From starting with just a laptop at home in 2008 to servicing hundreds of customers Australia-wide today, Lee O’Connor used his 20+ years’ experience in the insurance sector to establish Proactive Insurance Management.
The general insurance brokerage takes great pride in providing business organisations with a combination of professional advice, risk education and access to competitive premiums. O’Connor says this approach is key to the company’s 13-year success.
“Although still important to clients, we’re not focused purely on price. For us it’s more about how we can best assist and provide solutions to meet our client’s needs,” he says.
“We make it our priority to educate our clients, so that they can better appreciate what they’re investing their financial resources in to. We want clients to understand that insurance is not only there to protect their business, but more importantly how it protects them.”
O’Connor ensures his clients have the best possible cover, no matter what industry they are in.
Using both local insurance markets and Lloyds of London cover holders, Proactive Insurance Management has access to mainstream insurers and specialist underwriting agencies, so it can always find the best match for its client’s risk profile.
The company also offers tailored programs that can specifically cover the needs of a client’s business.
“So if your risk needs are unique or a little out of the box, we can tailor a cover specifically to meet your circumstances,” O’Connor says. “This then meets the client’s risk exposures, whilst ensuring that they are fully briefed on what cover is available, how it works and the exact costs to them,” he says.
During his time as an insurance broker, O’Connor has gained knowledge and experience through a variety of risk transactions that have allowed the company to grow its service offering. One such area that Proactive Insurance Management specialise in, is undertaking detailed reviews of the current insurance programs of businesses.
O’Connor says clients are provided with a detailed written, comprehensive analysis of their current position and recommended actions they can take to reduce the risk, complexity and cost of their insurance program.
“My vision is to share this knowledge and experience with our clients. The aim is to enable customers to make informed decisions in relation to managing risk exposures within their businesses, and to secure the right insurance protection that best suits their specific needs and circumstances.”
O’Connor believes that it is through this process of advice and education, that his team has been able to grow its business and increase referrals through existing customers.
“A lot of our clients are contractors in the mining and resources, oil and gas, and government sectors,” he says. “These range from the single tradesman with a utility and tools, through to complex businesses paying premiums upwards of $1 million for their insurance program. However, although our customer base is quite diverse, we make a point of advising our smaller business clients in the exact same way that we do with our top tier customers. That way they too can benefit from our knowledge and advice, which in turn can help them grow their businesses.”
Unlike most companies which felt the impacts and challenges of COVID-19, O’Connor says the pandemic allowed his business to grow, as most of its clients were considered essential services.
“The company was very fortunate because most of our clients were from industry sectors that actually benefited from the pandemic, as these sectors were powering the national economy,” he says.
“A lot of them were investing in new assets, equipment and human resources, which in turn contributed to our growth. These positive impacts from COVID-19 have actually been a great steppingstone for us to start looking at expanding our business footprint at a highly accelerated rate.”
Following the boost in business, O’Connor says the company now has the confidence to continue expanding the company interstate from Western Australia.
With many clients now based in Queensland and the NT, Proactive Insurance Management has its sights set on growing its foothold interstate, particularly in New South Wales and Victoria. This includes the acquisition of broking businesses on the East Coast.
“As we continue to see more clients and enquiries in those states, it makes sense to seek out further opportunities there” he says. “I work with a business coach and mentor once a month on such activity, so we’ve established timeframes and criteria in order to make those acquisitions and growth happen.”
O’Connor is also continuing to expand the size of his company’s close-knit team, albeit very selectively. He says it’s been the quality of his staff and the company’s operational flexibility that have enabled it to adapt to a growing clientele.
“Often when companies grow too quickly, they become too stretched and then make poor decisions on the number and quality of staff they employ to meet the demands of that growth,” he says. “However, as we have always focused on securing people that are technically strong and the right cultural fit for our business, it has made the growth transition easier to deal with. But because we’re also a small close-knit team, we’re more adaptable to change. We continually update and streamline our procedures and processes, so that we don’t lose control of workload or our focus on our clients.”