As GSK Insurance Brokers celebrates its 40th anniversary, founder and managing director Graham Knight says a strong client-first focus has been key to sustainable success.
With 15 years of experience in the insurance industry under his belt, in 1981 Graham Knight began GSK Insurance Brokers from humble beginnings, driven by a passion for people and a strong entrepreneurial spirit.
Today, the proudly Western Australian company is comprised of fifty-odd loyal employees and retains a mix of its first clients among many more, which have steadily grown in tandem with GSK along the road.
Across 40 years of providing insurance, risk management, claims advocacy and workers’ compensation related advice to businesses and individuals across Australia, GSK’s core values have remained the same.
Mr Knight puts the growth and sustained success of GSK primarily down to a client-first focus, strong relationships and a solid workplace culture.
“I’ve always been passionate about insurance as it’s a great industry for a lot of people and one that helps a lot of people,” Mr Knight said.
“The culture that I’ve aimed to develop at GSK, and believe has been developed, is one where nothing is too difficult when it comes to helping our clients.
“As our local and global operating environments continue to change, so do our clients’ risk profiles, and our focus will be on ensuring we adapt to the needs of our clients during these challenging times.
“However, our core principles of personalised service and professionalism will remain firm,” Mr Knight said.
The changing landscape
With the rise of digital tools and systems, it’s easy to forgo the face-to-face contact and connection that were the original foundations of the industry. But Mr Knight says GSK remains true to this approach and his team never hesitate to make physical contact with its clients to gain a better understanding of their needs.
“Digital progression is certainly a vital part of our operations at GSK, however the change I have seen with digital advancement over the years is less willingness to go and see people,” Mr Knight said.
“People do still want to build a relationship, which is a big part of what this business is all about.
“With a focus on people, our growth has been purely organic, without the need to actively seek out or undertake strategic business acquisitions,” he said.
Mr Knight said ultimately a combination of digital tools and in-person interaction would deliver the greatest value for their clients.
Overcoming market challenges
The landscape of insurance broking in Australia is a dynamic one; consistently fluctuating based on the capacity and appetite of the major insurers.
The navigation of which is heavily dependent on a strong history and deep understanding of the industry, combined with long-standing relationships with local and global business partners.
Mr Knight notes one of the biggest challenges encountered in his business is communicating with clients the messages from insurers and the realities of the market when times get tough.
“At the moment we’re in a very hard market and we’re seeing property insurance as very difficult for some clients depending on the necessary risk, and that relates back to capacity for insurers and their appetite,” Mr Knight said.
“When you know the markets and do all the things required from a good business perspective and combine that with the ability to build relationships, that’s the key to retaining long-term clients.”
A culture built on teamwork
In his forty years of operating GSK, Mr Knight said the culture of the company is his greatest achievement.
He notes one of his proudest moments with the company was announcing 176 years of combined service across his team at their 25th anniversary. Today the figure would surpass that, reflecting the strong sense of satisfaction and loyalty among the staff.
“We’ve been extremely fortunate to always have good people on board,” Mr Knight said.
“At GSK we don’t refer to clients as ‘owned’ by individuals but instead consider clients a team responsibility and their progress a team achievement.
“The company works together to attract, retain and help grow each client and I believe that approach is fundamental to a culture founded on teamwork.
While Mr Knight looks to take a step back and reduce his workload after 55 years in the industry, he says he’s currently still as hands on as ever and hasn’t lost the passion for working with people.
“I’m looking forward to seeing GSK continue to grow by maintaining our levels of service and continuing to secure quality people,” Mr Knight said.
A message from GSK
As they celebrate 40 years of being a proudly West Australian owned and operated business, GSK would like to take the opportunity to thank their loyal clients, hardworking staff and business partners, as they look to continue delivering innovative insurance solutions and unmatched levels of service.