Hawke’s Bay merger to double BWRS’ Napier operations

Hawke’s Bay Insurances Ltd (HBi) has merged with BrokerWeb Risk Services Ltd (BWRS) which will take effect from 1 November 2015.

“This is being achieved by way of BWRS acquiring the Goodwill and associated assets of HBi,” HBi’s Bill Reilly and BWRS’ David Archer said in a joint statement yesterday.

“The coming together of these two businesses will produce an enhanced Hawkes Bay broking business of size that Bill and David know will ensure the high standards of client service aspired to by both companies will be best sustained into the future in an increasingly complex insurance market,” the statement continued.

The two operations will continue as separate divisions of BWRS in their own premises for a period of time, and all staff members are to be retained in the combined operations, the statement said.

The Napier operation of BWRS will continue to be run by incumbent BWRS Hawkes Bay regional manager Bruce Lewis and Bill Reilly will continue in charge of the HBi business.

BWRS chief operating officer Alan Black will be overseeing the coming together of the two businesses.

“For all of us  involved it will be ‘business as usual’ and, certainly for our insurance company partners we are intent on these moves creating an even stronger bond with those insurers who have assisted us over the years,” Reilly and Archer said.

Austbrokers Holdings is a 50% equity partner of BWRS and CEO Mark Searles said he was pleased with the latest development.

“It’s great to see the momentum of growth is continuing after our recent expansion into New Zealand,” he told Insurance Business.

“David Archer (CEO of BrokerWeb Risk Services Limited) has done an outstanding job of working with HBi’s Managing Director Bill Reilly to bring together two businesses with a strong client focus – they will be a good cultural fit.”

He added: “This acquisition is another step towards NZbrokers’ vision of combining its strong New Zealand heritage, local expertise, national footprint and global reach to be New Zealand’s most trusted insurance and risk solutions network.”

Source: http://www.insurancebusinessonline.co.nz/news/hawkes-bay-merger-to-double-bwrs-napier-operations-207217.aspx

Five Minutes With…Jim Harris, NZbrokers

Jim Harris NZbrokers

Why did you get into insurance?
My father was manager of NIMU in Pukekohe and Rotorua so I had a taste for it growing up, having followed him around panel-beater shops for many years as a school boy.

How would you sum up insurance brokers in three words?
Delivering financial security.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever arranged cover for?
I can’t comment on the strangest, but the most interesting was insuring Air New Zealand back in the early 80s, and particularly providing “testing cover” on jet engines.

How would you change the industry?
I would ban underwriters and brokers from trying to compete on IT systems platforms and utilise the 100’s of millions of dollars currently expended/wasted  by individual companies on developing a “common” and “standard” industry wide IT systems platform which delivers full connectivity across all lines of business and totally streamlines the way we transact business. The significant savings could then be directed towards attracting, training and rewarding experienced, knowledgeable and high performing insurance professionals.

What’s the most important thing a broker can do to develop their business?
Be totally customer driven and focussed – always!!!

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Always be true to yourself and your values.

If you were Prime Minister for one day, what would you do?
I would reinstate and support the “family unit” as the centre of all things good in society.

What has been the highlight of your career?
I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of building Intermediary Insurance Services, MMI, Allianz and now BrokerWeb/NZbrokers, but the greatest highlight is having the pleasure and privilege to work with so many wonderful people, who have become close and lifelong friends.

What’s your favoured style of coffee?
Having always had a coffee on my desk during my early years in the industry, I now can’t drink it at all, so now enjoy a trim hot chocolate – with marshmallows of course, unless my grandchildren are around.

Union, league, soccer or other?
Having played the game for over 25 years it’s union, union, union, but also football, as both my sons played, followed now by my grandson and one of my granddaughters.

If you could invite three people to dinner, dead or alive, and excluding family and friends, who would they be and why?
Billy Connolly for his wonderful sense of humour and his travel stories;
Bruce McLaren for his motor racing driving and car manufacture prowess;
Richie McCaw as our greatest All Black captain and player.

Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t in insurance, I would be…
Retired, as having thoroughly enjoyed over 47 fantastic and stimulating years in the insurance industry, I can’t imagine doing anything else.

Original article published by Insurance Business New Zealand: http://www.insurancebusinessonline.co.nz/news/five-minutes-with-jim-harris-nzbrokers-206341.aspx

NZbrokers sets out to shake up industry

NZbrokers’ entry into the New Zealand market will benefit the New Zealand broking community and the insurance industry as a whole, its managing director says.

