Day 1 Highlights from the 2023 NIBA Convention

Day 1 Highlights from the 2023 NIBA Convention

The insurance broking community descended upon the Gold Coast, otherwise known as the ‘spiritual home’ of NIBA for the 2023 NIBA Convention. With this being the first traditional face-to-face Convention in more than three years, there was a strong turnout of delegates, sponsors and exhibitors ready to engage, network and be inspired by an exciting lineup of speakers. Here are some key highlights from day one of the Convention.

President's Address

NIBA President, Gary Okely kicked off the 2023 NIBA Convention on Monday morning, welcoming all the delegates, sponsors and exhibitors in attendance to the Gold Coast, the ‘spiritual home’ of NIBA. 

He spoke about the three main NIBA pillars – community, representation and professionalism. 

With regards to the community pillar, he highlighted that over 3000 brokers have been involved with NIBA events in the past year, and it was fantastic to see the broking community come together and engage with each other. 

Regarding representation, he highlighted the work NIBA is doing advocating with federal government agencies such as with NEMA (National Emergency Management Agency) around disaster resilience. 

On the professionalism front, which is all about maintaining professional standards for our profession and industry, he highlighted two key areas: implementing the Code of Practice and growing talent. 

NIBA is also working with the IBCCC regarding complaints, breaches and continuous improvement. 

He ended by reaffirming his thanks to the Convention Chair, the Convention Committee, sponsors, exhibitors and delegates for making the Convention a success. 

Then, two awards were announced, recognising the positive impact of brokers in the community and excellence in claims.  


2023 NIBA Community Excellence award winner  

Congratulations to Paula Cruden, Managing Director at Integrite Insurance for winning the 2023 NIBA Community Excellence award, proudly sponsored by Liberty Specialty Markets. 

Paula was presented her award by NIBA President, Gary Okely and Peter O’Leary - Vice President - Relationship Management & Marketing, Asia Pacific, Liberty Specialty Markets. 

Peter said “Paula shows true commitment to helping clients and her community. Not only does her business specialise in providing insurance services to a diverse group of non-profit organisations (NFPs), community groups and disability service providers, she also supports her clients by participating and donating to fundraising events.” 

In addition to receiving a full Convention ticket, return flights and accommodation, Paula also receives $1,000 to donate to her charity of choice. 

Paula has kindly donated $1,000 to Capes 4 Kids, her business Integrite Insurance has matched the $1,000 donation and McLardy McShane has also matched the $1,000 donation. In total, $3,000 will be donated to Capes 4 Kids collectively.  

Liberty Specialty Markets were very impressed with the quality of the other applications and nominations and they will also receive $500 to donate to their chosen charity. 


2023 NIBA Claims Broker of the Year award winner 

To recognise excellence in claims management and to celebrate those members working in a claims-specific role in a brokerage, NIBA has created the inaugural Claims Broker of the Year award with the support of our sponsor, Sedgwick.    

Congratulations to Charmaine Field, Claims Manager at NQIB for winning the 2023 Claims Broker of the Year award.  

Charmaine was presented her award by NIBA President, Gary Okely and Colin McEnery – Client Director – Sedgwick. 

Colin said, “Charmaine’s application demonstrated great empathy and genuine service to the community." 

Charmaine demonstrated excellence in technical competence in claims management and advocacy in action, professionalism in building relationships with clients and underwriters and extensive experience in claims process and practice leading to better client outcomes. 


President's Address
Gary Okely - President's Address
2023 Community Excellence Award Winner
Community Excellence Award Winner
Inaugural Claims Broker of the Year Winner
Inaugural Claims Broker of the Year Winner


Launch of 'Insure Your Future'

Philip Kewin, NIBA CEO has unveiled today at the 2023 NIBA Convention a first-of-its-kind initiative to promote insurance broking as a career of choice, 'Insure Your Future'.

NIBA CEO, Philip Kewin and Chair of the Promoting Insurance Broking Careers Committee, Cameron Sheild discussed the development of the Insure Your Future initiative and how the initiative will provide information and clear pathways for people to take their first steps into discovering the insurance broking industry.

There will be content aimed at various key demographics, including high-school leavers, university graduates and career changers. The website will also shine a light on inspiring and varied stories from professionals within the industry, showcasing the many pathways into the industry.

Insure Your Future will also have volunteers attending careers expos around the country to enable us to reach a wider audience than ever before. 

