​Professional body gathers pace in New Zealand

​Professional body gathers pace in New Zealand | Insurance Business

‚ÄčProfessional body gathers pace in New Zealand
The Underwriting Agencies Council (UAC) is planning its own summer expo in New Zealand, capitalising on the success of its combined presence at this month’s IBANZ Forum.

Six agencies shared a stand at the Auckland conference, which was sponsored by Lloyd’s, including Dual, Delta Insurance, Rosser Underwriting, Catlin, Star Underwriting and NM.

Speaking to Insurance Business, Lloyd’s Australasian representative Adrian Humphreys, who is also a non-executive director of UAC, said members would share the cost to set up their stands at the expo which would be free for brokers to attend.

“They [brokers] will be talking to people who can actually underwrite their risk,” he said. “It will be a shorter format, giving young inexperienced brokers the opportunity to get in and meet people very quickly, the senior guys will stay for lunch, hear the guest speaker then they’re free to go. And they still get their CPD points.”

The UAC’s rapid growth in Kiwi members since membership was opened up to New Zealand last year could indicate what industry leaders had identified earlier this year as a growing industry trend for smaller, niche agencies to be successful.

New Zealand’s Lloyd’s representative Scott Galloway said the Canterbury earthquakes had got people thinking about capacity and what they want in an insurer.

He said these attributes were: “Someone who is flexible, who is interested in the business as a specialist and who is going to be around for the future rather than taking the money today and going tomorrow – and those things are very conducive to the coverholder model.”

Speaking with his Lloyd’s hat on, Humphreys said the benefit of setting up business with Lloyd’s, the UAC’s principal strategic partner, was the freedom Lloyd’s offered as a backer by being a market, not a company.

“Lloyd’s offers 55 different companies to choose from to back a particular product and we only need to approve the entity rather than the business plan,” he said.

“We don’t have that channel conflict that multinationals might have. We allow people to get on and run their business and work with them as a partner whereas corporates won’t. Corporates have to do their own branding etc and all the agility gets lost.”

He said the bigger firms get, the more commoditised the products become as they get written by algorithms instead of people.

“Then because the industry is commoditised it’s dumbing down the guys you deal with.”
He said Australia and New Zealand being very entrepreneurial lent themselves more readily to the idea of setting up something on your own.