Growing fast: McLardy McShane unveils key initiatives, appointments
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Brokerage and authorised representative (AR) network McLardy McShane continues to expand rapidly – but is putting processes in place to ensure it retains the characteristics that have made it successful.
When CEO Don McLardy and Director Mike McShane brought their broking businesses together in 2007, they had a handful of staff and about $10 million in gross written premium.
Now the Melbourne-headquartered business has about 400 personnel, 26 broking branches, 90 ARs and about $500 million in premium, including the major investment in Perth-based Apollo Risk Services announced in 2021.
“It's been a bit of a bit of a rocket ship, and over the last 10 years it’s grown really quickly,” Mr McLardy tells insuranceNEWS.com.au. “It's quite sobering to sit down and look at all our people and our numbers and figures.”
Making sure that rocket ship stays on course is vital – which is why the company is investing in new layers of infrastructure, and making a series of significant appointments.
“We understand now that we've become reasonably large, so we also need to focus on our internal support areas,” Mr McLardy says.
Group General Manager Meg Long has played a key role in building the business since joining in 2014, and retains that role.
Under Ms Long, a new national support team has been established, headed up by Kate Rishworth, who previously worked with Community Broker Network. The Adelaide-based team will be responsible for general support and administration of the network.
“Where we have ARs or branches that for whatever reason may be short-staffed, or have an overload that they can't keep up with, there'll be additional support behind them to come in and offer all of those services.
“We'll be able to put someone out into some of the smaller branches which are one or two-man shows, so we can support them physically if we need to. We're also looking at some additional larger claims type support.”
Within the national support team will be McLardy McShane Placements – a placement and assistance service for large accounts and large renewals.
“It could be for any areas where our network personnel feel a little bit out of their depth, or not quite experienced enough. These are big investments for us, for the future.”
Linked to the placements scheme is the McLardy McShane Young Guns program.
“We’ve put together a program to rapid fire our young people through how to manage larger accounts – key things in renewal processes, placement, all those things.
“Some of those guys are heading to London and Singapore, to upgrade our relationships there. We're looking at the next level of our younger people to open up new markets for us, and then through the placements area to utilise London and Singapore markets.
“We've got quite a large client base now and we're looking for pockets that we may be able to specialise in, or develop more specialised products and services.”
Another key appointment is National Manager of Partnerships Richard Davies, who joined just before Christmas.
The former head of operations at Insurance House Advance takes charge of all partnerships, including insurance companies, major clients and community partners.
“We've now got someone dedicated to looking after those partnerships, because we've built the business very much on a relationship base,” Mr McLardy says.
“We are in a relationship business and we're really conscious, as we grow larger, that we don't want to lose that, we still want to be personal and look after those people. That's been another really strong initiative.”
McLardy McShane has always prioritised fundraising, with an estimated $2 million raised for various charities and good causes. The annual golf day held in Victoria is hugely popular – and the aim is to hold similar events across the country in future.
“We're going to look at similar events in Sydney, in Brisbane and in Perth, and model them on the kinds of events that we've had here involving insurers, clients, and sometimes competitors even.”
New National Events Manager Bianca Galjar will be responsible for coordinating and hosting those events.
Behind all of these initiatives is an understanding that as the business expands, it’s vital to retain the elements that brought success.
Mr McLardy says that despite its increased scale, the company is determinedly non-corporate, with a focus on its people and community partnerships.
“What sets us apart is really our very personal approach, a really strong internal culture of developing people, giving back to the communities that we operate in, and making that very genuine commitment to the values that we hold.
“Most of our competitors are very large corporate companies. And we want to try and be the company that's professional but, in a way, non-corporate. That's our point of difference.
“As you get bigger, you’ve got to make sure you don't lose the things that made you attractive in the first place, and the things that have given us our growth.
“That's our number one focus.”