NZ Brokers Holdings was created after Austbrokers acquired 100% of BrokerWeb Management, as well as 50% of BrokerWeb Risk Services, in a deal worth more than $20 million late last year.

Austbrokers Holdings first entered the New Zealand market in 2006 through its partnership with Insurance Advisernet, taking a 38% equity stake in Insurance Advisernet NZ.

The BrokerWeb deal was billed as a major shake-up for the New Zealand broking industry.

NZ Brokers Holdings then launched NZbrokers, bringing together the members of BrokerWeb Group and Brokernet Group to become the third largest broking group in New Zealand.

NZbrokers said the combination of the broking groups meant it had $420 million in total gross written premium (GWP) annually and 54 businesses serving more than 120,000 clients spanning the length of New Zealand.

Including Advisernet, the wider group has more than $500 million in GWP and 84 adviser businesses.

Jim Harris, former managing director of BrokerWeb Management, was appointed managing director of NZbrokers.

Harris said there would be a number of benefits to brokers who were part of the group. The size of the organisation would give members access to resources and business systems that would be out of their reach as individual broker businesses. “It reinforces everything we stand for. With greater size we have greater strength and position and influence and the ability to secure more benefits and advantages not only for our members but for their clients,” he said.

He said the combination of BrokerWeb and Brokernet had been a natural fit.

“BrokerWeb and Brokernet were very much aligned in terms of their professionalism and standing and respect in the marketplace. For us it was a very good fit and gives us the ability to do things together in a much more meaningful way than we could have done separately.”

The backing of Austbrokers also provided a number of benefits, he said.

The NZbrokers team was recently in Australia looking at the services Austbrokers delivers to its members there.

Harris said: “We can tap into those resources, whether it’s marketing or compliance and that gives us a much greater ability to deliver additional services in those areas to our members. Our ethos is we operate very much in a collaborative way and it’s relationship- and partnership-based and built on a high level of trust and transparency.”

But Harris said while the level of scale would bring benefits to members, the group was focused on retaining its personal touch. “Size of course matters and gives us additional leverage but it’s very much on a partnership basis recognising we need to work together. There’s value in doing that, recognising that there needs to be value and benefit flowing both ways. But size gives stability and the ability to provide more benefits and secure more advantages going forward.”

First on the to do list is binging BrokerWeb and Brokernet advisers together to work on the same broker management platform.

That would mean designing a “best of both worlds” solution, based on the systems they each currently use, Harris said.

“The project is going to examine both systems and the advantages and benefits of both with the view of bringing those together and building a world-class system going forward. Also, while we are doing that we are looking at opportunities for connectivity and streamlining the way we do our business, looking at accessing information for managing the businesses, marketing initiatives…all those sorts of thing.”

Harris said the group was formed with the intention of giving respected, professional indigenous brokers the opportunity to not only survive in a changing environment but grow and prosper. “We believe we have that ability and can deliver that to those people.”

There has been a lot of consolidation in the market recently as individual brokers moved under the wing of bigger corporates and insurers merge. Harris said it was inevitable that would continue.

“Consolidation also creates opportunities and we think we will continue to see people deciding to seek their own fortune and set up their own businesses. With consolidation comes size and corporatisation and that doesn’t fit everyone. In the New Zealand market it’s very much a personal relationship-based business. I think there’s an opportunity for brokers to operate at that level. If you look at our organisation, we’re very committed to local people serving local people.”

Harris said NZbrokers’ goal was to be New Zealand’s most trusted insurance and risk solutions network. “We have become the true challenger brand in the market and have the ability to compete with anyone. We have very, very good national representation and that in itself creates opportunities.”

Insurance premiums have softened recently and competition has increased, but Harris said having the backing of a group would help brokers navigate that.

“Given the extensive benefits and support provided by NZbrokers, its members and clients are well-positioned to manage their way through and take full advantage.”

David Crick, chairman of Brokernet New Zealand, said: “Our collaboration with NZbrokers brings significant size and scale to our members. This will facilitate robust partnerships with the insurer panel, and ensure our clients’ interests are further protected.”

Harris said: “The emergence of NZbrokers as the challenger brand and significant player in the market is good for its members and their clients, its strategic partners and the industry as a whole.”

