MGA Insurance Brokers
Last years’ ranking:
PAUL GEORGE, GENERAL MANAGER
What’s been the highlight of the last year for your business?
This would need to be moving into new territories. During the last financial year, we completed operations in Canberra and Caboolture in Queensland, and we are in the process of completing a new joint venture in Shepparton. In addition to this, we officially opened our new Asia operations in Phnom Penh. The other highlight has been the release of our new ‘pay by the month’ initiative for small retail business. This is an in-house initiative and the early take-up has been quite significant. It has been two years in the making, so it was nice to see it released in mid-June.
What is one thing you did differently this year, and why?
Operationally, we are working towards a refreshed document management solution, which includes policy wording management. This is a major project. We are also busy working through our enhanced training platform. From a broking perspective, preparing for changing conditions is something which needs to be done effectively. I am confident that we are well prepared.
When it comes to an insurance brokerage, is bigger better, and why?
In recent years we have seen improved services in all corners of our business through the collective group rather than the individual offices. Some do this better than others, and we are seeing some real benefits come through now. This is a significant benefit of size. The other challenge is the scalability of your business model. I think having a medium-sized team working within a larger group is where it’s at. There are significant benefits to being agile and nimble in the market, while relationships are still key and allow important leverage from scale. I think this is the magic combination, the ‘Holy Grail’. This can probably be encapsulated by the Austbrokers
mantra, “National Strength, Individual Commitment”.
What would you name as the biggest challenge of the last year?
You would have to say that market and economic conditions were quite volatile and probably represented the biggest challenge. We saw a lot of merger/acquisition activity of some large accounts as well as a fair share of failure of some businesses as well. Things which are outside of our control, compounded by soft market conditions, create new challenges and opportunities. It’s how we deal with these challenges today that defines our future.
Where do you think the growth opportunities lie for brokers in the years ahead?
I think there is plenty of opportunity in the SME and middle-market space – this really is our sweet spot, and properly serviced I believe it will continue to thrive. It’s the area where our value is most recognised and will continue to be. At the lower end of SME, we need to get smarter with distribution. I don’t see us as competitors to the direct markets. As brokers, provided we have the best solution and networks, we will not only maintain presence but grow as well.