Though it’s been a challenging time for all in the insurance industry, the last year and a half has been particularly eventful for the underwriting agency ProRisk.
First, it was hit by a cyberattack in June 2019, though the company’s fast identification of the security breach meant that no personal identifiable information was accessed. Then, in February this year, it changed from Lloyd’s to Swiss Re for a number of business lines, securing a new binder agreement on new and renewal financial lines, casualty, property and accident and health insurance. And then, of course, COVID-19 hit.
According to ProRisk’s executive director Hamish McDonald Nye (pictured above), at the core of the company’s resilience and continued success during this period has been a strong company culture. “We’ve always been a team that supports one another and values effective leadership and mentoring, which has really helped us navigate these difficult situations,” he told Insurance Business.
With offices in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, ProRisk was recently recognised as the winner of the Underwriting Agencies Council Australian Underwriting Agency of the Year at the Insurance Business Australia Awards. From Nye’s perspective, the award “lifted the whole team’s morale” and serves as a sign that their hard work and perseverance is being noticed by the industry.
“Though we thought that we had an excellent case for the award, we didn’t expect or assume that we would win and so it really came as a wonderful surprise,” he said.
“We’ve recruited exceedingly well – not only is the ProRisk team made up of very talented individual underwriters and insurance professionals, but, together, we share a commitment to working in a nimble, agile and transformational company. This alignment of culture and values has helped everyone feel part of something bigger and has undoubtedly contributed to our success.”
Having started out as a financial lines broker with Blackburn Insurance Brokers, Nye has been at the helm of ProRisk since 2017. His goal is to transform it into "the leading digitally enabled underwriting agency in Australia", and with several recent product launches on ProRisk’s proprietary quote/bind trading platform ProBind, the company seems to be well on its way.
One of these products is a management liability policy for sole traders and partnerships, which is intended to provide coverage for uninsured exposures. As Nye sees it, such a product will allow ProRisk to more easily break into sectors such as farming and agriculture insurance.
“This product helps us capture a market where brokers haven’t traditionally been able to insure their clients, since a great majority of the farming and agriculture sector isn’t corporately structured,” he noted. “Having ProBind in place has certainly made a substantial difference to the business, as 1,500 people have already used it, with $1 million worth of premium transacted thus far.”
In addition to this online quote/bind system, ProRisk has also implemented substantial change in its approach to education. With COVID-19 making in-person learning impossible in many situations, the company has pivoted to an online CPD strategy centred on webinars. Since June, they’ve held 25 webinars with over 4,500 brokers participating, and some webinars being oversubscribed.
“Learning and development is a point of emphasis for ProRisk,” Nye said. “For example, we’ve refashioned our twice-yearly roadshow into a suite of webinars that offer CPD opportunities and will continue to provide this kind of support for the industry moving forward.”
“Overall, our focus remains on being true to the vision that we’ve set out while also continuing to improve the experience for brokers and other business partners that we work with,” Nye added. “We’re looking to continue to create solutions that are aligned to our partners and enable us to offer more value than a normal underwriting agency. Whether it’s providing the ability to lodge claims online or quote and bind online across multiple products, ProRisk will be responsive to opportunities and needs that arise.”