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Proclaim….25 years

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Wow, 25 years. It just seems like yesterday when I resigned form Chubb and went literally across the road to Gary Seymour’s broking house for some free office space, and Proclaim was born. We were originally going to be CMS, or Claim Management Solutions, but between coming up with that name and trying to register it, Marsh had the same idea. So when asked for another name – whilst the registration clerk was waiting to lodge mind you – I said, “Proclaim”, and the company was born.  Happenstance was on our side then, as Proclaim is a much better brand. 

We were a little company with big aspirations (we were always we, even when it was just me). We didn’t think the insurance industry was doing claims well, and we were particularly focused on bringing a more proactive and skilled approach to liability claims. We are very grateful to our first clients who came to us in June 1999 at their insurance renewals, where a hard market was forcing up deductibles, giving us a chance to seize an opportunity in that self-insured gap.  Our first two clients came via Bradstock, big thanks to Garyg Seymour and Peter McCarthy, being Spotlight and Jam Hotel Management (now Endeavour Group).  We are very proud that these two clients are still with us, 25 years later (along with our 4th client JLL). The first stage of our business was very much about corporate clients and creating a disciplined and proactive claim process that gave them control over their risk.   

We had some early traction in insurance in Australia with Zurich and then tried our luck at Lloyds. It was great to get questions about capability, systems, caseloads and results and we found them very receptive to our model. We were told working with Lloyd’s would require perseverance, and we committed to visiting regularly, listening and understanding what they wanted, and constantly seeking feedback on what we needed to improve – even if it seemed as simple as a column in the bordereaux. We are now known as the leading Australian claim manager with Lloyd’s with globally one of the most extensive briefs for audits. For that we are very grateful to all our Lloyd’s supporters and their loyalty over more than 20 years.   

It hasn’t been an easy ride, but from adversity and bumps in the road you learn some of your best lessons. We underestimated the difficulty of not being aligned to a broker, insurer or adjusting company as many of our competitors were. Turns out distribution in insurance is pretty brutal and not always a fair fight. We have also lost a few significant clients who have taken their claims in house. This always hurts, as we try and make claims look easy, but it’s not – in fact it is a complex puzzle of systems, process, people and resources that is very difficult to get right. Having said that, we wouldn’t change a thing…

I can think of many more highlights and achievements. Cracking the corporate market, then Lloyds, and also getting support from local agents and niche local insurers means a lot. To a large extent our clients have informed our business model, challenging us to do better and understand their requirements and to all of our clients I say thanks for your loyalty and constructive feedback over the years.  I believe it is in our DNA to listen and to be responsive, and I hope that never fades. That sense of urgency – I like to call it hustle – serves us well.

There have been other great achievements – being a Fast 100 company, being recognised as a great place to work, and building our own claim system are three that stick out. It aligns with our aspirations – we always wanted to be a great place to work, an innovator and a growth and development company.  But the greatest pride over 25 years comes with our people, many great alumni who served us and our clients so well, but also the 60 strong team we have now, who recognise that the work we do is important and on a daily basis live our purpose of going beyond. To all of them we owe a great debt of thanks.

So we find ourselves 25 years in with a great platform for the future ahead. Yes, there are always headwinds, be they challenges like regulation and compliance or shifts in law or code requirements. You can’t afford to stand still.

Justin and I are very proud of what we have built and the opportunities this foundation offers in the future. What most excites us is combining talent and tech to bring value to our partners, which we think will create really exciting opportunities for our team.

A big thanks to all our supporters – our team, clients, our agency network, brokers who have supported and referred work to us, and our adjusting, legal and experts we work with to create value for our clients. We could not have got here without you.

Keep going beyond. 

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3 Responses

  1. Beautifully said Jon. The Leadership at PROCLAIM is what makes coming to work so enjoyable. Problems are there to be solved openly and collectively and the “think outside the box” and “What do our clients need and want is paramount” to our daily work. Only been here a short time of the 25 years but I’m so happy and glad to be at PROCLAIM with a fabulous team of colleagues! Long may it continue!

  2. Jon congratulates on Proclaims first 25 years a great story of persistence and success a super achievement for you and your team
    All the very best
    Frank

  3. Congratulations Jon, a wonderful story, one you and Justin should be incredibly proud of !
    All the Very Best
    Smartie

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