Steadfast is working on a number of initiatives to improve the performance of its network of brokers including further developing Project 360, Steadfast Direct, hubbing and working on financial performance benchmarking.
Project 360°, which will automate certain key back office transactions, was piloted with the Sydney hub. The initiative aims to make the process of collecting premiums and distributing them to insurance companies "smoother, more cost-effective and less time consuming for its brokers".
Steadfast CEO and managing director Robert Kelly
told Insurance Business
that it planned to showcase the system in April 2015. He added: "Once we are convinced the first one is right, it will be simple to roll [it out to the other hubs]."
Speaking at the Annual General Meeting yesterday, Kelly told shareholders that brokers remain central to the group: “The Steadfast Network Brokers remain core to our business model. We provide services to 306 including 54 equity owned brokers. All brokers are treated equally whether we have a stake in them or not.”
Kelly said underwriting agencies remain a key growth area for the group and will seek to acquire more niche agencies and start-up ventures, adding that there is a “strong pipeline of potential acquisitions.
“Brokers and underwriting agencies are our prime target.”
The broker network also plans to integrate acquired businesses into the group as well as improve margins and build and develop our relationships with Strategic Partners.
But another focus will also be capital management: “As the Steadfast team delivered on all key financial expectations in FY14, the board approved raising the Group’s debt levels from the conservative 15%, established for the first year of ASX listing, to 20%,” Kelly explained. “We continue to monitor the group’s capital needs in the light of the many opportunities that are being presented to us.
“We will not hesitate to ask shareholders for more capital to finance growth where we consider it will be accretive to shareholders.”