CEO lifts lid on Envest’s three-way merger

"It's not about bigger"

CEO lifts lid on Envest’s three-way merger

Insurance News

By Daniel Wood

“One of the points I want to make is it’s not about bigger,” said Travis Kemp (pictured above). “It’s actually about the collective, the expertise within the group and bringing these under a single banner.”

Melbourne-based Kemp is the new CEO of Aviso Specialty, a broking entity that involves the merger of three businesses. The move, announced by Envest Group in early February, brings together more than 130 staff that together write upwards of $260 million in gross written premium (GWP).

The three Envest businesses are: Fitzpatrick & Co Insurance Brokers, Arete Risk and Insurance Solutions and Amicus Insurance Services. According to the media release shared with Insurance Business, the completion date for the merger is the end of June.

Growth a major driver

Kemp is a director at Arete Risk, a business that started operations early last year. He said the major driver for this merger was business growth.

“We had the Arete business which was growing really rapidly,” said Kemp. “That was Envest’s first foray into the corporate marketplace that traditionally has been the domain of the international brokers.”

He put part of this success down to the timing of Arete’s entrance into the market. However, it was this “extraordinarily” rapid growth that entailed a need for new infrastructure and support.

The “first step” that would eventually lead to a three-way merger, said Kemp, was a conversation with Phil Sholl, Arete’s CEO.

“We started to have some conversations about how we could enable Fitzpatrick infrastructure potentially to support the Arete business,” he said.

Future planning for three firms

That conversation evolved, said Kemp, to include succession and future planning at both the Fitzpatrick and the Amicus businesses.

“Both [Fitzpatrick and Amicus] have strong track records under some great leadership for a long period of time but that leadership was asking, ‘What is the next chapter for me?’,” he said.

Kemp said there was also “really great emerging talent” at all three businesses to take care of.

Servicing micro-SMEs to large corporates

“Frankly, the conversations flowed quite easily into discussing the opportunity to bring these businesses together and provide what I think is quite unique in the Australia marketplace and that is a business that can service right from the micro-SME end through to the large corporate end,” he said.

Kemp said the merged entity’s Australia-wide geographical presence is just “the cherry on top.”

However, a “critical aspect” of this proposition, he said, is keeping the service model as simple as possible to allow clients to easily navigate their options.

A response to insurance challenges

Kemp said that this new broking entity and what it offers is a response to the insurance challenges of recent years, including the insurance pricing and coverage issues impacting the corporate client base.

The insurance market, he said, was going through a period of “relatively significant remediation.”

“It had gone through some really challenging moments both from a natural catastrophe perspective and the pandemic,” said Kemp. “Clients were coming out of that period ready to challenge the norm.”

He said the service proposition that results from this three-way merger “really resonates with the client base” and aims to provide them with “a greater contribution to their insurance outcomes.”

Kemp said the advice component “is essential.”

“There’s no doubt there are elements of insurance pricing that are dictated by a multitude of micro performances,” he said. “So it is that advice around structure.”

The other important ingredient, said Kemp, is his firm’s retention strategy.

“How we manage our risks to give us greater confidence to retain the balance sheet versus transferring to the insurance market,” he said.

More about the three brokerages

Fitzpatrick & Co is a general insurance broker specialising in SMEs and coverages for horticultural businesses. The Melbourne-based firm writes more than $120 million in GWP.

Arete was established in 2023 and provides risk advice to corporate clients and has a national and international network of insurance suppliers. The brokerage is forecast to write nearly $140 million GWP in 2024.

Amicus is an authorised representative of Resilium Insurance Broking (an Envest company). The firm provides a range of insurances to individuals and businesses across NSW and Queensland.

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