before being promoted to team leader. There, he demonstrated his impact by improving several business processes and building strong relationships with brokers. This led to his appointment as motor underwriting manager, where he focuses on business development. He oversaw the agency as it changed ownership from Calliden to Steadfast, as well as changing insurers from Great Lakes to Allianz.

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