Q&A with Dwayne Haydon, Director and Principal of PACE Insurance

Q&A with Dwayne Haydon, Director and Principal of PACE Insurance

Insurance Advisernet were lucky enough to sit down with one of our Advisers, Dwayne Haydon, a Director and Principal of PACE Insurance, to ask him all things insurance; from the history of PACE, his experiences within the industry and advice.

How did PACE Insurance start out? 

PACE was founded in 2009 by a passionate group of four work mates (Grant Bishop, Jason Bakras, Milton Gonzalez and myself). We joined the Insurance Advisernet family as a Corporate Authorised Representative and it’s been the best decision we ever made. 

We were all very fortunate to have worked together at an international broker for many years, which gave us invaluable insurance broking experience, which we are all very grateful for. However, we found ourselves wanting to create something different and had an ambition to do it for ourselves. Call it controlling your own destiny if you will! We wanted to use our international insurance broking experience to provide custom designed insurance and risk management solutions with the added benefit of offering a truly personalised service to our clients. 

Starting from a zero base, today we have clients all over the country. We employ more than 20 staff and we have offices in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane and Darwin. We continue to take a personal, hands-on approach to the business, working directly with our clients and insurer partners every day. It has been an amazing journey to date, and we have learnt so much along the way.

What areas of Business does PACE specialise in?

A key part of our business is Hospitality and Commercial Property Owners. However, we also work with many other clients in Retail, Supermarkets, Wineries, Food and Beverage, Manufacturing, Contract Works, Engineering, Transport, Warehousing and Logistics, Information and Technology and Professional Risks. We generally focus on the mid-market business segment.

What areas of Hospitality do you specialise in? 

We specialise in the Hotel and Licensed Clubs segment, which includes hotel groups, licensed clubs, gaming venues, pubs, accommodation and restaurant chains. 

Milton and I have over 35 years of insurance broking experience within the hospitality sector. This experience gives us a depth of business, technical knowledge and professionalism most firms our size simply can’t deliver. With such an unrivalled understanding and clear insight into the Industry, we identify and assess our clients risk exposures and design tailored insurance and risk management solutions, all supported by A-rated Insurer markets.

We are proud to be the endorsed insurance provider for two of Australia’s most respected hospitality industry groups: Community Clubs Victoria and Club Managers Association. It’s a relationship that sees us work closely with their members every day, providing the relevant support and advice they need. We understand the risks our clients face every day by keeping up to date with industry and legislative changes. We also take it one step further and assist our clients to implement a wide range of risk management solutions.

We are now arguably one of largest Hospitality insurance brokers in the industry and we are very proud of the calibre of our client portfolio.

Claims are a key service of your business; how do you manage these?

We sell our clients a promise, so when a client experiences a loss of any kind, from a small glass breakage to a severe or catastrophic interruption to their business, that’s when it’s time for us to deliver.

We believe making a claim is the ultimate test of any insurance relationship. It’s why Claims Management is the showcase of our business. It is important that we are there to assist and support our clients through every stage of the claims process, from the event itself to resolution. Key pillars of our Claims Management services include:

  • Providing a dedicated claims manager and support team to personally guide our clients through every step of the claim.
  • 24/7 access to assessors, loss adjusters, builders, emergency make safe and repair services, who are affiliated with all major insurers.
  • Negotiating proactively with insurers on our clients behalf to deliver the best possible claims outcome.
  • Hands-on involvement by the Directors during the claims process, especially with technical claims.
Have you noticed any shifts within the industry? 

The property market continues to harden, which is reflective of the industry as a whole. Furthermore, there is a shortage of insurers in Australia who have an appetite to underwrite Hospitality business. Insurers that do play in this space target quality risks that are well managed and have the appropriate fire and security protection in force. There are very few insurers, who have the capacity or appetite to write country pubs with inferior construction or any venues that are situated in Northern Australia, that are cyclone exposed.

Following COVID-19 a number of insurers have had embargos applied which prevents them from writing any new hospitality business. We are also seeing many insurers impose new conditions to any unoccupied premises/venues. We are recommending clients to implement the following procedures, whilst venues are unoccupied and not trading:

  • All fire services must remain fully operational and are functioning
  • All security services must remain fully operational and functioning. This includes back to base alarm monitoring services, CCTV etc.
  • All poker machines must be cleared
  • All ATM’s must be emptied and cleared
  • All money to be removed from premises and banked – with the exception for small floats secured within locked safes
  • Signs on entry points advising no cash kept on premises
  • All alcohol to be secured/locked within the venue
  • Conduct regular onsite inspections and keep a logbook
  • Attend to housekeeping items such as removal of all non-essential non-combustible items in storage, cleaning, and maintenance etc.
  • All non-essential electrical appliances are required to be switched off and disconnected

We are also seeing a shift in the Liability market, particularly for Hotel Groups and Hospitality venues with nightlife entertainment and late night trading (i.e. bands, nightclubs, dancing, entertainment), or accounts with a poor claims experience and frequency losses. What we are seeing is insurer’s placing a greater emphasis on liability risk management. Client’s should be adopting the following risk management procedures:

  • Formal incident reporting procedures
  • CTV covering all areas and to be kept for a minimum of 30 days
  • Toilet, bathroom, dance floor cleaning and inspection log/check sheets
  • Employ glass stewards to monitor all areas for spills and to collect/remove unattended drinks
  • Dance floors to be slip tested and rated
  • Conduct regular liability risk assessments/surveys
  • Employee Booklet / Management Plant
  • Review contractual arrangements and obligations with contract security providers
What tips do you have for hospitality owners considering their insurance policies?
  1. Align yourself with a broker/adviser with the right insurance industry expertise
  2. Take the time to review and understand your policy. Check the policy terms and conditions – you get what you pay for!
  3. Partner with an A-rated insurer who has a track record of paying claims
  4. Prevent the risk of underinsurance:
    • Obtain independent insurance valuations to determine the correct reinstatement and replacement values for Buildings, Contents, Plant and Equipment.
    • Regularly review your Business Interruption Declared Values to ensure you are declaring the correct Insured Gross Profit and Payroll Declared values

For more assistance and further guidance from Dwayne or one of our other Advisers, find your local adviser.

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