Our history

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Our history 2017-03-06T16:04:16+00:00

The Underwriting Agencies Council (UAC) was formed in July 1998 by six agency heads who were concerned about the ramifications of legislative change on the future of underwriting agencies in Australia.

Clerp 6 was the forerunner of what was to become the Financial Services Reform Act that would require financial services providers to be licensed from March 11, 2004, and regulated by the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC).

In 1998, Treasury and the Federal Government were unaware of the existence of underwriting agencies. Other insurance industry participants were licensed and regulated by the Insurance & Superannuation Commission, which was subsequently disbanded with the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA) regulating insurers and ASIC regulating intermediaries. Insurers, brokers and life insurance agents were regulated but underwriting agents flew under the radar and had not been caught by the licensing regime.

Agency representatives were concerned underwriting agencies would be “legislated into oblivion”.  Six agencies got together to form UAC as a representative body to promote agencies’ interests in the same way ICA represented insurers and NIBA represented brokers.

They were:

  • Dawes Underwriting Agency – Rod Garnett (shareholders – Rod and Helen Garnett)
  • InterPacific Underwriting Agencies – Roy Ellis, Chris Harnett (shareholders – Roy Ellis, Chris Harnett)
  • Mansions Australia – Graham Fisher (shareholder – Crawley Warren, UK broker)
  • Sentinel Underwriting Agencies – Merv Cross (shareholder – Western United Insurance Brokers – Peter Thompson)
  • Triton Underwriting Agency – Greg Bunt (shareholders – Greg Bunt, Ian Douglas)
  • Underwriting Solutions – Rob Mauldon (shareholders – Rob Mauldon, UK broker Morgan Reid and Sharman)

UAC’s founding directors were Greg Bunt, Merv Cross, Roy Ellis, Graham Fisher, Rod Garnett, and Rob Mauldon (chairman). Chris Harnett was appointed secretary and public officer.

UAC’s charter comprised three goals:

  • Secure Treasury’s formal recognition of underwriting agencies.
  • Enhance the commercial environment of underwriting agencies.
  • Position UAC as Australia’s peak industry body for agencies.

The founding members funded UAC’s creation and instructed a lawyer to work with Rob Mauldon and Roy Ellis on a submission to Treasury articulating the case for recognising and including agencies in the “new order”.

Members made frequent trips to Canberra to campaign for underwriting agency recognition, but subsequent publications and public utterances from Treasury did not reflect their work. A second submission was prepared and presented to Treasury and was followed by more lobbying. UAC members’ persistence was finally rewarded as UAC progressively became recognised as an integral component of the industry.

Former ICA CEO Alan Mason and his team, who represented many of UAC’s capital providers, helped UAC greatly during that phase. UAC and ICA representatives had many one-on-one meetings and held several roundtables.

After several years of lobbying, UAC became known as the voice for underwriters. The council began a long and productive association with ASIC’s then-FSR licensing and business operations director Pauline Vamos. She was responsible for developing the licensing and compliance regime and subsequent regulations, and had open communication channels to government and APRA.

Peter Nash and Roy Ellis frequently met Ms Vamos and her staff, which helped form ASIC`s view of the underwriting industry. UAC prepared a licensing kit for agencies, which helped members secure their licences. ASIC purchased the kits for use as internal training aids. Paul Lynam, Peter Nash and Roy Ellis conducted a training workshop for ASIC analysts with the responsibility of initially licensing underwriters and, later, ongoing compliance/regulation. During the process, all underwriting industry dialogue with ASIC was channelled through UAC.

UAC’s most significant and far-reaching initiative in enhancing the council was the launch of the UAC/NIBA joint expos, which allowed UAC members to present their credentials to brokers. The first expo, which had only about seven underwriting exhibitors, was in Newcastle in 1998.

Between 2004 and 2007, while Bob Lee was UAC chairman, UAC made ground in improving its relationship with NIBA; developing a new code of practice; creating a UAC statement of purpose; developing a UAC newsletter; enhancing UAC’s reputation as a peak industry body; creating a PI initiative for members; and being vocal on the direct offshore foreign insurers (DOFI) issue.

In 2006, UAC focused on lifting its market profile generally, and targeting brokers specifically. That was done through new advertising and branding, and a ‘new-look’ website. UAC also improved its interaction with government and regulators, by making submissions to ASIC and Treasury on FSRA refinements.

In 2007, brokers were first able to log onto UAC’s website and find members to help them place difficult risks. UAC members participated in eight expos. UAC circulated nine newsletters and circulars to members and forwarded three submissions to various authorities. The board elected in December 2007 consisted of Murray Rogash (chairman), Chris Harnett, Martin McAvenna, David Porter, Tim Nash and Bob Lee. John Iles and Damien Coates were elected associate directors.

From December 2008, the board consisted of Murray Rogash (chairman), David Porter, Tim Nash, Bob Lee, Martin McAvenna, John Iles, Damien Coates and Kurt Nilsen. Kevin Corkery and Frank van Rooy were elected associate directors. In February, chairman Murray Rogash resigned and Martin McAvenna was elected to fill the vacancy. Kevin Corkery was elevated to director.

