Hamilton insurance broker challenges industry to get frank on fees

Hamilton-based commercial insurance brokers Hutchison Rodway Waikato launched their new brand Frank Risk Management today, which reflects the company’s commitment to fully disclose income to their clients.

Frank Risk Management directors Rene Swindley and Andrew Newman said business owners have the right to know what they’re paying for and Frank Risk Management is unique in that the company has always operated on a full disclosure basis without hidden commissions.

“Frank is a good name for our company, because that’s what we are - upfront and frank,” said Swindley.

“From our point of view, eventually New Zealanders should see a shift in regulation that will make all insurance brokers disclose their income, as they currently do overseas. We’ve always been ahead of the industry in this respect,” he said.

Mr Newman said greater disclosure is catching on with other brokers, but it is often a reactive measure and all that’s disclosed to the client is the fees charged on top of a commission that the broker receives with no disclosure of the amount of commission itself.

“This is not full disclosure. Clients need to know the total remuneration so that they can measure this against the value the broker adds,” said Mr Newman.

The directors said their business has experienced rapid growth since they first started in 2008, which is partly due to income disclosure, but also the risk management support and disaster recovery planning that they build into their overall service.

“This means our clients are less vulnerable to the ebbs and flows of the insurance market and are taking a longer term view of their risk expenses, generally with better results. Since the Canterbury earthquakes many businesses have had a rough ride with increasing premiums and restrictive cover. Taking charge of matters pays,” said Swindley.

The directors said while Frank Risk Management is not claiming to provide the cheapest service, it is putting its stake in the ground as a company that is committed to providing greater value as a result of full income disclosure.

“Often it’s a business who has had a bad claims experience and thought that it wasn’t fairly represented who sees the importance of knowing exactly what they’re paying for and the value they’re getting out of their broker,” said Mr Swindley.

Partner Jaden Hatwell said the company of seven is excited about the new brand.

“We have invested a lot of time into the change of identity, and we think it is important to emphasise the difference between Frank and our competitors,” he said.

Frank timeline

  • 1989: Steve Taylor founds Hutchison Rodway Insurance Brokers
  • 1990's: Hutchison Rodway secures key clients in the Auckland market
  • 2005: Under the guidance of Steve Taylor, Andrew Newman and Rene Swindley start Hutchison Rodway, Waikato - based in Hamilton
  • 2009: Hutchison Rodway Waikato (HRW) launches New Zealand's first fully transparent broking firm
  • 2009-2014: HRW grows from a small two man operation to a team of seven
  • 2011: HRW goes live with Fully online rental property insurance offering, Initio
  • 2012: Initio and Bookabach enter into joint venture for the online insurance of Holiday Homes.
  • 2014: Jaden Hatwell joins the team and is made a Partner of the firm; HRW acquires new premises in Clifton Road, Hamilton; HRW re-brands to Frank and announces to the market 'this is how it does business'

Frank is the pioneer of disclosed fee insurance broking.