A new association which provides help and support for authorised representatives in Australia has launched this month.
The Authorised Representatives Group, registered with ASIC, also aims to be an information portal for ARs across Australia.
Caryn Cramp, ARG’s inaugural president told Insurance Business that we set up the association because there simply wasn’t support for ARs.
“There is no representation for ARs. Everything is focused on the licence holder insurance broker. Some cluster groups have shareholders but we are not-for-profit. We are all about sharing information among ARs, whether it be an AR who doesn’t know which accountant to use or an AR that needs a specialist risk underwritten.”
There are approximately 30,000 registered ARs in Australia. The association aims to sign up 1,000 by the end of the year, which will provide it with enough members to organise discussions around setting up subcommittees in each state.
“We want people to voice their ideas as to what they want the ARG to provide.”
Cramp, who has her own AR business, Isis Insurance Consulting, already has some ideas on what the association will deliver.
“We will create an industry agreement that any AR can use, and that is approved by all the main cluster groups like Steadfast, the National Insurance Brokers’ Association, Australian and New Zealand Institute for Insurance and Finance, IBNA, AIM, and the Australian Professional Indemnity Group.”
ARG also wants to provide ARs with training resources including courses on how to run a business
“ARs have to do a lot more advanced things than a licence holder but most of the training courses organised by cluster groups focus on particular classes of risk,” Cramp said. “We feel compliance training should workers compensation, instant reporting, and occupational health and safety. ARs have a duty of care.”
The ARG is also considering marketing and communication courses for ARs.
“Brokers can do the day-to-day stuff but what about running the business? They might not know how to do that,” Cramp added.
Another benefit Cramp, and the ARG secretary Robbie Mauldon and co-founder of the Underwriting Agencies Council are aiming for is to secure deals with insurers to underwrite specialist risk for ARG members at competitive prices.
“If an AR can’t get a risk underwritten, we will ask members to anonymously say if they have that line of business and then estimate the turnover an AR would make. If enough ARs responded, we could show the insurer there is AR support for a risk and the insurer will underwrite it at a competitive rate with special policy wording just for our members.”
But there is also an element of raising public awareness, as Cramp explains: “We want people to realise that just because an AR might be small, doesn’t mean they are not professional, and it doesn’t mean they are inadequate. They can tap into specialist markets just as much as anyone else.”
There is no joining fee for the first year for ASIC-registered ARs.
The ARG membership fee is approximately $100 plus GST for individuals and corporates, slightly more. Other benefits include a free first call legal advice when protecting the ownership, access and integrity of their clients
To become a member, ARs must be ASIC registered and have a licence holder. Each application is examined before it is approved.
“ARs are important and should be proud of what they do,” Cramp added.
To find out more about the ARG and sign up, visit the website here.