July 1, 2024

Driving Growth and Differentiation in the Property Market: In Conversation with Brendon Terry

Insights Australia

In conversation with Brendon Terry, Underwriting Manager, Property, we speak about his role, current market dynamics and and opportunities for growth.

Can you start by giving a short overview of the Property team at Arch?

It’s an exciting time in the property space at Arch. We have made a number of appointments within the team to further elevate our high quality of service our clients expect and at the same time expand our national footprint. Chris Wild was promoted to a newly created role of Northern Region Underwriting Manager, and Amanda Seng has recently been appointed as Southern Region Underwriting Manager. Our property portfolio has experienced significant growth in the southern region, and we felt it imperative to have someone on the ground locally for our markets to connect with on a regular basis. 

What would you say are the primary aspects of your team’s risk appetite?

Our appetite is broad in terms of industry however, we are particularly keen to discuss risks in the following areas:  aged care, healthcare, retail, manufacturing, warehousing & storage, and light engineering. We can also write certain risks within the higher hazard space, and I would encourage our brokers to speak with one of our experienced underwriters to see how we may be able to assist.

How does Arch look to differentiate its offering in this market?

We believe it’s our service that differentiates us. We have experienced underwriters who are responsive, empowered to make decisions quickly and provide a fast turnaround for our broker partners. We strive to provide easy access to expertise and understand the importance of having someone our brokers know and trust available to discuss opportunities, whether that be in person or on the phone. And when there is a need to claim, we have a high-quality in-house claims team who provide exceptional local service. For Arch, it’s about the quality, responsiveness, and consistency of service.

How would you summarise current market dynamics and what are some of the drivers?

With the relatively benign catastrophe season (when compared to recent years), we have seen the stabilisation of property portfolios as well as new entrants and capacity coming into the market, a rapid shift of growth is now playing out which is beginning to provide more competitive tension in pricing. I’m excited by the opportunities this will present us to further demonstrate the advantages of our service proposition.

What are some of the front-of-mind issues for your clients? What do you see as the biggest risks facing them in the next few years?

From a property perspective I would say there are three key risks facing clients. 1) Risks relating to global supply chain issues as the geo-political space remains somewhat challenging, 2) the continued automation of industry and the advances in robotics (particularly in the manufacturing and warehousing industries), and 3) adverse weather patterns and the continued threat of natural catastrophes. 

Where are you seeing the strongest opportunities for growth?

We are in the process of forging a number of new strategic relationships that we are confident will help support our growth plans. Whilst not specific to property, we have a new Engagement and Distribution Lead, Michael Faulkner, who brings invaluable experience and networks that will help drive a number of our strategic growth initiatives with our brokers. As a young market in Australia, there is a lot of opportunities to expand our footprint with our broker markets at policy, portfolio, or scheme level.

What drew you to the insurance industry and Arch in particular?

I sort of fell into insurance – like half of the industry I’m sure!. After beginning my early working career in the banking world, a friend of mine brought me across to a domestic insurer when I was in NZ. I’ve now been in the industry for 30 years having worked in tech areas, claims, distribution, underwriting and leadership roles across three different countries, so it’s been a very rewarding career involving a lot of great colleagues, clients, competitors, and markets.

In terms of what drew me to Arch, I was excited by the opportunity to lead a growing property portfolio here in Australia. Arch Australia is part of a significant global business in terms of size and scale, yet in Australia we’re smaller, nimble but really starting to scale up significantly in terms of offerings, resourcing, and market presence. It’s an incredibly exciting time to join the business and be afforded the opportunity to make a positive impact to the strategic journey of Arch Australia.

What would your dream job outside of insurance be?

I have a passion for travel and wildlife so probably something that combines these two areas of interest.

Tell me something about yourself that others might not know?

I was once part of a group roughing it and free camping in tents in the wild of the Serengeti Plains, Tanzania.  During the night we ended up surrounded by a pride of lions being very very vocal. The sound and power of the roar was something I’ll never forget, knowing you’re in their territory, unguarded, literally rattles your bones. We then had a couple of them walking right outside our tent just on the other side of the canvas. Fair to say no one got up to head out for a toilet break that night.

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