Insure Your Future will be launching in phases over the coming months, and members should keep an eye out on the usual NIBA channels for updates on this exciting project. 

To register your interest and to be notified when the official website launches at the end of the year, visit



Opening Keynote Speaker – Dr Jordan Nguyen

In his keynote, Jordan spoke about how AI and cutting-edge technology can be used to have a positive impact on people and society, including improving the lives of people with disabilities, in aged care and wildlife conservation. 

1 in 5 Australians have some kind of disability. 1 in 16 Australians have a disability that severely impacts them. 

These statistics inspired Jordan to build a mind-controlled wheelchair, for people with severe mobility issues. As Jordan said, “AI and machine learning are very good at identifying patterns in data.” 

Jordan shared his vision of where he believes the world is moving towards, which is one of having “shared control” – this is where a person and AI have shared control of their surroundings. 

He highlighted exciting examples of how biomedical technology, AI and machine learning can be used to improve the lives of people, including from the Catalyst documentary called “Becoming Superhuman”. 

Working at the Cerebral Palsy Alliance, Jordan met Riley Saban, a 13-year-old with severe cerebral palsy, who was being assessed for an eye-tracking device (through which he communicates).  

Jordan and his team worked to harness Riley’s most reliable voluntary movements – those from his eyes – using electrooculography (EOG), Riley was able to drive a buggy by controlling it through his eye movements. 

Jordan ended his inspiring presentation by reiterating that technology can do many things, but’s just a tool. He spoke about using virtual reality (VR) in things like exposure therapy, to help people get over their phobias. For him, AI, robotics and machine learning were tools that can be used to improve the lives of countless Australians. 



Insurer response to Australia’s most expensive natural disaster

Insurance Council of Australia CEO, Andrew Hall provided an insight into the most expensive natural disaster experienced in Australia and how insurers responded. He acknowledged the role that brokers played in helping people and communities back on their feet after last year’s floods in Southeast Queensland and the Northern Rivers and the claims experience that followed. 

According to Andrew, “What Australia needs to do to use insurance as a tool in its fight against climate change.” 

Andrew discussed the Parliamentary Inquiry that’s underway on the insurer response to the 2022 major floods. The Inquiry will look at claims handling and affordability, among other things. Insurers are expected to be called to the Inquiry in early 2024. 

Reflecting on past events through normalised data provides insights into the cost and impact of past events if they were to occur today. The data shows that if the 1999 Sydney Hailstorm were to happen today, it would cost $8.85bn.  

Andrew closed by reaffirming the urgency of reform in terms of how Australia looks at disaster resilience. “Australia has a small window to close the gap on the resilience and mitigation measures needed,” he said. 

Launch of 'Insure Your Future'
'Insure Your Future'
Dr Jordan Nguyen
Dr Jordan Nguyen
Andrew Hall
Andrew Hall



Planning & Resilience: Where to from here?

Andrew Hall’s presentation flowed into the next session of the conference, exploring a strategic approach to future planning and resilience that will better position Australian communities to protect against and deal with natural disasters. 

A panel of industry leaders including Andrew Hall, CEO, ICA, Drew MacRae, Consumer Representative Insurance Brokers Code Compliance Committee, Andrew Minack First Assistant Coordinator General, Policy and Programs National Emergency Management Agency, Gary Okely, NIBA President explored what a future path in disaster resilience might look like. 

The panel acknowledged that there is a need for greater cooperation around emergency management at a community, state and federal level. All levers need to work together for effective disaster resilience. 

Brokers are experts in understanding the community. They help understand where the funds should and shouldn’t go. Brokers are in the thick of it in terms of providing advice to members of the community and explaining risk. 

Because insurance prices risk, it’s important to understand which projects require the right investment that can help in risk reduction. It’s this risk reduction that drives down premiums. 

Community level investment is what’s needed. That’s the indication being given from global reinsurers. What we need to do is be able to lift the community standard as a whole. 

Underinsurance and people opting out of flood insurance, as well as people choosing not to insure because of how expensive premiums can be are some of the key issues that people are currently facing. 

Risk means so many different things to so many different people. Brokers can do two things – advocacy and innovation. Brokers can advocate for clients and innovate with new solutions. Brokers are an innovative bunch who can work through different types of solutions.



Future Risks – Property Insurance Done Differently

Brian Maruncic, Head of Climate Business for Australia and New Zealand at AXA XL delved into the realm of parametric insurance product creation and application through an exploration of the integration of physical risk assessments. 

