Steadfast : Everything you need to know

Steadfast: Everything you need to know

Headquarters address

Level 4, 99 Bathurst Street, Sydney, New South Wales 2000, Australia

Year established

1996

Size (employees)

400+

Global locations

Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, UK

Network gross written premiums

$9.8 billion (2021)

Underwriting expertise

Aviation, business interruption, business pack, contract works, corporate travel, cyber, events, farm, marine, management liability, product liability, professional indemnity, public liability, trade credit, workers' compensation, home and contents, landlord, life, motor, and strata insurance

Key people

Robert Kelly (managing director & CEO), Stephen Humphrys (chief financial officer), Samantha Hollman (chief operating officer), Allan Reynolds (executive general manager - Asia, New Zealand and domestic), Nick Cook (executive general manager - partner & broker services), Peter Roberts (executive general manager - business solutions), Martyn Thompson (executive general manager – corporate development), Jeff Papps (executive general manager - operations & acquisitions), John O'Herlihy (executive general manager - operations & acquisitions), Duncan Ramsay (general counsel), Linda Ellis (group company secretary and  corporate counsel), Sheila Baker (executive general manager, compliance and customer experience)

About Steadfast

Industry giant Steadfast is the largest insurance broker network and underwriting group in Australasia, bringing over 457 general insurance brokerages and 24 underwriting agencies together under one easily-recognised banner.

The group is comprised of three distinct business units – its broker network, underwriting agencies, and complementary businesses, which focus on the intermediated general insurance market.

Steadfast: History

While Steadfast is currently the largest broker network in Australasia, the group actually has fairly modest origins, opening its doors in April 1996 with just 43 brokers.

Initially born out of frustration, the firm was launched to help independent brokers, who were struggling to compete against larger multinational brokerages, which had far greater buying power when dealing with insurers. In order to address the issue, Steadfast allowed smaller independent brokers to come together and pool their gross written premium under one banner – all the while maintaining their unique brand and identity.

The greater scale and size gave independent brokers leverage equal to their larger counterparts, significantly levelling the playing field.

Clearly servicing a need, the network grew rapidly and, in 2005, the group acquired a 50% stake in Miramar Underwriting Agency.

By 2013, the network comprised of 278 brokers who were achieving $3.9 billion in GWP and five underwriting agencies with a GWP of $114 million. In August of the same year, the group was listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.

In 2014, the recently-listed Steadfast acquired the second-largest broker network in New Zealand and established its own reinsurance firm, Steadfast Re, in a 50% owned joint venture.

Since then, the group has continued its upwards trajectory, reaching an ASX market capitalization in excess of $5 billion by 2021. In the same year, its network had grown to include more than 450 brokerages, accounting for $9.8 billion GWP. Meanwhile, its underwriting network had expanded to include 24 agencies, writing $1.48 billion in GWP.

Steadfast: Broker network

The Steadfast network includes over 450 general insurance brokerages across Australasia who have access to over 160 products and services.

The group’s network model is unique in that it offers brokers the choice between remaining independently owned and operated or, alternatively, having Steadfast take an equity stake in their business.

Steadfast also operates under a system it refers to as the ‘offer and acceptance’ model, where products and services on offer aren’t compulsory, but the broker network chooses what is best for their unique business and client base.

Due to the size and scale of the network, Steadfast brokers gain access to benefits that are unavailable to purely independent brokers. These include improved policy wordings, broker services and technology, as well as triage support for challenging claims.

In FY21, the broker network’s GWP increased to $9.8 billion, representing around 30% of the Australian intermediated general insurance market.

Steadfast: Underwriting agencies

In addition to the expansive broker network, Steadfast’s underwriting agency group is the largest of its kind in Australasia, with 24 agencies and over 100 products.

Much like the broker network, each of the agencies retains its own independent brand. The group designs, develops and provides specialist products and services to brokers both inside and outside of the Steadfast broker network

In FY21, the underwriting network delivered a GWP of $1.48 billion – representing an increase of 11.5% over the previous year.

Steadfast: Complementary businesses

Steadfast’s broker and underwriting partners can also gain support from seven complementary businesses which are part of the Steadfast group – these include Steadfast Technologies, Steadfast Business Solutions, Work Health options, Steadfast Re, Steadfast Life, Macquarie Pacific Funding and Meridian Lawyers.

Steadfast offers a wide range of business insurance, including aviation, business interruptions, contract works, corporate travel, cyber, events, farm, marine, management liability, product liability, professional indemnity, public liability, trade credit, and workers’ compensation.

The group also offers a range of personal insurance, across the home and contents, landlord, life, motor and strata sectors.

Steadfast: International expansion

While Steadfast’s primary presence is in Australia, the group’s key growth strategy is to extend its international reach. It now has 71 network brokers in New Zealand and Asia.

In 2017, Steadfast increased its international presence by acquiring a 40% stake in unisonSteadfast, which is one of the world’s largest general insurance broker networks with 260 brokers in 140 countries. By 2021, the unit has billings in excess of US$35 billion ($50.5 billion)

Steadfast: Insurtech

In 2016, Steadfast launched the Steadfast Client Trading Platform (SCTP), which is a digital marketplace giving brokers automated access to all insurer partners. The platform offers brokers a single screen comparing policies and prices from insurers.

The SCTP is now active across six of Steadfast’s insurance lines with 14 insurer and underwriting agency partners connected. In FY21, over $793 million of GWP was transacted through the platform and Steadfast embarked on a plan to begin monetising the system.

Steadfast also operates its own client data management system known as INSIGHT, which gives brokers a single view of a customer’s business – 181 brokerages are now live on the platform.

Steadfast: Corporate social responsibility

One of Steadfast’s most prominent corporate social responsibility initiatives is the Steadfast Foundation, which was established in 2011 to facilitate grants and donations to support charities helping people overcome adversity.

Charities are often chosen based on recommendations from brokers although the Steadfast Foundation Board is responsible for reviewing all grant applications based on a selection process which considers factors such as ongoing strategy, partnerships, sustainability, commitment to excellence and leverage potential.

The foundation typically donates around 1% of net profit after tax to charitable causes each financial year and, in its first 10 years, the foundation made a combined total of $1.3 million in donations to a variety of charities including Assistance Dogs Australia, Children’s Cancer Institute, Make A Wish, The Salvation Army, The Returned Services League and the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

In FY2021, Steadfast Foundation donated $502,958 to charities. Steadfast Group also made an additional one-off donation to the foundation of $1 million, in recognition of the support some members of the group received from the Jobkeeper Scheme implemented as COVID-19 support by the Australian Federal Government.

 

Steadfast : In the news