What future for Winley ARs?

A national AR network says it has recruited top talent from Winley Insurance Group, while another says it will hold out until more information comes to light.

Recent media coverage alleges that Winley, the Perth-based authorised representative group, will be wound up after its major investors left the country, leaving underwriters unpaid for several months.

Allianz has suspended all new business with Winley and will “exercise caution” when transacting with former Winley ARs. Despite this, ASIC is yet to make an official notification on the matter.

However Winley ARs will be relieved to hear that there are some broker networks keen to take them on.

Westcourt General Insurance Brokers Director Jeff Hollands says they’ve identified 10 corporate Winley ARs who will join their network in WA, QLD, NSW and Victoria.

“They are a selection of the premium ARs that Winley had, two of them are fairly substantial and employ a number of staff,” Hollands told Broker Buzz.

Hollands was quick to defend the individual Winley ARs, saying he doesn’t believe their reputations should come under question.

“The industry seems to be blaming the ARs a bit when this whole thing with Winley had nothing to do with ARs. They were just doing their business,” he said.

“But there will be a training regime with us and we pride ourselves on a strict compliance system that we’ll continuously check, as we do with our current network, to make sure that what they’re doing fits in with what the compliance regulations stipulate.”

Hollands says in some cases they reached out to the Winley ARs, and in other cases the Winley ARs reached out to them.

Not all AR networks are following suit, however. Insurance Advisernet Australia Managing Director Shaun Standfield says they won’t be taking on any Winley ARs until all facts of the case are known.

“I applaud the position Allianz has taken in stating they will exercise caution in (transacting with) ex-Winley ARs,” he said.

“The brand of the AR network you join is just as important as using properly security rated underwriters, as your personal brand will be impacted by been associated with the wrong brand.”