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Don McLardy’s Medal of the Order of Australia

In the King's Birthday Honours List, Don McLardy, CEO of McLardy McShane Insurance Brokers, was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia. The award recognises his service to charitable organisations and to Australian rules football. McLardy told Insurance Business TV that his firm sees charity work as part of its culture. He also shared his views on current insurance challenges.

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Danny Wood [00:00:07] Hello and welcome back to Insurance Business TV. I'm Danny Wood news editor of Insurance Business Australia. And today we're joined by Don McLardy CEO of McLardyMcShane Insurance Brokers. Because Don was named in the king's Birthday Honor’s List, he won, a Medal of the Order of Australia for his charitable work and work with Australian football. Welcome to the show, Don.

Don McLardy [00:00:29] Thanks, Danny, good to be here with you.

Danny Wood [00:00:32] And you too. So how did you hear about this honor you've received?  

Don McLardy  [00:00:37] Yeah, well, look, you get an email contact actually so the first contact is a bit of a surprise. And you don't actually know who's nominated you. But somebody, anyone can be nominated. So somebody's obviously nominated me, which is great. And then you have an opportunity to accept or reject the award, which obviously, I accepted. And then it gets announced, which was on the King's birthday. And then there's an investiture in at the Government House in Victoria in about a month's time.
 
Danny Wood [00:01:08] It's funny, you're saying it's an email, I think I was expecting it to be a wax sealed envelope delivered by someone. With a frilly, frilly coat.

Don McLardy [00:01:18] Yeah, actually, when you get the invitation, it looks a bit more like that. So that was, that was a bit more exciting. But initially, it's just to make sure that you'll accept the award. So you, you have to confirm it all first before they formally invite you.

Danny Wood [00:01:30] Okay. And I mean, you're well known in the industry, as someone who puts a lot of time into charities, why is getting an award like this one important to you? Do you think?

Don McLardy [00:01:40] Well, look, it's it's sort of a mixed reaction, really, because it's obviously it's, it's a great honor. But I mean, how I've really achieved what I'm being recognized for is really not just me, it's actually, you know, all my friends and my clients and business partners, and everyone who's been involved over the journey where we've all kind of pitched into, to try and raise funds and awareness of various different things. So I've just been probably the conduit of all that really, in a lot of ways. So I sort of, you know, I say, look, it's a great honor. But really, there's lots of lots of people around me who all do great things. And, you know, it's a bit of recognition of all that.

Danny Wood [00:02:25] You do a range of charity work. I'm just mentioning a few here. There's the Reich Foundation, the Jim Stein's Foundation, there's the Fight MND campaign. I mean, you're in the insurance business. How did you first get involved in this sort of charity work?  

Don McLardy [00:02:41] Yeah, well, going back a long time when, when the company the company, I was with Insurance Advisor Net, which was the director and shareholder of Pride and McLardyMcShane. We were, we were looking for something to align ourselves with because I've always sort of had a belief that if you're happy and healthy and going, okay, in business, you know, you should try and give back as much as you can anyway, because I always had a feeling you'd get hit by the karma bus if you if you're as lucky as I was, and didn't give something back, something could go wrong. So, and then, various things happened. I was involved with Jim Stein's who started the Reich Foundation. And I really loved the work they were doing. So I got quite heavily involved with that. And then when we started with shot and McClardyMcShane, we made a real pact to continue to support Reich. But we also were connected very closely to Neale Daniher, who is the start of you know, who was diagnosed with MND. And he, he's the one who started the massive Fight MND campaign, which is, you know, swept across Australia, really. And we've been involved in that since the beginning. And mainly because he was a very good friend of mine, but a lot of a lot of my friends and compatriots knew him as well. So, you know, we'd love being involved in that it's a really a lot of ways. It's a sad story, but it's a it's also a very inspiring story. You know, Neale been a really inspiring person. So so. And then along the journey, we've had clients and other friends who, who we've got involved with, we're now in with another great charities moment called the EB Foundation, which is a disease that affects kids mainly with, you know, that have, like opaque skin and their skin doesn't form properly. It's a terrible, terrible disease that we've only just found out about, but so we're helping one of our directors is involved in that. So we're, you know, we're working on that as well. And look, as we get bigger, we're, you know, we're finding we're able to get involved in more things and we get it, we get a lot out of it. And a lot of a lot of our people and our clients join with us. So, you know, it's a really fulfilling activity for us.

