Insurance Advisernet hits 100,000 milestone

Report proposes 'self-funding' insurance model for export industries

Insurance Advisernet has reached a milestone of 100,000 clients, while brokerages in its network take up its offer to acquire holdings in interested members.

The business, which last year marked 25 years since opening its doors, has grown from a start-up founded by Chairman Ian Carr in 1996 to an Australian and New Zealand group with close to $1.2 billion in annual premium, up from $700 million in 2019.

It now has 270 practices in the network, a jump of around 60 in three years.

Insurance Advisernet Equity Partners, a joint venture with AUB Group – which has a 52% stake in Insurance Advisernet – has acquired equity stakes in four practices: Melbourne’s Pace Insurance, WA’s Nexus, Lismore’s North Coast Financial Services, and Adelaide’s Astute Insurance Services.

“It’s designed for our large incumbents and we expect to announce more equity partners in the future,” MD Shaun Standfield tells insuranceNEWS.com.au, adding that the arrangement frees equity to allow expansion, and facilitates long-term succession.

“It’s been really well received by those four practices, of which three are our largest.”

Around 600 authorised representatives and industry partners – including 40 from New Zealand – gathered last month at Insurance Advisernet’s sold-out Gold Coast conference and awards event – the first in-person version of the celebration since 2019.

Speakers at the conference included Thai rescue diver Richard Harris and Briony Akle, Head Coach of NSW Swifts, while Mr Standfield held a closed session outlining initiatives to grow an adviser’s business and “what’s next” for the network, and Mr Carr provided an update on the IA Foundation.

A raffle and auction raised over $200,000, supporting the SES in NSW’s northern rivers region, the Starlight Foundation, Beyond Blue and Act for Kids.

As well as the core pillars of compliance, IT systems operations and financial transactions, investment and learning and development is a key focus going forward for the business, as is cyber awareness.

Mr Standfield says most practices have been moved to Insurance Advisernet’s mail exchange to reduce potential for email fraud, and staff have undergone cyber training. An audit team was brought in to check against Australian standards, and remedial action, third-party testing and data management improvements have been undertaken.

“We are constantly managing this. It’s costing us a lot more money than it used to but we think it’s a good investment, to protect business partners and client data as well,” Mr Standfield says.

“I feel personally a huge responsibility to each of our practices, to make sure we’re doing the right thing in compliance and everything else we do.

“There’s a lot of people trying to emulate AR networks but my question is, have they got the infrastructure behind them to manage the compliance, the cyber? People need to think about the value and the business protection you get.”