Underwriting body heading to NZ

Underwriting body heading to NZ | Insurance Business

Underwriting body heading to NZ
With eight Kiwi members now signed up to the Underwriting Agencies Council already, General Manager William Legge is excited about getting more recruits in 2014.

Since the recruitment drive began last year the numbers have increased exponentially.

“We’ve got eight at the moment, it’s a good start to the membership drive,” said Legge. “It’s really early days, it’s getting the concept off the ground and getting accepted which is doing very well indeed. The ones joining up feel they’re getting the benefits straightaway which is great.”

Legge is hoping to travel to New Zealand at least twice in 2014 to speak to members and continue recruiting. “We’ll be looking at what the specific needs and appetites are in New Zealand and apply them.”

He says one of the aims of the Council is to give a cohesive voice to the industry. “It’s currently disparate. There’s no organisation that looks after their specific interests, that’s the whole purpose of UAC, to be specific about the industry. The concept is you don’t want all the different little divisions and companies in different countries, as one will be going one way and the other will go another way.

“With UAC the aims and goals are universal, it applies to the industry no matter what you call it and where you are, we’re providing a unified voice for members’ concerns, interaction of the members, interaction with regulators, governments and a forum for members to come together to discuss common problems and solutions.”

Legge says the UAC education programmes are to enhance the knowledge members already have. “We don’t  necessarily focus on insurance classes as such as they’ve got that expertise but we do focus on governance, giving them tools, increasing and improving their skill setting so they can run their business smarter, quicker and more effectively. Also exposing them to new ideas and new concepts coming through.”

Another potential benefit is to give them the opportunity to tap into markets such as Papua New Guinea, Timor and other Oceanic islands.

“These are developing countries that need insurance expertise and our members can provide them. Personally, I would like the UAC to go further than that at some point and reach out to them.

“However, first we want to give NZ underwriters an outlet. After that, come other opportunities.”

Legge stressed that the UAC was not “trying to take anyone’s turf”, rather provide a platform for underwriters in New Zealand that do not currently exist.

“We are not trying to take anyone’s turf – we are trying to expand it. People might ask why we are going to New Zealand but we are looking at the broader prospects. There is a broader market than what we are currently in, and what New Zealand is currently in.”

Legge also hopes to meet up with the relevant regulators and associations such as IBANZ on his next visit. “We want to make ourselves known as we have a very close relationship with NIBA (Australian equivalent to IBANZ).

“They represent our major client base, insurance brokers, so it makes a lot of sense that we have a good personal relationship with those organisations.”