At Hollard Commercial Insurance, we know brokers are prepared to go above and beyond to deliver the best result for their clients. And when we turn the clock back a hundred years or so, history shows us just how big a commitment it sometimes takes for a broker to protect their clients’ interests.
Long before the world got caught up in the 21st century online shopping boom, there were several major players battling it out for top spot on the high streets of Sydney. Still trading today, David Jones lays claim to being the oldest, continuously operating department store in the world, with their doors opening to the public on the corner of George and Barrack Streets for the first time on 24 May 1838.1
But as early as 1823, the Hordern family were making their mark on the Sydney scene with their first shop on King Street. Fast forward to 1879, and the premises of Anthony Hordern & Sons at Haymarket became the headquarters of arguably Australia's largest retailer.2
Soon after the turn of the century in 1901, disaster struck the Hordern’s Grand Palace Emporium, their main retail outlet, when a fire destroyed the building and much of its contents. If it hadn’t been for an insurance policy to the value of £125,000 organised by Sydney based brokers A. B. Pursell & Co., the event could have been a major financial setback for this thriving business.
|Finding an easy solution is not necessarily the best solution as often it will take a broker to navigate the complexities that are sometimes required to get the right cover.
In this instance, half the policy value, £69,700 was underwritten in Australia and it took 34 insurance companies issuing 63 policies between them just to cover the stock, with the rest of the liability taken by Lloyd’s of London. £125,000 might not sound like a substantial amount of commercial insurance cover. But looking at how much this sum would be worth today – around AUD$19 million3 – we can see why the broker had to go to such great lengths to arrange cover and manage the claim.
Bringing together so many insurance firms to secure cover for their client was just the start of the broker’s commitment to stellar service. After the fire, A. B. Pursell & Co. prepared more than 500 claim forms and arranged for a Justice of the Peace to witness the signing of every single one by policyholder Samuel Hordern.
This goes to show just how important it can be to have a broker in your corner when it comes to protecting a business and its assets. In this day and age of complex supply chains and new risks from ever-changing technology, this is even more the case. From securing the best possible cover to navigating the claim process, brokers continue to bring exceptional value to commercial insurance in the 21st century.