From the Publisher
In this issue we salute long-serving insurance executive Peter Daly. I learned insurance from him in the six and a half years I worked at the Insurance Council of Australia in the 1990s, when he was chief executive. As the article by Miranda Maxwell in this edition of Insurance News makes clear, Mr Daly’s time at the council laid the foundation for much of the sweeping change that was to follow.
Some of the changes he made happen – like an industry-wide code of practice and a consumer complaints facility – came into being thanks to his own thorough preparation, and a persuasive personality that simply wouldn’t give up. Having been the CEO of a local insurance company, he was able to speak as an equal to the hard men who ran insurance companies in the ’80s and ’90s.
Mr Daly’s powers of persuasion are legendary. I doubt he ever went into an ICA directors’ meeting without knowing exactly who was going to say what and what was going to result.
He was also the first leader in the industry to really exploit the value of political contact. His approach to politicians was always based on promoting a common interest in solutions, mixed with a great deal of personal charm. For me, he exemplifies in many ways a different era in insurance, when everyone seemed to know everyone else, deals got done over restaurant tables and a handshake agreement still meant something.
The insurance industry today is faster, more complex and much harder-edged. But as the industry’s underpinning of the Australian economy becomes clearer in these risky times, it’s worth saluting the people who had the vision to see what was on the horizon, and the leadership to do something about it.
You’ve probably seen quite a bit of advertising for the inaugural Insurance News conference titled “Where Is Insurance Going?” on March 19. Insurance News was founded on a belief that people who understand their business environment are far better equipped to deal with the challenges and opportunities that are always around insurance.
It has taken us 26 years to mount a conference, and we wouldn’t be doing it if we didn’t think we have something valuable to offer. It’s a packed day of facts, expert opinions and some forecasts about the year ahead.
We’ve selected speakers who we see as part of the next generation of leaders. The sessions are relatively short but deliberately punchy. And in the interests of candour – and the audience who’ve paid to be there – we’ve agreed not to publish remarks they’d prefer to stay in the room.
I hope we’ll see you there.