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Ensurance to ‘dispose’ of Australian retail brokerage

stefan hicks

stefan hicks
Annie Kane and Charbel Kadib 3 minute read

The board of Ensurance Limited has announced that it will adopt a “new strategic direction” and seek to “dispose of its Australian retail brokerage businesses”.

Following an analysis of its business and the key drivers for its future growth, the board has adopted a “new strategic direction” that will involve building its operations internationally.

According to Ensurance’s statement on the ASX, this will predominantly involve acting as a Managing General Agent (MGA) with large insurance capacity lines on a global basis.

The board has therefore announced that the company intends to “apply its resources” to expansion of its UK operations and its underwriting agencies and has revealed that it intends to “dispose of its Australian retail brokerage businesses”.

Consistent with this new strategy, the company has recently received non-binding proposals for the purchase of the company’s brokerage assets.

“These proposals are in their infancy, with no certainty as to timing and pricing of a potential disposal,” Ensurance’s ASX statement reads.

“The board is currently considering the merits of these offers and will announce any material developments to shareholders as they occur.”

The company has emphasised that while the broking business was on the market, it would continue to operate the business as usual.

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The news comes just days after the founder and non-executive director of Ensurance resigned.

Non-executive director Stefan Hicks resigned earlier this week to “pursue personal business interests”.

“We wish him all the very best for the future,” the insurance brokerage’s statement reads.

Mr Hicks founded Savill Hicks & Associates in 1990, which later folded into Parker Resources before becoming part of Ensurance.

He had formerly served as an executive director and non-executive director for the company and had been managing director of Ensurance for the past three years.

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Tony Wehby, chartered accountant, former PricewaterhouseCoopers partner and current chair of ASX-listed lithium and gold explorer Kingston Resources, has been appointed to the board as an independent non-executive director.

With over 40 years’ experience in professional advisory activities, corporate finance, investment management and broad commercial experience, Mr Wehby has been appointed as non-executive director with immediate effect.

Speaking of the appointment, chairman Tony Leibowitz said in an ASX announcement: “I have known Tony for many years and am delighted to have someone of his calibre and experience join our board.”

Ensurance Now extends product portfolio

The insurance brokerage has also recently announced an extension to its product portfolio with the addition of an Accidental Damage policy. 

The policy is underwritten by international specialist insurance provider Lloyd’s, and has been added to the online multi-insurer’s panel in response to increased demand for the policy option.

“There’s a definite shift in the understanding of, and request for, the right type of insurance to ensure that clients are adequately covered in the event of an unforeseen circumstance,” CEO of Ensurance Now Brett Graves said.   

“The uptake is being driven simultaneously by consumers and brokers alike. At a consumer level, the market is increasingly savvy about the options available to them and are open to brokers providing guidance in a cluttered market.

“From the broker’s perspective, this demand provides another opportunity to be solution providers and deepen client relationships — which is timely based on recent market scrutiny, investigation and pressure to act in a client’s best interest.”

Key features of Lloyd’s Accidental Damage policy include:

  • Cover for contents away from the home anywhere in Australia or New Zealand 365 days 24/7
  • Replacement of locks and keys up to $5,000
  • Building sum insured safeguard – up to 20 per cent in addition to the home sum insured
  • Temporary accommodation costs – up to 20 per cent of the home or contents sum insured
  • Fees for the services of architects, engineers and building applications in connection with rebuilding or repairing the home – up to 10 per cent of the home or contents sum insured
  • New for old replacement of contents
  • Choice of monthly or annual policy period
  • Flood cover – optional
  • $20 million legal liability

[Related: Insurance portal rebrands and expands broker offering]

Ensurance to ‘dispose’ of Australian retail brokerage
stefan hicks
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