Danny Wood [00:04:39] There are a few insurance bosses like yourself, and the number seems to be growing across the industry who do feel like yourself that you have a responsibility to give back and to help out. I mean, do you feel that's how do we must rub shoulders with colleagues who are much more focused on the business, don't want to make time for this kind of stuff. I mean, how is it rubbing shoulders with those types? I mean, do you find you can win them over? Or? Is there a division?

Don McLardy [00:05:07] Yeah. No, it's sort of each to his own. I think a bit but as a company, I mean, look, a lot of the, like, there's a lot of great corporate responsibility and giving in Australia, I think, I think most businesses are pretty good at it. But we see it is kind of part of our culture that we're, you know, a lot of our competition are the big corporates where they've got different challenges to what we have, you know, we can be very nimble and flexible in what we do. We'd love involving our clients in fundraising functions, and, and it becomes really part of what we do so. So it's not an imposition on what we do and what all the others do is maybe a bit harder than us I guess. But we just find it very easy to do those things we get a lot out of it raised a lot of money, we have a lot of fun. And it builds relationships, you know, and people like being involved with us.

Danny Wood [00:05:54]

I can't let you go without talking about the insurance business a little bit. I mean, premiums have been going up. I mean, they seem to be coming down in some areas a little bit. Is that your biggest insurance challenge at the moment? Or what do you see as your biggest challenge?

Don McLardy [00:06:10] Well, look, when you been around as long as I have now Danny is getting us these, the markets, fluctuations come and go. The one thing that hasn't changed, and we are really keep talking to all of our JV partners now authorized rep network is to say that it's a, it's still a relationship based business. And as long as you're knowledgeable about the insurance industry, and you can talk to your clients about what's happening in the market, explain why it's happening. You know, the relationships will hold you through those ups and downs and difficult discussions. So the more professional we are, and the more we inform our clients of market conditions. That shouldn't really be a major, major issue, you know, and it's your story. You know, as we all know, if you're running around selling on price, well, you know, clients gonna come to you, they're gonna leave you on that. So we've always believed in building relationships and strong relationships that will stand the test of time, and will outlast market conditions, you know, we'll be able to do to carry through those fluctuations.

Danny Wood [00:07:14] Are you pretty confident that what we're going through now is, I guess, generally market conditions? Or are you worried? Like, I guess, like some that the, the catastrophes are kind of causing a slightly different scenario? Or do you feel like we can pull back from that?

Don McLardy [00:07:28] Well, I think I think it'll be manageable in the end, but no doubt there's some things I mean, look, you know, I just read this morning about those fires in Lahaina, which I've been doing in Hawaii and Maui, they're just terrible. It's hard to imagine that that town right on the ocean, there could be, you know, burned to the ground, and the boats in the harbor have been burned. So there's, there's things clearly there's things happening that maybe we haven't experienced before. So we need to, we need to address that as it unfolds. But you know, a lot of the market conditions are probably manageable over time, you know, but yeah, I think there is a bit of an element of the unknown. Yeah, for sure.

Danny Wood [00:08:04] Let's revisit your metal for a moment. the awarding of this Medal this Order of Australia Award is coming up in a couple of weeks, I think. Do you know what to expect?  

Don McLardy [00:08:15] Now? I'm not sure but I get to take four guests and I've got four children so and a wife of course, someone's gonna miss out. That's all we know. But we'll have to manage our way through that. But no, but it's Government House, which will be great. And yeah, look, it's a good a good thing for the family to do and be involved in and we know we're pretty proud of all that.  

Danny Wood [00:08:37] Well, congratulations on your work. Sounds like it'd be a lot of fun at the ceremony and thanks for spending some time with Insurance Business TV.

Don McLardy [00:08:43] No problem, Danny, thanks for calling.

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