How to stay afloat in a volatile market
If you speak to anyone in the world of insurance, they’ll tell you it’s been one of the most changeable and challenging markets in years. We caught up with one of the Ausure Group’s largest and founding offices, financial services veteran Tim Dale of Ausure Echuca, to find out how his business is staying strong through these times.
“This current cycle of the insurance world, being a ‘hard market,’ is the most difficult I have experienced in my 24 years of insurance broking and financial planning,” reflects insurance and finance veteran Tim Dale of Ausure Echuca.
“It has affected all areas of the financial services sector: insurance broking as well as financial planning. Coupled with this, are the ramifications of the Hayne Report, which, has placed enormous additional pressures on brokers and planners.
Increasing rates in general insurance, underwriting requirements, lack of capacity from insurers, increasing requirement of compliance & training (Hayne), lack of skilled and trained staff, the importance of marketing all renewals – are just a few challenges we have been facing over the past years. This has, as I said before, made it the most challenging time in my insurance broking and financial planning career.”
Given all this, how has Ausure Echuca managed to stay strong over the years?
“I suppose the success of our business has been what I term the “Umbrella Approach,” says Tim.
“Ausure Echuca offers three areas of expertise under the one roof: Insurance Broking, Financial Planning and Lending & Mortgage Broking.
Our business consists of 16 staff over these three divisions. There is a large range of combined experience within our team – ranging from six months experience to 25 years. Our total experience within the office amounts to approximately 186 years!
All staff and management live in the Echuca region. So, we’re locals serving locals.
As a foundation member of the Ausure Group, we value our steady relationship with Ausure. The Group has grown enormously over the past 25 years and we are extremely proud to say we have been very much at the forefront of that growth.”
Tim’s Journey at Echuca
Tim reflects, “When I started Ausure Echuca in 1998, I was a Financial Planner. I soon realised to compete with one of the largest brokers in Northern Victoria, Insurance House, which had one office then in Echuca, I needed to offer many areas of the financial services sector to my clients, to keep advice under one roof and to nurture and protect my client base.
It was then I met an enthusiastic bloke called Wayne Brown (Ausure’s Founder), who gave me my first facility with Insurethat. This then progressed through the AXA General Insurance days and then of course the formation of Ausure progressed, which I can proudly say that I am one of the Foundation members.
I am sure this is the reason why the company has grown to its present size and this has been done without acquisitions, but through organic growth.
It is steady as it goes! Organic growth, where the business grows at approximately 10% per year over all divisions, has been our business plan. As before, acquisitions have not occurred, as I see three problems with this growth: Needing to borrow for the acquisition, servicing the client base and acquiring qualified staff to do so and retention rates. I acknowledge that a lot of our industries do not share my view, but this is the way we have structured Ausure Echuca as a family business, that hopefully will survive for many years to come.
The northern Victorian and southern NSW areas have been extremely good for Ausure Echuca. With Echuca’s proximity to Melbourne (closet Murray River town) and the climate afforded, plus tourism and agricultural based industry, growth in the region has been enormous and Ausure Echuca has grown with it.
Over the past 24 years, we have supported many community groups, sporting & otherwise. Just yesterday Ausure Echuca committed to sponsorship of a local schools School Breakfast Club, which supplies breakfasts to students at that school.”
At Ausure, We Care
Ausure’s We Care motto echoes through all aspects of the business:
“Our service at Ausure does not finish in the writing and implementation of the policy.
We offer continual review, remarketing of policies, and good ol’ fashioned country service including picking up the phone and talking to clients, not just by email, handling of claims for the client, structuring a correct package for clients and identifying areas of gaps in their risk management programs.”
What does Tim Dale most enjoy about his role? “Helping people and giving the correct advice. Correctly implementing that advice into a product that protects them properly or increases their net wealth.”