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Sort it out: broker calls for talks with agencies

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Formal forums should be held so brokers and underwriting agencies can better understand each other’s needs as the local market hardens, a Victorian broker says.

Damian Petruccelli, account manager at Melbourne suburban brokerage Arrowsmith & Petruccelli, says brokers are often in the dark about agencies’ appetite and access to capacity, and suggests a regular forum to “address issues and create harmony”.

His comments follow Underwriting Agencies Council (UAC) Deputy Chairman and Lion Underwriting MD Kurt Nilsen’s recent online message criticising brokers for the poor standard of submissions and a “scattergun approach”.

Mr Petruccelli says brokers often send a summary of risks in the first instance before following up with a full submission if there is interest. But he says underwriting agency underwriters often don’t have time to discuss risks over the telephone.

“We have got to look for a congenial approach that everyone is happy with,” Mr Petruccelli told insuranceNEWS.com.au. “We need to know how they expect a submission to come in and where they are with capacity.

“They are the gateway to Lloyd’s and we rely on their expertise.”

National Insurance Brokers Association CEO Dallas Booth says the regular UAC/NIBA expos around Australia already provide an opportunity for brokers and underwriting agencies to talk to each other.

But he says NIBA would consider “anything brokers think would be useful”.

“There is a lot of interest from our members about understanding broking in a hard market,” he told insuranceNEWS.com.au.

“Brokers have to present their clients in the best light as it is a challenging market.”

Mr Nilsen says he supports the idea of a forum, “provided there is a fair sample across various classes of insurance”.