He said the group was based on four pillars – collaboration, respect, tenacity and momentum. “We are building partnerships, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with members, acting with integrity and honesty at all times, looking for solutions and looking to work with our partners in a meaningful way and investing in success and striving to create a bright future. Those four pillars underpin the future we have.”

Meanwhile, Austbrokers has announced its new equity partnership with Allied Health Australia, a leading occupational health and safety rehabilitation service provider.

“This acquisition reinforces Austbrokers’ disciplined approach and appetite to deliver on its strategy. Austbrokers has long signalled its intention to expand scale in risk services provision, and take our highly successful Owner-Driver business model further into this market segment,” said Austbrokers Holdings chief executive and managing director Mark Searles.

Full article available on pages 34-35 of CoverNote magazine: http://issuu.com/benefitz/docs/cn_september_2015_web/37?e=0

NZbrokers member Runacres & Associates finalist in 2015 NZ Insurance Industry Awards

The Annual New Zealand Insurance Industry Awards will be announced on Thursday 5 November 2015 at the SkyCity Convention Centre in Auckland. The event is a celebration to honour the achievements and professionalism of companies and individuals within the New Zealand insurance market during the preceding year.

NZbrokers is proud to have one of its members, Runacres & Associates Ltd, nominated in the Small/Medium Broker of the Year category. This award is for insurance broking businesses in New Zealand handling up to $50 million of premium and who have demonstrated strong performance and outstanding service for their customers.

In order to reach this stage, as a finalist in this category, Runacres has already demonstrated high levels of customer service, relationship management, innovation and communication supported by strong retention and growth records alongside sound financial management of the business.

We wish Runacres every success at the gala event on 5 November.

NZ awards

NZbrokers Principals Day

On Thursday 3 September, NZbrokers held its first Principals Day, with over 90 Principals coming together at the Langham in Auckland under a united banner to bring the vision, values and brand to life.

The group was also joined by more than 40 insurer partners, to provide them with a better understanding of NZbrokers, as the third largest broking group in New Zealand.

Keith McIvor (Director NZbrokers and Managing Director NZbrokers Holdings, Austbrokers Head of Group Development) and Jim Harris (Managing Director, NZbrokers) welcomed attendees and provided an operational review and insight into what the next six months will look like.

Corporate Anthropologist Michael Henderson (a NZ local) helped the team define the NZbrokers culture, and Vanessa Lyons (Head of Marketing) took the group through the elements of the NZbrokers brand and toolkit for applying the brand. Nigel Speakman, Director of Impetus Business Development, initiated a value proposition workshop for the NZbrokers attendees. The Principals Day also included a panel with the NZbrokers insurer partners.

The next major event on the horizon is the NZbrokers conference bringing together the Partners and their teams in February.

Photos from the NZbrokers Principals Day


Principals Day Opening Act, Lyrica


Keith McIvor, Director NZbrokers, Austbrokers Head of Group Development


Jim Harris, Managing Director NZbrokers


Insurer panel


The excitement builds as the group comes together for the first time under the NZbrokers banner!

NZbrokers celebrates its launch

On Thursday 3 September, newly formed NZbrokers will celebrate its official launch as the third largest broking group in New Zealand at the Langham Hotel in Auckland. The event will bring together more than 150 people, including the NZbrokers broking partner Principals, as well as key media, industry and insurer partners to provide more insight about our exciting journey ahead.

The launch event will also bring to life the values and culture of NZbrokers.

Becoming the third largest insurance broking group in NZ


New market entrant NZbrokers Management Limited has completed agreements that overnight make it the third largest insurance broking group in New Zealand.

Under the agreement, former members of the BrokerWeb Group and Brokernet Group have now amalgamated to form NZbrokers. With $420 million in total gross written premium, 53 businesses, and servicing more than 120,000 clients nationwide from Kerikeri to Invercargill, NZbrokers is instantly positioned as a formidable player within the New Zealand insurance broking market.

“Recognising the benefits of working together, the driving philosophy behind our success stems from each member leveraging the strength and capability of our national group, while retaining their successful formula of local knowledge and long-standing relationships,” said Mr. Keith McIvor, Director of NZbrokers and Managing Director of NZ Brokers Holdings Limited.

Together we want to take this relationship further and create a real leader for insurance and risk management in New Zealand. It’s incredibly exciting to have highly experienced members of BrokerWeb and Brokernet on board and we are committed to developing beneficial partnerships that strengthen broking capability for the group,” says Mr McIvor.

