NIBA’s annual convention wrapped up in the Gold Coast yesterday, after two days of educational sessions from some of the industry’s most prominent names.
Hollard founder Richard Enthoven, Australian Olympic gold medalist Kieren Perkins and senior Suncorp manager Beverley Bradley were among the speakers on the first day.
Taking to the stage in the afternoon, Bradley – who has been distribution partners manager for Suncorp since 2017 – addressed the issue of rapid and ongoing change within the insurance industry.
“In the world that we’re in now, where insurance is insurance is insurance, how do you stand out?” she asked the audience. “How are you different to the person sitting next to you?”
Ultimately, Bradley pointed to the importance of highly skilled staff, who are well equipped to adapt in the rapidly changing environment.
“It’s your capability and the people you have in your business who are going to make a difference in this world of change,” she stressed, before spruiking Suncorp’s NIBA-accredited Learning Campus.
“The sole purpose of it is to lift the capability of your people and help them deal with the changes that are happening at the moment – it’s not product stuff, it’s not technical stuff, it’s professional skills and soft skills, because that’s what makes the difference,” she said.
“If you can’t have the conversation, if you can’t negotiate with the customer, if you can’t get that deal across the line, it doesn’t matter how much technical knowledge you have.”
On the second day, attendees had access to sessions on a wide range of topics, including the Royal Commission, the Internet of Things, retaining clients, and securing coverage for hard to place risks.
Ingrid Anderson, executive director of Steadfast Placement Solutions, which is the internal wholesale arm of Steadfast, acknowledged that hard to place risks are becoming more common.
‘At SPS, by definition, all we do is find capacity for hard to place SME and middle-market commercial risks,” she told the audience. “What we are finding is that the phrase hard to place is becoming more and more widely used and is now including risks which, 18 months ago, would have seemed vanilla and would have been swallowed up by all the local insurers.”
However, while brokers may be coming up against hard to place risks with more frequency, Anderson did assure the audience that the market isn’t all doom and gloom.
“We have a team of nine brokers in both Australia and London, and last year we saw over 2,500 quote request submissions from the network, made up from multiple classes, including property, liability, professional lines and marine,” she said.
“The SPS team provided bindable quotes on 80% of the business we received, and I think that shows that there are insurance markets out there which are still writing hard to place business.”