THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
28 | REGIS MUTUAL MANAGEMENT
Paul Koronka, CEO
Established ten years ago, Regis Mutual Management (Regis)
has ushered in a compelling new era for mutuality at a
critical time for the UK financial services community and the
economy at large. Set against the context of uncertainty following
the 2008 banking crisis, its mutual model gave customers choice
for those who were tired with the status quo of rising costs
without receiving proper benefits. The company has grown across
industry sectors over the last decade, and its international growth
has helped contribute to Britain’s business leadership on the world
stage. On this matter, CEO Paul Koronka has more to say.
Our mutual model offers a real alternative to conventional insurance, providing a
more efficient and tailored approach to managing risk. Regis managed mutuals are
entirely owned by their members, and run by a board appointed by the membership,
who make key decisions such as what to do with any surplus after payment of claims,
insurance premiums and administration costs. There are no shareholders; everything
the mutual does is for its members’ benefit. We offer a robust structure for claims
and risk transfer – or as we call it, a “redesigned” approach to insurance.
We’ve led the way in developing the discretionary mutual model, which is generally
the only economically viable way of setting up a mutual in the current environment.
It’s much easier to set this up for people who are interested in protecting their risks
through a mutual, without having to fund it with huge amounts of capital.
Over the last decade, Regis has helped many organisations gain control of their risk in a
transparent way, including enabling them to generate and manage their own surpluses.
Our expertise comes from listening to our customers and designing unique structures
around their specific needs. As demand for our services has grown, we’ve expanded
to cover every kind of support required to build a mutual in virtually every sector.
Market context
The 2008 financial crisis jolted our perspectives along with those of consumers and
businesses. We are warier of short-termism, quick fixes and trickle-down. We are
more open to challenging long-held assumptions, more ethically sensitive to decisions
made in our names and more welcoming of egalitarian alternatives to structuring
institutions. These are powerful, and have not only made the idea of mutuality more
appealing but brought the industry into the 21st century. The idea of an organisation
owned by its members and run in their interests is not new, but recent experiences
have increased its salience.
Though we are predominantly business-to-business, market demand for our services
mirrors a change in public mood over the last decade. Ten years after the banking
crisis, 30 per cent of Britons say they prefer organisations that don’t pay excessive
bonuses to directors. Furthermore, 25 per cent say they want to deal with a business
where they, the customer, feel valued; 29 per cent want to be understood rather
than pitched at. These point toward the four-point ethos that underpins a modern
mutual: long-term focus, member-centricity, straightforwardness and stability.
AT A GLANCE
REGIS MUTUAL MANAGEMENT
»CEO and founder: Paul
Koronka
»Established in 2007
»Based in London and Sydney
»Services: Mutual management;
establishing and managing
mutuals on behalf of clients
»No. of employees: 150
»Specialist in discretionary
mutuals
»Manages a range of mutuals
from public sector, retail and
corporate industries
»www.rmml.com
Regis Mutual
Management
29REGIS MUTUAL MANAGEMENT |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2018
Consumers may not have talked
enthusiastically about mutuality before,
but the values and attributes they are
gravitating toward in fact described the
very essence of a modern mutual.
Four milestones in our journey are:
1. Military family. Regis entered
retail in 2015 with the launch of The
Military Mutual (TMM), which aims to
better serve the needs of the “military
family” – servicemen and women in the
armed forces, reservists, veterans and
theirfamilies.
Broadly speaking, this community
is comprised of roughly 20 million
people. Between them is a strong
sense of community, a common bond
enshrined in the military covenant.
Many had experienced difficulty finding
financial products that took full account
of their particular needs – whether
this was a consequence of serving
or feeling unsupported by general
financial services companies when
making the transition into civilian life.
As TMM’s chairman Major-General
SirSebastian Roberts says, too many in
this community do not receive adequate
provision from financial services.
2. Public sector. For the first time, the
fire authorities have started up a mutual
using the discretionary mutual model,
albeit a hybrid version. This is significant
for us and for mutuality in general – it
uses our area of specialist expertise and
represents a strong endorsement of the
structures we’ve developed. We know
there’s plenty of interest among the
rest of the public sector regarding our
mutual structures and how they can
assist in the way risk is dealt with.
3. The high street. Given the external
challenges faced by high streets across
the UK, a mutual for independent
retailers made perfect sense.
The Retail Mutual (TRM) provides an
alternative to conventional insurance for
the independent retail community in the
UK. It exists to give them peace of mind
and protect independent businesses
on our high streets. A decade after
we started managing the mutual,
TRMnow has more than 4,500 covers,
protecting not only retailers’ businesses
but their homes and rental portfolios
too. With the support of Regis, the
mutual continues to grow, innovate and
introduce new products and services.
4. On the world stage. Three decades
ago, Australian universities were facing
difficulties. Commercial insurers had
abandoned aspects of a university’s
insurance that they couldn’t afford
to provide. As a result of this,
Unimutual, a discretionary mutual,
was established. Unimutual provides
cover for Australian universities and the
specific risks they have. With thousands
of staff and students, universities
essentially function as mini-cities. The
risks range from casualties, public
liability, professional indemnity, medical
malpractice and clinical trials to those
of management and cyber liability.
The member universities are a network of
businesses with specific needs and risks
to manage. An understanding of these
needs binds these universities together,
who ordinarily would be in competition
with one another. In almost three
decades, the Unimutual has become
the largest of our mutuals, currently
covering around $60 billion worth of
university assets across Australia.
The future
In terms of creating more mutuals, I
believe we’re only scratching the surface.
We have received approaches from all
directions, businesses large and small.
Interest is also coming from further
afield than customary. We’re currently
conversing with companies and lawyers
from Germany, Luxembourg and
France, where insurance markets have
become stultified and monopolised.
Whatever unfolds, we’ll continue to
be a pioneer for and advocate of the
mutual ethos in its purest form. We live
in the age of consumer empowerment,
and those businesses that put
consumers in the driving seat will be
tomorrow’s success stories. Within
this, mutuality has a key role to play; in
this respect, Regis aspires to be at the
forefront. The mutual advantage has
never been so tangible or compelling.
The Retail Mutual
provides an alternative to
conventional insurance
The Military Mutual aims
to better serve the need
of the military family
Businesses that
put consumers
in the driving
seat will be
tomorrow’s
success stories