Working together: McLardy McShane prioritises relationships, including a recently announced partnership with the Melbourne Demons AFL team. Don McLardy, left, with Demons Chief Executive Gary Pert

Working together: McLardy McShane prioritises relationships, including a recently announced partnership with the Melbourne Demons AFL team. Don McLardy, left, with Demons Chief Executive Gary Pert

McLardy McShane: growing fast without losing control

Rapid growth is a sign of success, but can bring its own set of challenges.

That’s why brokerage and authorised representative (AR) network McLardy McShane is putting processes in place to ensure it retains the characteristics that are responsible for recent significant expansion.

When Chief Executive Don McLardy and Director Mike McShane brought their broking businesses together in 2007, they had a handful of staff and about $10 million in gross written premium.

Now the Melbourne-headquartered business has about 400 personnel, 26 broking branches, 90 ARs and about $500 million in premium, including the major investment in Perth-based Apollo Risk Services announced in 2021.

“It’s been a bit of a rocket ship, and over the last 10 years it’s grown really quickly,” Mr McLardy tells Insurance News. “It’s quite sobering to sit down and look at all our people and our numbers and figures.”

In order to stay on course, the company is investing in new layers of infrastructure, and making a series of significant appointments.

“We understand now that we’ve become reasonably large, so we also need to focus on our internal support areas,” Mr McLardy says.

Group General Manager Meg Long has played a key role in building the business since joining in 2014, and retains that role.

Under Ms Long, a new national support team has been established, headed up by Kate Rishworth, who previously worked with Community Broker Network. The Adelaide-based team will be responsible for general support and administration of the network.

“Where we have ARs or branches that for whatever reason may be short-staffed, or have an overload that they can’t keep up with, there’ll be additional support behind them to come in and offer all of those services.

“We’ll be able to put someone out into some of the smaller branches which are one or two-man shows, so we can support them physically if we need to. We’re also looking at some additional larger claims type support.”

Within the national support team will be McLardy McShane Placements – a placement and assistance service for large accounts and large renewals.

“It could be for any areas where our network personnel feel a little bit out of their depth, or not quite experienced enough. These are big investments for us, for the future.”

Linked to the placements scheme is the McLardy McShane Young Guns program.

“We’ve put together a program to rapid fire our young people through how to manage larger accounts – key things in renewal processes, placement, all those things.

“Some of those guys are heading to London and Singapore, to upgrade our relationships there. We’re looking at the next level of our younger people to open up new markets for us, and then through the placements area to utilise London and Singapore markets.”

Another key appointment is National Manager of Partnerships Richard Davies, who joined just before Christmas.

The former head of operations at Insurance House Advance takes charge of all partnerships, including insurance companies, major clients and community partners.

“We’ve now got someone dedicated to looking after those partnerships, because we’ve built the business very much on a relationship base,” Mr McLardy says.

McLardy McShane has always prioritised fundraising, with an estimated $2 million raised for various charities and good causes. The annual golf day held in Victoria is hugely popular – and the aim is to hold similar events across the country in future.

“We’re going to look at similar events in Sydney, in Brisbane and in Perth, and model them on the kinds of events that we’ve had here involving insurers, clients, and sometimes competitors even.”

New National Events Manager Bianca Galjar will be responsible for coordinating and hosting those events.

Behind all of these initiatives is an understanding that as the business expands, it’s vital to retain the elements that brought success.

Mr McLardy says that despite its increased scale, the company is determinedly non-corporate, with a focus on its people and community partnerships.

“What sets us apart is really our very personal approach, a really strong internal culture of developing people, giving back to the communities that we operate in, and making that very genuine commitment to the values that we hold.

“Most of our competitors are very large corporate companies. And we want to try and be the company that’s professional but, in a way, non-corporate. That’s our point of difference.

“As you get bigger, you’ve got to make sure you don’t lose the things that made you attractive in the first place, and the things that have given us our growth.”

‘Great place to do business’: AICLA Asian Claims Convention heads for Bangkok

Loss adjusters and associated professionals from across the world will converge on Bangkok in May for the Australasian Institute of Chartered Loss Adjusters (AICLA) Asian Claims Convention.

The convention is held each year in an Asian centre and is regarded as the most important gathering of the Asia Pacific region’s loss adjusters. It also attracts brokers and representatives from regulators, construction and repair specialists and insurer representatives.

AICLA Chief Executive Tony Libke says the convention is being held at the JW Marriott Hotel in the Thai capital. “It’s the second time we’ve held the Asian Claims Convention in Bangkok, which is a great place to visit and to do business,” he told Insurance News.

The convention will be held on 10-12 May, featuring expert speakers from Australia, the UK, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. Subjects to be covered include forensic inspection, cyber security and response, complex claims investigation, multiple-party construction claims and handling expectations, renewable energy claims, innovation and emerging legal trends in the region.

“The Asian Claims Convention is one of the best networking opportunities for professionals in a vast and rapidly developing region,” Mr Libke said. “It always attracts a large contingent of Australian and New Zealand adjusters, as well as many of the experts who interact with them.”

Carbon neutral: CBN commits to sustainable future

Community Broker Network (CBN) has announced that it is “officially carbon neutral” as part of its ongoing Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) strategy to promote sustainability.

The authorised representative network says the move to carbon-neutral marks an “important milestone” in its efforts to combat climate change and “ensure that insurance remains accessible and affordable”.

CBN CEO Richard Crawford says a shift towards climate sustainability “is not only the responsible thing to do, it is also good for business”.

“We believe that by prioritising sustainability, we can better support our community, especially given the impact climate has on the affordability and accessibility of insurance,” Mr Crawford said.

“We recognise that climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time, and that there is still a long way to go. However, we are proud to be doing our part to create a more sustainable future.”

CBN says it has continuously supported efforts to eliminate, reduce and offset its carbon footprint through internal initiatives and funding for climate projects.

It partnered with climate tech company Trace to document and verify its climate profile and ongoing support for initiatives.

Data from Trace’s website shows that CBN’s carbon profile for last year resulted in 3768 extra trees planted and a 100% offset of its emissions via funding for climate schemes.

Electric opportunity: Zurich announces deal

Zurich and SEA Electric have partnered to encourage adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) by commercial transport fleets in Australia.

The collaboration with Zurich Resilience Solutions (ZRS) will see the insurer’s risk engineering team of around 800 engineers train with SEA Electric and work with its customers as they switch to more sustainable technology.

“This agreement presents an important opportunity,” Head of ZRS Australia & New Zealand Mervyn Rea said.

“Zurich and SEA Electric share a common commitment to improving the sustainability and resilience of our customers and community.”

Founded in Melbourne in 2012, SEA Electric is now headquartered in California. Its all-electric SEA-Drive power system is adaptable to urban delivery and commercial transport fleets.