Team Talks: Pete Takos

Pete on what motivates him and where he feels there's real room for innovation and positive change in our industry.

What’s your role within Rhodian?

I am one of Rhodian’s three founders and am the Chief Underwriting Officer for the network. My role is to work with our agency leaders to develop and maintain strong underwriting performance. One of the most important roles I play is in the sourcing and structuring of capacity, through both domestic and international relationships that Rhodian holds. I really love the challenge that this presents in our market and find it really rewarding to be involved in conversations that enable people to get into business and start to deliver their vision.

What motivates you professionally?

The drive to create and grow a successful business is a major source of motivation. The excitement of turning a vision into reality, and the sense of accomplishment that comes with each little step that is achieved, keeps me showing up.

I’ve always loved building high performing teams, so the opportunity to start from scratch and create a culture whereby we can empower people on their professional journeys is both a motivation and a huge sense of responsibility! Part of the Rhodian ethos is around working for each other and celebrating each other's success. To me this is the ultimate motivation, it is far more fun to be part of a successful collective effort than it is to shine individually.

What has been the most challenging part of your Rhodian founder journey?

The reality of starting a business within the insurance ecosystem is far more complex than I had initially thought. The regulatory restraints, legal requirements, and investment process all take time and rely on people across multiple businesses, states and countries. Often this has led to frustrations around the length of time to get from A to B, however, has also led us on an epic journey of understanding. These frustrations have allowed us to tailor the Rhodian proposition in order to absorb many of the start-up barriers to market for our launching agencies. We are now able to offer a framework that is fully fleshed out and tested, expediating the time it takes for new leaders to bring their vision to life and start doing business.

Every block we have come up against, as a team, we have found an answer for that sits comfortably within our values set as a business and as individuals. This is important to me and has really defined our checklist in terms of decision making as a team.

Where do you see room for true innovation within the industry?

As Chief Underwriting Officer, I see continued innovation in digital technologies and data areas. Improving customer experience through technology, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, to make buying insurance more user-friendly will be where we see a concerted focus. Hopefully Rhodian will be at the forefront of these conversations. It is also important that as an industry we share more data, more analysis and work together to better understand broad sector-based portfolios, and perhaps benefit from the predictive capabilities that this transparency could start to deliver. It is probably only possible to innovate ahead of yesterday's problem if we work as a collective, which is something that all of us at Rhodian are passionate about.

How do you think this innovation will improve the experience both insurer and broker partners have working with agencies?

I think that as a collective our responsibility to Australia’s SME market will be around the prevention of claims rather than just the management of product and claims processes. As more technology is developed and taken up by insurers and agencies alike, our ability to assist clients in the minimisation of claims and the prevention of mishaps will become a real value add for all of us, especially brokers. Australia is a unique environment in that we face more natural disasters than many countries, and we all know the challenges this is throwing our way. Being part of the solution through a data-driven collective could be very rewarding for the whole industry.

If someone was considering starting an underwriting agency, what would your advice be?

I think now is a great time to start an agency. If you have always had the thought/idea in the back of your mind, but been nervous to take the plunge, the Rhodian model could be right for you. You need to back yourself and be confident to deliver on product... and have the support of your distribution partners, but the rest you can leave to us. The sense of achievement you get from building out something that is yours and represents who you are is such a rewarding journey, and with the kind of backing we offer; the risk is truly minimised.

What excites you about the future of our industry?

I’m excited about the opportunity to improve the standard of collaboration between brokers, underwriting agencies and insurers, through the shared use of data and insights. I really believe that this is where we are headed as an industry, and we will start to see rapid improvements as a result. With such great young talent coming through the ranks, the millennial generation is starting to impact insurance and the culture of our businesses with positivity. Everywhere I look, the bar is raised, and I love that as Rhodian, we will be able to help lead this change.

What’s your goal for 2023?

Personally, I want to continue to focus on my mental and physical health. I’ve been enjoying some free time and being able to get to the gym, which I am hoping to maintain as life gets busier again.

Professionally, I’m really focused on securing the right talent into Rhodian. By staying true to the Rhodian values I'm looking to bring on not just the most technically capable people, but those that will also contribute positively to building a great culture.