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Expanding Our Ark mutual says it offers ‘a different way’ 

Discretionary mutual Our Ark says it has grown to more than 70 members since launching three years ago, is now protecting almost $2 billion of property, and is offering an alternative for brokers. 

Our Ark launched in December 2020 with the Anglican Diocese of North Queensland joining as a foundation member after it faced soaring renewal premiums. 

Members include churches and faith groups, community housing, childcare centres regional accommodation providers, sporting clubs, land councils, education providers and other organisations. 

CEO Charles Pollack says the mutual’s offering includes the pricing of each property individually, whether for a single structure or a portfolio of thousands, to form the quote. 

“This way, when it comes to understanding the factors driving a price, the real risks within a portfolio can be identified, and decisions made about how to protect each building. A member can decide at individual building level between full replacement, fixed value, or removal of debris and make safe only,” he said. 

“We’ve found that by providing those options gives members, and their brokers, a different way to consider how to protect an organisation and its property.”  

Since forming the mutual board has considered 28 claims, including some resulting from the weather events that hit eastern Australia last year. 

Our Ark says not all brokers have an inclusion for miscellaneous financial risk products on their Australian Financial Services Licence, which allows them to provide advice on, or deal in discretionary mutual risk protection products. 

But the mutual says it also has a standard referral agreement, which remunerates referrers with a fee, and that keeps brokers in the loop. 

Our Ark’s capital base is a combination of mutual capital instrument (MCI) shares and retained earnings from member contributions. 

MCIs were introduced into the Corporations Act in 2019 and allow mutuals to issue shares to raise investment capital, while protecting the mutual ownership structure.