In 2013, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada-based Excel Insurance Group – an Assurex Global Partner, welcomed Sheppard Insurance Service and Risk Management into their Independent Broker Network. As part of the Excel Insurance Group, Sheppard Insurance gained access to the Assurex Global Partnership.
Just prior to the partnership, a valued and long-time client of Sheppard Insurance was looking to expand into the South Pacific and needed international insurance coverage. This client was faced with a challenge that was much more effectively supported through Assurex Global’s worldwide group of premier insurance brokers.
“Prior to the Assurex Global relationship, we were dealing with international cross border insurance companies,” Sheppard Insurance Vice President Scott Zurfluh said. “Placing coverage was more difficult because of the very segregated and disjointed communication that typically takes place within those companies – those without a local presence in that area. That was the only way we were able to do it at the time.”
A client since 2001, this privately held multi-million dollar company is based in Western Canada. In business for nearly a half century, the company operates as a contractor in the industrial construction sector. In 2015, the client expanded and opened a new company in Australia. This time, Sheppard Insurance immediately turned to the Assurex Global Partnership.
Sheppard Insurance Account Executive, Terri Lewis, contacted the Sydney, Australia-based Assurex Global Partner – GSA Insurance Brokers – to learn about local requirements. She also requested GSA’s assistance in placing the primary local coverage. GSA Director James Telford and Senior Account Manager David Hodges, stepped right in to determine how they would work together in delivering precisely what the client needed.
Notably, the Sheppard Insurance team learned from GSA that minimum legal liability requirements are significantly higher in Australia than they are in Edmonton, Alberta: $200,000 versus a whopping $30 million in Australia. Together, Sheppard Insurance and GSA were able to create a local, on-the-ground insurance program that enabled the Australian operations for the client – and do it in an efficient, expedient and responsive manner.
“The responsiveness and responsibility of the Partner broker in these types of situation is critical,” Telford said. “Sheppard deals a lot with London, which has an eight-hour time difference. They contact them in the morning and still get a same-day response – because London is still only afternoon away from Edmonton. With Australia, it’s an 18-hour time difference. We had to be able to match their expectations.”
Zurfluh added, “Telford is right. To make our collaboration work, both parties had to realize that Australia is a day away from us, creating a very real possibility for headaches. This is why it is so critical to have a Partner on the ground that can respond to our clients’ needs in real time. GSA was able to do that for us.”
In what is common for collaborating Assurex Global Partners, Sheppard and GSA were able to turn around Certificates of Insurance from Australia to the client’s headquarters in Canada within 10 minutes. “I’ve dealt with accounts that are with the large multinationals and I know that they can deal with their different districts around the world – but they don’t get things done in that kind of time frame,” Zurfluh said. “Assurex Global is both enabling and powerful.”
Working within the Assurex Global Partnership provides the ability to treat every piece of business like it is your own. There is an ownership and accountability factor that streamlines the service delivered to the client.
“By not properly dealing with what seemed just a small piece of new business around the world, we are risking our long term relationship with our client,” Lewis said. “It is imperative that our client is looked after well by a partner broker in as an expedient fashion as we would do for them anywhere in Canada – and as we do so often for them.”
GSA solidified the first stages of getting two lines of insurance placed for the client. As the new company becomes established in Australia and beyond, Sheppard Insurance Group will enlist Assurex Global Partners every time the need arises.
“After this experience in working with the Assurex Global Partnership, building a relationship with GSA and successfully fulfilling the client’s risk management needs, I will certainly look to the Partnership in the future.” Lewis said. “Our client always tells us that we are its “easy button,” and our ability to access the Assurex Global Partnership helped us prove that again.”