Austbrokers MD discusses diversification and latest takeover

Austbrokers MD discusses diversification and latest takeover | Insurance Business

Austbrokers MD discusses diversification and latest takeover
Managing director and CEO of Austbrokers, Mark Searles, has revealed the thinking behind the company’s latest acquisition in an interview with Insurance Business.

The broker network announced last week it had acquired a 60% interest in Allied Health Australia, a leading provider of workplace rehabilitation and return to work services.

The leader of the broker network said that the company have been working on this latest deal for several months which signalled Austbrokers' diversification strategy for the future.

“We’ve been talking to them for a number of months now,” Searles said.

“As part of our overall strategy, we talk about the concept of total risk management in addition to the concept of income diversification for the Group, so our whole strategic intent is to become the provider of choice for clients and business partners across Australia and New Zealand in the total risk management space.

“And given our clients are predominantly SME and mid-market, this is a great opportunity to add to the portfolio of businesses we partner with.”

Searles noted the company remained focused “around three core market facing areas of insurance broking, specialist underwriting and risk services,” and the acquisition of Allied Health Australia fits the bill for company growth.

“There are two parts of the strategy,” Searles said.

“One is to diversify our income generation, so if you go back five years ago, the vast majority – 90-odd percent – would’ve been derived out of broking. Effectively, I’ve been keen in my time here to diversify some of that income to become less exposed to the insurance cycle.

“But secondly, the more important point is if we think about the concept of our clients, and predominantly they’re commercial clients, then how do we ensure that we provide risk services, including the provision of risk assessments: people risk, physical risk and financial risk in all those areas…how do we ensure that we provide relevant solutions?

“So this is part of that strategy.”

With Austbrokers looking to further develop its risk services offering, Searles said that the deal with Allied Health Australia sees the company at the forefront of the industry.

“We have a Risk Services Strategy that’s been signed off by the Austbrokers Group board. We have a defined and disciplined approach to it, so we’re pretty clear.

“All I’ll say is that if we look at New South Wales where Allied is based, the acquisition today, alongside our existing partners, Procare Group and Altius Group… it basically gives us a really good position in the return to work services marketplace.”