Lockton Companies, regarded as the world’s largest privately owned insurance broker, recently acquired Perth-based Zenith Insurance Services. This addition to Lockton’s Australian operations is being led by Ian Maybury (pictured above), the firm’s national manager for health and community services.
Maybury agreed to discuss the acquisition of the Perth brokerage – that counts health and community services as one of its speciality areas – and how it will help Lockton deal with the challenges in this sector.
“The issue of employee retention and attraction in the health and community services sectors, especially the aged care industry, is now critical,” said Maybury.
He said a report recently published by the National Skills Commission found that the aged care and disability care sector has more than 74,000 job vacancies.
“Furthermore, the outcomes of recent Royal Commissions, which have impacted the health and community services sectors both directly and indirectly, have raised the governance, regulatory and public expectations for all organisations and their leaders, particularly those involved in the provision of services to vulnerable people,” he said.
Maybury said these challenges add to an already challenging insurance space and demonstrate “now more than ever” the need for specialist expertise to navigate the exposures presented by both insurable and non-insurable risks.
Lockton’s acquisition of Zenith, he suggested, increases his firm’s ability to deal with an increasingly complex insurance space and the challenges faced by businesses working in it.
“What excites me [about the acquisition], is the national footprint of advisors that this unlocks,” said Maybury. “Our clients will have access to the best in the business, no matter where they are based.”
He said this new combined team of specialist risk advisors have an in-depth understanding of the current challenges faced by customers “allowing us to work with our clients to utilise insurance as an enabler to assist in the continued provision of services to the most vulnerable in our community.”
The challenges in the health and community services sector – and the timing of this acquisition – come at a time when Lockton’s clients in this space are diversifying their businesses.
“Increasingly our clients are diversifying their activities across primary healthcare, aged care and into community services,” said Maybury. “While all risks being faced by these organisations are not insurable, understanding what the risks are and the risk management solutions available is vital, particularly as they engage in their diversified services.”
Lockton already services clients across these sectors. Maybury said the acquisition “further demonstrates this commitment,” in retirement living, aged care, Aboriginal medical health services and community service organisations, primary healthcare and community services.
For example, he said several of the largest hospital groups in Australia depend on Lockton, with the firm’s presence and services now extending to include large hospitals across most states in Australia.
In the retirement living space, Maybury said his firm is the preferred industry insurance partner for the Retirement Living Council who represent more than 2,200 member companies.
Zenith, a specialist insurance broker, began as a small office in Western Australia in 2001. Today, the company has clients in every state and territory. Zenith will retain its name under a new specialty health and community services business called Lockton-Zenith. The firm’s managing director, Kim Gilbert, is staying in the business and, according to a media release, playing a leadership role alongside Maybury.
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“We recognise our clients now need access to specialists with a national and global footprint, wherever they are based,” said Gilbert. “Lockton will work in collaboration with our existing talent to set new standards for the services and value we can deliver.”
Lockton was founded in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1966 and now has more than 8,500 employees globally. This year, the firm’s operations in Australia, run by Lockton Pacific CEO Paul Marsden, marked their 10th anniversary. When the Australian division started in 2012, its head office was also in Perth. Since then, 23 employees have grown to more than 200 associates across 10 offices nationwide.