Mr. Jim Harris, previously Managing Director of BrokerWeb Management and with more than 45 years’ experience in the industry, has been appointed Managing Director of NZbrokers.

“We’re so pleased to be able to leverage our new partnership for the benefit of our members and our clients, and proud to come together under one consistent brand and banner as NZbrokers. Our vision is to combine our strong New Zealand heritage, local expertise, national footprint and global reach, to be New Zealand’s most trusted insurance and risk solutions network,” said Mr Harris.

Mr. David Crick, Chairman of Brokernet New Zealand added “Our collaboration with NZbrokers brings significant size and scale to our members. This will facilitate robust partnerships with the insurer panel, and ensure our clients’ interests are further protected.”

Late last year, Austbrokers Holdings through NZ Brokers Holdings joined with BrokerWeb Management and Mr.Harris. The primary vision was to build on the leadership position of the group across New Zealand. Now, with the addition of Brokernet, NZbrokers will quickly hit the ground running. While already operational, all integration efforts are expected to be completed effective in Q4, 2015.

Creating New Zealand’s largest insurance cluster network

ASX-listed Austbrokers Holdings Limited (ASX:AUB) today announced it
will acquire 100 per cent of New Zealand’s BrokerWeb Management Limited, as well as a 50 per cent
stake in the country’s largest independent broking operation BrokerWeb Risk Services Limited in a
deal expected to be worth over NZ $20 million.

The transaction signals a major shake-up in the New Zealand insurance broking industry, which has
long been considered a duopoly between insurance brokers Aon and Crombie Lockwood. It is one of
the largest transactions undertaken by Austbrokers Holdings, and was executed through its 80%
subsidiary NZ Brokers Holdings Limited.

With the acquisitions combined, Austbrokers Holdings immediately becomes New Zealand’s largest
insurance broking cluster network, as well as the largest Australasian-owned insurance broking
group in New Zealand, with $350 million gross written premiums (GWP) and over 120,000 clients.

Austbrokers Holdings Chief Executive Officer, Mark Searles, said “it was part of our targeted strategy
to use our proven Owner-Driver model as the platform for growth. Overnight, this approach gives
Austbrokers Holdings and our New Zealand partners’ significant market scale and leadership”.

“BrokerWeb Risk Services’ business is already closely aligned with our existing operating model,
creating great opportunities for expansion”. Additionally, BrokerWeb Management as a leading
broking cluster network, is similar to Austbrokers existing joint venture cluster group partnership in
Australia, AIMS – creating further natural synergies.

Together with BrokerWeb and our existing New Zealand partners “we will continue to look for
opportunities to leverage Austbrokers’ established and diversified business areas of Insurance
Broking, Underwriting Agencies and Risk Services as we continue to grow our New Zealand presence
and distribution network,” Mr Searles said.

In line with Austbrokers’ equity ownership model, BrokerWeb Risk Services (BWRS) CEO David
Archer, and BrokerWeb Management CEO Jim Harris, will remain in their current roles and lead the
daily business operations. All businesses will continue to trade under their existing brands and will
leverage support as required from Austbrokers’ group services.

“We are very excited about the future and furthering our planned expansion with the support and
partnership that Austbrokers Holdings brings to BWRS,” Mr Archer said. “Over the years we have
admired the Austbrokers “owner-driver’ model. We respect the success of many current
Austbrokers broking businesses in Australia, which made our decision to partner with Austbrokers in
New Zealand a natural fit. With the support of Austbrokers Holdings we can accelerate our plans to
be one of the leading broking houses within New Zealand.”

Mr Harris said, “We were impressed by the experience and commitment of Austbrokers Holdings to
support our broker members and their clients. We share the same philosophy that the partnership
between insurers and brokers is vital in providing quality and sustainable insurance solutions to our
clients. We look forward to enhancing the benefits and services we deliver to our current and future
members, and to expanding our position as the preeminent broking cluster group in New Zealand.”

Austbrokers Holdings entered the NZ market in 2006 through its partnership with Insurance
Advisernet, taking an effective 38 per cent equity stake in Insurance Advisernet NZ, a leading broking
group which has grown to have 32 authorised representatives and over $70 million in GWP.

Combined with the BrokerWeb acquisitions Austbrokers becomes a formidable force in the New
Zealand insurance market, with $350m in total GWP, more than 70 brokerages and authorised
representatives, and 120,000 clients.