Right now, property insurance is very reactive. But, we need to think about what happens when we can predict when certain events happen. That’s where parametric insurance comes in. 

Parametic insurance in Australia offers a mature market with diversified demand. It provides certainty, speed and customer satisfaction but shouldn’t be seen as a replacement for traditional insurance. 

Parametric insurance can be the best way to avoid a painful claims process. It is adjustable – the client can choose the index, thresholds and the payouts adapted to risks. It is transparent – thanks to an independent source of data. It is also fast – once triggered, the client confirms the losses and can receive payment within hours. 

Mr Maruncic shared valuable insights into the practical utilisation of parametric insurance through real-world instances that showcase its effectiveness in mitigating global weather-related challenges. 



Unlocking Purpose, Performance and Power 

In her afternoon keynote, Dr Bronwyn King AO, shared stories from her life that led her to becoming an elite swimmer and the Australian swimming team’s doctor and starting her campaign against tobacco. 

She shared her inspiring journey in how she started her not-for-profit organisation called “Tobacco Free Portfolios”, with the aim of getting the finance sector to stop investing tobacco companies and tobacco products. She launched the Tobacco Free Finance Pledge in September 2018 at the UN Headquarters in New York. This meant that with 90 signatories, about $9 trillion AUD was committed to not invest in tobacco products. 

When looking at finding your life’s purpose, Dr King discussed the concept of ‘ikigai’ - a balance of four areas of one’s life. These four areas include: what you love, what you're good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for. 

Four key learnings from Dr King’s presentation were: 

  • Life just doesn’t go from A to B in a straight line. The key is not to get upset. Never lose sight of your exact goal. 
  • Impossible is an unhelpful word. 
  • Don’t get disheartened when you hear the word ‘no’. 
  • Transparency helps build trust. It’s okay to say, ‘I don’t know’. 

Thank you to Solution Underwriting for sponsoring this session.

Planning & Resilience
Planning & Resilience
Brian Maruncic
Brian Maruncic
Dr Bronwyn King AO
Dr Bronwyn King AO


Tradition to Transformation: Attracting talent to the industry

In an insightful discussion, panellists Tom Wheeler, William Thompson, Cameron Sheild and Jodie Krafft discussed how tradition and historic methods and preconceptions within the insurance industry may be standing in the way of current efforts to attract and retain talent – and how to address this. 

The panel took delegates on a journey, first looking into the context of the talent shortage, how things have been done historically and what misconceptions plague our profession. 

They then turned to some of innovative approaches to talent attraction being used currently, and the obstacles which remain in the way of their success. 

Panellists finished by discussing what now needs to be done for the profession to succeed in its efforts, concluding that a unified industry approach is the most likely successful solution to this, highlighting the importance of the new ‘Insure Your Future’ initiative unveiled by NIBA CEO Philip Kewin earlier in the morning. 

Thank you to Solution Underwriting for sponsoring this session.



Sharing risk to create a braver world

In the final session of the day, Patrick Tiernan, Chief of Markets at Lloyd’s of London, shared his insights about how insurance can be affordable, accessible, and relevant to customers. 

The four themes he covered in his session were – affordability and availability of insurance, how insurance can play a role in tackling climate and natural catastrophes, the challenges of geopolitical risk and the rise of cyber, and some of the innovative solutions that Lloyd’s have produced to tackle these above challenges.  

There is a disparity in the risks that society is currently facing versus the risks that the industry currently covers. This is called the ‘protection gap’. This gap is 60% for natural catastrophes and with cyber, that goes up to almost 90%. Focusing on innovation, mitigation and resilience can help in mutualising risk and help bridge the protection gap.  

It’s vital when dealing with climate catastrophes to be on top of the latest science to inform the correct approach. Experience and expertise in our industry is needed so we can have informed approaches to emerging risks. There is more exposure in more hazardous locations around the world. Climate change can be an amplifying factor when there is already a massive exposure to risk.  

State-sponsored cyber-attacks are very, very difficult to insure. Cyber is the fastest growing class of business at Lloyd’s. The growth of cyber-attacks will only increase and there is a need to future-proof against those losses resulting from cyber-attacks. The products that customers need to protect against cyber risks aren’t available to the degree that they should. This needs to change and quickly.  

Thank you to Solution Underwriting for sponsoring this session.

Tradition to Transformation
Attracting Talent
Patrick Tiernan
Patrick Tiernan
NIBA Marketplace
NIBA Marketplace