Fellow brokers, friends, ladies and gentlemen,
I am extremely honoured to be elected as your President for the next 12 months. I am acutely aware that along with this honour come duties and responsibilities. These weigh heavily on my mind, as indeed they should. However, with your support and the support of the Secretariat we, your incoming Board, will work tirelessly to support the best interests of our members.
As Cathal leaves office today I have seen first-hand the time and effort that he has put into our organisation and on your behalf I would like to sincerely thank him for his dedication and commitment, which was evident through traveling from Waterford an abundant amount of times, for all he has done, and achieved, and to wish him well in the future.
Since we merged last May we were placed in a stronger position to promote and protect the interests of member brokers. A single, strong and united voice representing over 1200 brokers has helped carry extra weight and respect with insurers, the Central Bank and other industry representative bodies. In my term of office, my main objectives are to continue to bind the two merged bodies into a strong Brokers Ireland brand and to move forward on key objectives for both Life and General Brokers.
Brokers Ireland’s role is to promote and protect the interests of General Insurance and Financial Brokers and there are many issues and challenges ahead.
Regulation and compliance are key issues for the Association. As Cathal alluded to earlier, Brokers Ireland are actively and will continue to strongly lobby government and political representatives on the significant Central Bank Proposal CP116. In the coming weeks, our own CEO, Diarmuid Kelly will be meeting with key Central Bank decision makers to discuss various issues such as the word inducements, differing commission levels and the issue of transparency around the commission levels. We will keep you informed of such meetings as and when they take place.
In February the government launched “A Roadmap for Pensions Reform 2018 – 2023” document which outlined 6 strands to Pensions Reform:
Strand 1: Reform of the State Pension – Including the total contributions approach
Strand 2: Building Retirement Readiness – A New Automation Enrolment Savings Scheme
Strand 3: Improving Governance and Regulation – including the EU Pensions Directive ‘IORP II’
Strand 4: Measures to Support the Operation of Defined Benefit Scheme
Strand 5: Public Service Pensions Reform
Strand 6: Supporting Fuller Working Lives
A consultation document on the area of auto-enrolment is expected by the end of the 2nd quarter of 2018, Brokers Ireland will be making a submission on this consultation and will be looking for member feedback closer to the date.
Differential pricing and the resultant reputational damage is still a major issue for us. A newly designed survey is in the process of being put together to gauge a better understanding of the difference between Broker and direct channels. We must continue to monitor not just pricing but also the features and benefits of Broker policy wordings versus Direct and remind insurers at every opportunity that we are watching this space.
We are still some way from a satisfactory outcome and I have no doubt that this issue will be high on the agenda of the General Services Committee.
Broker brand – we need to work towards developing a strong broker brand. We need to raise awareness in the consumers eyes of the fantastic service and advice that a broker gives. We provide relationships and look after our customers from the inception of a new policy right through to the claims process. Usually in a broker’s office the same people deal with the customer right through. We value our customer relationships, and this is why the customer has stayed with the broker channel despite the massive onslaught of advertising by direct Insurers. The broker channel is a resilient channel and we are here to stay. Our goal in Brokers Ireland is to help brokers improve and strengthen their foothold in the market.
We have done this on the Life side of the house through the Financial Broker brand. Brokers Ireland are now looking at exploring the establishment of a new consumer facing brand designed for general insurance brokers. We are in the middle of conducting market research to define a value proposition and strategy around this proposed brand. We will keep you fully informed of developments in this area.
We have over 50 members on various committees who give voluntarily of their time and expertise. They do tremendous work behind the scenes and are without doubt the unsung heroes of the Association. I would like to thank them for their dedication and hard work and look forward to working with them in the year ahead.
In conclusion, it is an honour and a privilege to stand here as your President. I hope to continue the excellent work of my predecessor and to build on the foundations that have been laid. I look forward to working with such an able Secretariat and with all the members of the various committees so that we can serve and represent the needs and aspirations of all our members.

The First Annual General Meeting of Brokers Ireland took place on Thursday 24 May 2018 in Dublin’s Radisson Blu, Golden Lane. We also held CPD Sessions before and after the AGM. RSA delivered an hour CPD on Household Insurance and Engineering & Construction Insurance while Royal London rounded off the morning with a presentation titled: An Hour in the Life of an Underwriter – Underwriting Approach to 10 Common Disclosures. Special thanks to Fiona Dignan and Eugene McClean from RSA and Colette Houton, Royal London for taking the time out to present to our members.
The AGM saw the resignation from the Board of Noel Sweetman, who is retiring from the Insurance Industry. We wish Noel well in his early retirement and would like to take the opportunity to thank Noel for all he has done for Brokers Ireland and indeed the General Insurance Industry over the years.
All members present voted unanimously in favour of all 9 board members who were up for election. These include:
Rodney Croly, Croly & Co
Duncan Duke, Inverdea Financial Services
Cathal Lowe, Hooper Dolan Insurances
Linda Gallagher, First Ireland
Roísín Clarke, Roísín Clarke & Company
Ciaran Blackhall, Blackhall Financial
Aidan McLoughlin, ITC Group
Paul Carty, ARB
Liam Carberry, Liam Carberry Financial Planning
Outgoing President, Cathal Lowe, passed the responsibility to Rodney Croly, who was elected as President at the AGM. Also, Duncan Duke was elected as Vice President for 2018/19 term. We wish both Rodney and Duncan well in their new positions and to the other 7 board members of Brokers Ireland.