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Broking industry pays tribute to ‘mentor and inspiration’ Terry Lane

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Terry Lane, one of Australia’s best-known brokers, died suddenly yesterday. He was 76.

Mr Lane, who was the MD of Midland Insurance Brokers and a founding director of the National Insurance Brokers Association (NIBA), was playing golf with friends when he collapsed and died.

“Those of us who worked closely with Terry have lost a friend, confidant and mentor,” Midland Insurance said in a statement today.

“The company is in mourning and all employees share with Terry’s family and friends the immense sadness of his death.”

Mr Lane entered the industry as a teenager in 1958 with Phoenix Insurance, rising quickly through the ranks as an inspector and agency supervisor.

He later moved to Robinson Insurance Services as a broker and in 1977 co-founded with Peter Claringbold the Oil Agents Mutual Provident Society, better known as OAMPS. The company grew to become one of Australia’s largest and most successful broking businesses.

By the time Mr Lane left after 16 years, OAMPS had expanded to 19 offices in all states and had a presence in New York and the UK. It became part of the global Gallagher group in 2014.

“We were pretty excited about it, but we had no conception of what was possible,” Mr Lane said in a later interview. “We started with fuel transport and then we set up a program for the nurserymen. After that we did earthmovers and it just kept going.”

In 1993 he became a co-director and owner of Cilmi Wigley Insurance Brokers, which he bought out in 2000 and later renamed Midland. The business is based in Melbourne and has offices in Mt Eliza, Perth and Sydney.

Mr Lane took a strong interest in wider industry issues and was an active supporter of broker education, playing an integral role in the creation of NIBA College.

In 2014 he was awarded NIBA’s Lex McKeown Trophy in recognition of outstanding service and a significant contribution to the profession.

At that time, he had attended all but one of the group’s 32 annual conventions.

“He was an incredibly successful broker over a long period of time and I certainly regarded Terry as a real father figure for NIBA and for brokers,” CEO Dallas Booth told insuranceNEWS.com.au.

“He has also been a mentor and inspiration for me personally. I am very grateful for the guidance and counsel he gave me in my role as CEO.”

Outside insurance, Mr Lane was a lifetime member of the Point Lonsdale Surf Lifesaving Club and a former president of the Eastern Golf Club.

He is survived by his wife Diane and sons Damien and Justin, who are both executive directors of Midland.

Funeral arrangements have not yet been finalised. insuranceNEWS.com.au will publish the details when they become available.

Would you like to share your thoughts and recollections about Terry Lane? Email editor@insurancenews.com.au and we will publish them on this page.

Andrew Coad, Manager Victoria and Tasmania, GT Insurance: I’ve been privileged to know Terry both professionally and personally for many years. Terry was an inspirational person who was prepared to imagine what could be and make it happen. He excelled in his insurance career, was a tireless servant to his golf club and a committed and proud family man. Terry was a wonderful mentor to me and I’ll be forever grateful for his guidance and friendship over the years. He will be missed.

John Clark, Broker Support Manager, Steadfast: Terry was larger than life and good for our broking industry. He will be sadly missed.

Gerry Phillips: I first met Terry in the 1980s when I was practising in Canberra and OAMPS was expanding into southern NSW. Friendly competitors you might say. When I moved to Melbourne and joined the Melbourne NIBA Committee, Terry and I had quite a bit of contact on industry matters, and of course we regularly socialised at NIBA events and conferences. We worked together, alongside Val Baker, Charles McMillan and the indefatigable Ian Able, on the first NIBA Education Committee, designing and implanting the Certified Practising Insurance Broker program, NIBA’s first leap into the world of insurance broker education. Following Terry’s merger of Midland with Cilmi Wigley Insurance Brokers, Terry was unable to maintain his position on the NIBA national board because John Wigley was also a NIBA director. So Terry and I “engineered" a swap of our roles, with me elected to take over his position as the Victorian NIBA Board representative, and Terry elected to the Victorian Committee as Chairman. Terry was a remarkable contributor to the insurance broking community, a dedicated and professional insurance businessman who was so highly regarded for decades. A leader of the industry, and one of this world’s all round nice guys. Our industry is richer for his presence, and poorer for his passing. Rest in peace Terry.

