This is my first Connect as the CEO of your mutual. I’d like to take the opportunity to thank Dr Terry Ibbotson for stewarding us through the challenging times of the last 18 months as Acting CEO & Managing Director; leading the transfer from external management to internal management of the mutual and creating the 2021 and 2022 Roadmap initiatives has established a great foundation for us to move forward. Thanks Terry.
My priority during my first 30 days has been meeting you, our Members, and understanding your experiences and needs. At last count, this was 14 Member meetings online / in-person, across three states, with more to follow. From these meetings, there emerged three consistent messages: our Members value our mutual; our Members would like more support; and our Members are keen to know the outcome of the November renewal.
Having worked in member-based organisations before, I understand the responsibility of serving members at the direction of those members. This closeness between Unimutual and its Members allows us to support you based on your needs. With significant Member representation on our Board and our committees, we have direct communication with your representatives and access to the knowledge we need to make decisions.
Feedback from the Members I have spoken to is that we provide great value to our Members in Risk Management services, Claims services, Underwriting and Member services, and there is more we can do to increase this support. This is a challenge that I willingly accept.
In meeting with Members, I have been regularly asked for further detail on the current insurance environment and for information that would support the briefing of Risk & Audit Committees. In the coming weeks we will prepare a document for members to share with their Risk & Audit Committees, for better understanding of the Insurance & Reinsurance Landscape.
Our goal is to make the upcoming renewal as smooth as we can in a challenging environment. Your Underwriting & Reinsurance Manager, Tobias Pfau, has been working with our Reinsurance partners both here and in London since May, to secure good quality protection (A- financial rating or better) at the most favourable terms. We have not yet finalised these terms but are on track for our 1 October reinsurance renewal.
This year, our reinsurers are particularly interested in understanding the changing nature of risk, in an environment where there is high inflation in both materials and labour in the building industry. Inflation is impacting the cost of repair and rebuilding of damaged property, driving up claims costs and increasing the insured risk. We are required to provide accurate and up-to-date asset valuations to our reinsurers, that reflect the replacement value (insurance value) of assets. Please discuss your asset schedule with your valuation partner to ensure they reflect accurate replacement values for the year ahead.
The Australian reinsurance renewal at 1 July 2022 (when the large insurers renew their reinsurance protection) showed significant increases to their reinsurance costs on the property side driven by increase in values and rate changes. An environment of low investment returns, market profitability, rising claims costs due to climate change, supply chain interruptions due to eastern European conflict and high inflation impact insurance and reinsurance renewals.
Notwithstanding these challenges, we are working hard to get you the best result from this year’s protection renewal.
Between now and November, we will keep you updated through our Member Matters newsletter and our webinars.
Thanks again for your warm welcome. I am keen to hear from Members about how we can serve you better. If there is anything we can do to better serve you, please get in contact with the Member Services team, or feel free to contact me directly at: Geoff.Henderson@unimutual.com.au
Chief Executive Officer
t: (02) 9250 2800 m: 0417 887 513
Read previous CEO Connect newsletters here.