Future in focus for NIBA13 Convention launch

The looming retirement of the Baby Boomer generation is set to have a profound effect on the Australian cultural and economic landscape, brokers the NIBA Convention heard this morning.

Renowned demographer Bernard Salt took the audience deep into the country’s population trends and where brokers stand to win or lose the most business.

“Australia is on the cusp of significant change as Baby Boomers retire,” he says.

In the past five years, the sectors that have experienced the most growth are healthcare, professionals services and public safety and administration.

“This is pointing to where business opportunities will be in the next decade,” Salt says, pointing to a large decline in manufacturing and low-skilled jobs that can be moved overseas.

“Healthcare and public administration and safety are supported by tax. Lawyers and accountants and engineers don’t generate wealth; they refine wealth but they don’t generate it.

“Who is generating major wealth in Australia? That to me is the main issue. This is just shuffling wealth from part of the economy to the next.”

Salt says a chief challenge in the coming years will be “managing the rising power of retirees and the tax implications that flow from that.”

“I believe the country will be more heavily taxed in the future,” he says.

Salt also examined some trends within insurance broking itself. in 2006, he says, there were 7760 brokers nationally. By 2011, that figure had grown 13% to 8800. Most of the new brokers are aged between 25 and 40.

Meanwhile, NIBA CEO Dallas Booth used his address to highlight the recent victories the association had achieved for its members, including protection brokers from most of the burden of FOFA reforms, as well as working closely with governments across the nation to better explain the role of brokers, particularly during natural disasters.

“The main reason NIBA exists is to be able to present a strong, united message to governments, regulators, the media and the community on behalf of insurance brokers and intermediaries across Australia,” he says.

”NIBA is the “one voice” of insurance brokers, representing the views of the international and large Australian broking firms, and the many hundreds of smaller broking houses that make up this wonderful industry.

“Our job is to assess the impact of government proposals on your business and your clients, and to present strong and reasoned arguments to government when we believe your business and your clients will be affected by government proposals.”

Significantly, Booth says, NIBA has also worked to obtain substantial government subsidies for broker training through NIBA College, as well as drafting a new Code of Practice, set to come into effect next year.

“The Code of Practice clearly states what customers and consumers can expect from an insurance broker who subscribes to the Code of Practice,” he says.

“The Code is a clear commitment to making sure the customer is clear about who the broker is acting for, what services will be undertaken on behalf of the customer, and the fact that the customer’s interests will be given priority at all times.

“It is something NIBA members can and should be proud of.

Booth also flagged much action over community awareness in 2014.