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Waratah Insurance Brokers acquisition the first step in ambitious growth plans for Australian Unity

22 Jun 2015
Australian Unity Personal Financial Services has acquired independent general insurance broker Waratah.

Sydney based Waratah has been re-branded and will now become part of Australian Unity’s Personal Financial Services offering, though the Waratah operating model and client proposition would be retained.

The transaction was completed on 6 March 2015.

Former Waratah managing director Brett Thornthwaite, who will continue to manage the business, welcomed the change, citing a strong philosophical and cultural alignment with Australian Unity.

“Australian Unity is a well-respected, 175 year old mutual, and has always prioritised client best interest, advisory integrity, and an open architecture environment for insurances," Mr Thornthwaite explained.

“The new arrangements will be good for our clients and our staff, and will also give us the wherewithal to realise our growth vision for our business through the referral networks now at our disposal,” he added.

Mr Steve Davis, chief executive officer of Australian Unity Personal Financial Services, said the acquisition was Australian Unity’s first step in building a significant presence in the general insurance broking space.

“Importantly, Brett and his team run an excellent business and they will be the operational benchmark for future acquisitions,” Mr Davis explained.

Mr Davis said Australian Unity’s growth plans were ambitious, but dependent on finding suitable general insurance broking businesses.

“We are looking for like-minded owners who are strongly client focused, with well managed businesses and who wish to become our business partner rather than an employee,” Mr Davis said.

“We plan to retain acquired businesses in their current formats and let the previous business owners get on with growing the business rather than operationally managing the business.

“Our model rewards the previous business owner on the growth they deliver over the transition period.

“That growth will be significantly augmented by us introducing our general insurance partners to the 300+ accounting firms who currently refer clients to us for finance broking and financial planning.  These accountants have been asking us for years to find a good general insurance broking solution for their clients and we are very excited to take our first step towards meeting this demand,” Mr Davis said.

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