David Wyner, CEO, Reliance Partners Insurance Brokers: Terry was a man who in many ways was ahead of his time. The thought processes he applied every time a new opportunity arose were unique and the outcomes he achieved in many cases were extraordinary. His charismatic personality and tremendous ability to build rapport almost instantly set him apart – and endeared him to all who knew him. I have a lot to thank Terry for, his guidance and support – along with his faith and belief in me personally – gave me the confidence to tackle situations that otherwise would have been beyond my capability. He was selfless and totally dedicated to the industry he so loved. We have lost an absolute gem of a man and the broking industry mourns along with Diane, Damien and Justin. Terry will long be remembered for so many of the positive contributions he has made – not to mention the enduring friendships he forged over his rich and colourful lifetime. Thanks Terry, truly a sad time and a significant loss to the industry.  

Mark Searles, CEO and MD, AUB Group: On behalf of Sian, myself, everyone at AUB Group and the AIMS network our heartfelt condolences and thoughts go out to Terry’s family and colleagues. Terry was one of the first brokers we met when we first arrived in Australia from the UK to work at CGU and he went out of his way to make us feel welcome. I recall a lively Sunday lunch hosted by the Bolderstons with Terry and Diane where the Searles family were introduced to the concept of a good red/roast and treated to great Aussie hospitality. From that point on I learned more about Terry and his great contribution to our industry and always made a point of having a beer and a yack whenever our paths crossed. God bless you Terry for all that you have done for our industry, for your humour and friendship and the impact you have had on so many people.

Damian McHugh, Executive Manager, Procare Group: A true gentleman of our industry who positively impacted his staff, customers, suppliers and competitors alike, through his unique personal touch and undoubted expertise. Terry was always willing to challenge the status quo and help others along the way. Thank you Terry for your support and guidance over the years. You will always have a special place in our industry.

Greg Rynenberg, MD, East West Insurance Brokers: How sad it was to hear the news on the passing of Terry. He was one of our most charismatic leaders who contributed greatly to our industry and will be remembered and respected for the mark he has left on everyone whom he touched as well as our industry, association and the community. I send my thoughts and condolences to his family and his colleagues. He will be greatly missed by us all.

Tim Wedlock, NIBA President: On behalf of all brokers around Australia we are deeply saddened by this loss. Terry was a wonderful leader, mentor and father. Thanks for all you have done to support our profession, you will be missed but never forgotten.

Robert Ross, Senior Associate, Blueprint Insurance: Sad to hear the news and my condolences to both the family and the industry. Such a loss of a mentor. I have known Terry for a very long time and lost contact over the years in travels and mentoring others.

John George, Executive Chairman, MGA Whittles: Our thoughts are with his family, staff and industry colleagues. The industry has lost a friend and leader. In a generation of professionals there are very few who genuinely stand out head and shoulders above others. Terry was such a person and leaves behind him a great legacy.

Peter Brown, Director, Peter Brown & Associates: I first met Terry at a NIBA Conference in the late 1980s – in the days when the conference was all play and no work! He was a people magnet who only had friends, was a great mate [albeit whenever our paths crossed], generous and always the life of the party. He was a real industry identity.

Alan Bishop, Executive Chairman, EBM Insurance: I was very sad to hear of the passing of Terry. A great loss to our broking fraternity and our thoughts are with his family. Terry was always so generous with his time and of himself (and with such charismatic force) to everyone who had the good fortune to meet him, but he will also be remembered and respected for the tireless energy and intellect he imparted at company, industry association and community levels over so many fun-filled decades. He will be sorely missed by his family, friends and colleagues.

Jo Broderick, AIS Insurance Brokers: I had the best day on a golf course I have ever enjoyed with Terry years ago when he was part of a small group of golf-nut brokers invited to attend the opening of the Heritage Golf Course. Terry and I got to walk the course with the great Ian Baker-Finch and Aaron Baddeley and he had us all in stitches while sharing his life lessons, his golfing wisdom and his suggestions to improve Aaron Baddeley’s game! A genuine gentleman and a real good sport the like of which is becoming a rarity.