Inside an award-winning brokerage

Inside an award-winning brokerage | Insurance Business

Inside an award-winning brokerage

The trophy cabinet at Austbrokers Coast to Coast is bursting with industry accolades – and CEO Dale Hansen says it’s all down to putting clients first.

When it comes to winning awards, Austbrokers Coast to Coast seems to have cracked the code – in recent years, both the brokerage and its CEO have received a long list of industry accolades, and the organisation now describes itself as “the most-awarded brokerage” in Australia.

It’s no surprise, then, that many in the industry are growing increasingly curious about what sets Austbrokers Coast to Coast apart from its competitors. But CEO Dale Hansen insists there’s no big mystery behind the organisation’s success – he says it all comes down to the quality service the brokerage provides its customers and the strong relationships staff build with clients.

“We always put the client first and do the right thing, irrespective of costs,” Hansen says. “Clients will buy from people they trust, so we focus on advice rather than price. We’ll always recommend the right program for the client, even if they choose to accept a quote from another broker based on price.”

Of course, being recognised as the best in the business on multiple occasions could easily send an organisation’s ego through the roof – but Hansen says the team never lets the praise go to their heads.

“It’s difficult not to become complacent, so we continue to set the bar high and take steps to ensure we’re striving to do better,” says Hansen, who was also featured on the inaugural Insurance Business Global 100 list late last year. Part of that, he explains, involves never taking the customer for granted. One of Hansen’s golden rules is that every client should be treated as if they’re an honoured guest.

“We recognise that we’re dependent on the client rather than the client being dependent on us,” he says. “Ultimately, the client is doing us a favour by giving us the opportunity to serve them.”

Austbrokers Coast to Coast also understands the importance of having highly trained employees who are well supported and recognise the value of excellent customer service.

“Clients will buy from people they trust, so we focus on advice rather than price. We’ll always recommend the right program for the client, even if they choose to accept a quote from another broker based on price”

“Our people are the ones who deliver the service that wins us awards, so we invest heavily in their development,” Hansen says. “We continually train our staff to deliver the very high level of service that our customers are accustomed to and consistently reinforce our ethos that the client is the most important visitor to our business.”

However, while Austbrokers Coast to Coast is currently enjoying significant success, it hasn’t always been that way – in fact, Hansen is credited with “turning the company on its head” after he made the bold decision to adopt a full advice model.

Moving to a full advice model was a huge change,” he admits. “We moved into a sphere of broking that was dominated by internationals and very large independent brokerages.”

The risky step required a proactive approach, so the team reached out to both current and past clients to gain a better perspective on what they were looking for from their insurance broker. 

“We focused on what each staff member was doing, why they were doing it and what skill set each individual had – then we aligned those skills to our clients’ specific needs,” Hansen says. “This was a long and exhaustive process, which culminated in changes to the team, as we needed to engage with our clients in a different and better way.”

According to Hansen, these changes had a huge impact on the business, resulting in Austbrokers Coast to Coast becoming more agile and more attuned to its clients’ needs.

“Our staff have more autonomy and are empowered to deal with any situation they fi nd themselves in,” he says. “Team members are encouraged to take extreme ownership of situations and accept total accountability for those decisions. This has delivered new and better service for our clients and built more meaningful relationships with them.”