I was asked recently by a client why we were part of the Steadfast Group. The client had interpreted our membership as meaning we were part of a large corporate rather than the small business that he had elected to work with. For me this was a really interesting question as I had only considered our membership of Steadfast to be a significant benefit for us and our clients.
Let me start by explaining a bit about Steadfast. The Steadfast Group was founded in 1996 with the catch cry ‘all of us are stronger than one of us’. The groups aim was to help small insurance brokers fight back against the international insurance brokers who at the time were starting to obtain better deals from insurance companies due to the global size of their businesses. International brokers were traditionally only interested in large corporate clients but with their thirst for ongoing growth had started to stray into the small to medium business area – traditionally the market of smaller suburban insurance brokers.
By pooling together as a combined group the Steadfast insurance brokers actually became larger than the international brokers which resulted in a significant shift in the balance of power. One of the most significant things Steadfast did early on was to negotiate our own insurance policies. This might not sound like much, but given all insurance claims depend on the fine print contained in the policy wording, they are very important to our success in getting claims paid. Insurance companies weren’t involved in the development of the new policy wordings so they were written as broadly as possible, minimizing grey areas and maximizing the ability for our clients to successfully lodge claims.
The insurers were initially very reluctant to agree to allow us to use our own policies for our clients. However Steadfast were clever in their approach and started by getting a couple of smaller insurers on board who were later followed by others. Eventually all of the significant insurers had agreed to support our preferred policy wording’s as none of them wanted to miss out on business from what had become the largest insurance broker group in Australia.
There are many other benefits that we and ultimately our clients receive from our Steadfast membership including superior pricing, legal advice, contract review service and access to over 150 insurers around the world. The Steadfast model has been extremely successful and has grown to now having 348 members that look after over 2 million insurance policies and over $6 billion in insurance premiums. Steadfast is the largest broking group in Australia and is now listed on the ASX.
Insurance is a complex product requiring careful consideration when taking out a policy or navigating the claims process. The large corporates in their quest to become massive global players have squeezed their customer service so thin that you might wonder if they know what customer service actually means. Small customer focused businesses will stand out in this environment as customers crave personal service, but when a small business can also leverage large corporate buying power the customer receives the best of both worlds. Our membership of the Steadfast Group provides our many clients with corporate clout, but we remain a 100% family owned small business focused on delivering excellent customer service.