Martin McAvenna continued as chairman until October 2009, when a job change meant he had to resign. From the December AGM, the board consisted of Damien Coates (chairman), David Porter, William Legge, John Iles, Jo Lindsay-Eschbank, Martin McAvenna, Heath Amber, Kevin Corkery, and Frank Van Rooy.

In 2010, UAC and Lloyd’s formed a strategic alliance. Lloyd’s began participating in UAC member forums, held immediately before the regular broker expos around Australia, to provide UAC members with updates on Lloyd’s and market trends that may affect underwriting agencies.

After a tender process in 2010, during which five firms submitted capability statements, UAC selected Sydney-based Gillis Delaney Lawyers as its business partner for the provision of legal services. UAC appointed specialist professional risks broker MegaCapital as its business partner offering members a professional indemnity program.

In 2010, UAC created a three-year strategic plan, which was based on responses from members to a survey conducted during the 2009 renewals.

The plan focused on four key areas:

  • professional development and training;
  • member benefits;
  • strategic partnerships; and
  • promoting the underwriting agency sector.

The board after the December 2010 AGM consisted of Damien Coates (chairman), Heath Amber, Frank Van Rooy, Linda King, John Iles, David Porter, William Legge and Jo Lindsay-Eschbank. Simon Trowell and Eric Richardson joined the board as associate directors.

In 2011, UAC continued to implement its strategic plan. In March, UAC appointed its first-ever general manager. William Legge took on the new role, which focused on spearheading the implementation of UAC’s strategic plan. After Mr Legge became general manager, Mr Richardson became a director and Lyndon Turner joined the board as an associate director.

In May, UAC launched a new logo as part of a rebranding exercise. UAC positioned itself and its members as THE resource for brokers – the ‘go to’ organisation for brokers seeking access to specialist products offered by experts in the field through the underwriting agencies. In 2011, UAC formed strategic underwriting partnerships with Vero and The Hollard Insurance Company, joining UAC’s principal strategic partner, Lloyd’s Australia.

The board elected in December 2011 UAC board consists of John Iles (chair), Heath Amber, Jo Lindsay Eshbank, Frank Van Rooy, Eric Richardson, Linda King, Lyndon Turner and Peter Fryer. Matt Boon and Adrian Humphreys are associate directors. (Damien Coates did not stand for re-election after being posted to London with Dual.)

After the December 2012 AGM, the board comprised John Iles (chair), Heath Amber (vice chair), Jo Lindsay-Eschbank (secretary), Linda King (treasurer), Peter Bailey (since resigned and replaced by Anthony Porter), Lyndon Turner, Peter Fryer, Steve Boucher and associate director Adrian Humphreys.

At the December 2013 AGM, Kurt Nilsen and Peter Marshall were elected to the board and Lyndon Turner and Peter Fryer were re-elected. Greg Thompson was invited to join as an associate director. Heath Amber became chairman, with Lyndon Turner as deputy. Other board members were Jo Lindsay-Eschbank (secretary), Linda King (treasurer) and Steve Boucher. Adrian Humphreys remained an associate director.

At the December 2014 AGM, David Lamb (Sportscover) and Emily Walker (Axis) joined the board of directors. Chairman Heath Amber (Millennium) and treasurer Linda King (Sterling) were re-elected. Two directors, Jo Lindsay-Eschbank (SUA) and Steve Boucher (Sportscover), retired and did not nominate for re-election. Peter Fryer (Catlin) became company secretary, replacing Jo Lindsay-Eschbank.

In December 2015, Lyndon Turner became chair and Kurt Nilsen deputy chair. Heath Amber stepped down as chair, but remained on the board.

After the December 2016 AGM, chair Lyndon Turner (NM) and deputy chair Kurt Nilsen (Lion) retained their roles. Retiring directors Heath Amber (Millennium), Emily Walker (Axis) and Linda King (Sterling) were returned and Simon Lightbody (Steadfast Agencies) and Rhys Mills (Solution) were elected as new directors.

Year UAC Chairs
2015 – Lyndon Turner – NM Insurance
2013 – 2015 Heath Amber – Millennium
2011 – 2013 John Iles – SUA
2009 – 2011 Damien Coates – Dual
2008 – 2009 Martin McAvenna – Austagencies
2007 – 2008 Murray Rogash – Cemac
2004 – 2007 Bob Lee – Stardex
2003 – 2004 Paul Lynam – SRS Underwriting Agency
2002 – 2003 Peter Nash – Sportscover
1999 – 2002 Roy Ellis – InterPacific Underwriting Agencies
1998 – 1999 Rob Mauldon – Underwriting Solutions

In 2012, Bob Lee and Roy Ellis were presented with UAC lifetime achievement awards. In 2015, Paul Lynam was presented with a UAC lifetime achievement award.

This document was compiled by UAC’s Communications Consultancy, Kate Tilley Journalism Pty Ltd, from documents in UAC’s archives and other information. We do not guarantee its accuracy, so if members have additional or corrected information to update the records, please email feedback@uac.org.au.

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