Scrutiny post the Royal Commission offers opportunity for insurance brokers

Ward Dedman became EBM Insurance’s inaugural CEO earlier this year, he speaks to us on the current state of the insurance broking profession and on leading a team. Dedman has worked in the insurance industry for 25 years and has held a number of senior roles, has sat on many industry committees and is one of the NIBA board of directors.

According to him one of the key issues the profession is grappling with is the intense perusal the entire financial services industry is facing post the information that came out in the Royal Commission hearings, he says, “As a consequence of the Hayne Royal Commission, there are issues around regulation and legislation that need to be addressed, but instead of fearing such scrutiny, these also present opportunities for our industry with professional advice being even more critical for people and businesses.”

Dedman also believes that consumerisation of insurance is another crucial concern facing intermediaries, “As a whole, our industry is seeing clients focus on price instead of value for money. Strained economic times together with price-centric marketing is leading to a push towards the lowest prices for premiums without looking at what risks actually need to be comprehensively mitigated.”

He says”The principle of pooling is being lost and the imperative to see results immediately, usually in the same financial year, is driving and dominating decisions.”

Dedman’s view is that broking professionals need to look at the way clients perceive the value of their broker’s advice and ensure that they are proactive in communicating the risk management aspect of their services.

As an industry leader he believes that it is possible to influence culture to make long-term changes by walking the walk, not just talking the talk, “If a leader possesses the key qualities of integrity, ethics, authenticity, humility and decisiveness, they can inspire those around them to achieve great things.

“At EBM we are firm advocates for leading by example and we aim to instil these qualities in all of our people. A leader needs to be able to harness – and focus – the influence they hold and use it to motivate others, which in turn pays dividends for the company (financially and culturally).

He considers a manager and a leader to be two different things, “A successful manager often needs to be a pragmatist in order to ensure the company achieves its goals, whereas a leader needs to inspire others to contribute towards the company’s success, to motivate and to influence. The top qualities that an effective leader needs are integrity, ethics, authenticity, humility and decisiveness.”