7 June 2023
For Scott Chapman, business owner of Elders Insurance Mooloolaba, winning the 2023 Black Jacket Award came as a complete surprise.
After moving from Victoria, Scott’s been in charge of the Sunshine Coast-based business for more than 15 years. During that time, Scott and his team have simply focused on doing their very best for their clients – a strategy that has evidently helped them stand the test of time.
“We really try and focus on that personalised service,” says Scott, who, with his wife Katie and small team, runs the Mooloolaba business as well as another in Gympie, an hour’s drive North West.
“We always call every client on renewal, just to touch base and look to review their policy with them, and we give them all the option for me to visit them to go through their insurances face to face.”
The strength and reputation of a business – and a business owner –can often be evidenced by the amount of word-of-mouth business that comes along. And for Scott and his team, word-of-mouth provides a strong number of new clients.
"We're in a very unique and a very lucky position where we don't have to market ourselves. It all happens organically for us; we’re very privileged in that respect,” he says.
“I think the main thing is just trying to treat the customer as we would like to be treated both in the underwriting stage, dealing with the ongoing aspects of looking after a client and right through to dealing with claims when they arise.
“There's a lot of competition out there in the marketplace, and I think a lot of competition drops the ball on providing that personalised service – for us, that's the nuts and bolts of it.”
The business naturally has the majority of its clients in its local area, in South East Queensland, north of Brisbane, as well as a handful who’ve stayed with Scott from his days in East Gippsland. Locally, a number of hobby farms are looked after, as well as a wide mix of commercial businesses and residential and personal insurance clients, too.
“We don’t focus on a specific type of industry, it's a real mix from a business perspective, and then, of course, we have all your standard insurances, too.”
Working hand in hand with the community
As with many in the insurance profession on the eastern seaboard, recent years have brought with them unprecedented natural disasters, which have created significant challenges for all concerned. Fortunately, Scott and his team have been at the forefront of helping their clients get back on their feet.
“The biggest challenge for us is the natural disasters that we get up here,” he says.
“We've been through a number of different catastrophe events over the years, and the most recent is by far the most challenging one we’ve tackled. What made it more difficult was the issues around employment – people couldn't get a loss adjuster, couldn’t get builders or tradies, you've got supply chain issues – that in itself just created a huge, huge nightmare.
“The staff here, ultimately, are the ones who worked hard to support our clients through this – without them putting in the effort they did, we certainly wouldn't have come out of it, as well as we did.”
The way the team adapted to the challenges on behalf of their local community certainly helped cement their place in its heart, while Elders Insurance’s regular presence at and participation with local groups and events – such as sponsoring the Metropolitan-Caloundra Surf Lifesaving Club – ensures it's visibly supporting the local community continuously.
That support isn't limited to the financial, however – with Scott and teammate Eliza regulars on the surf patrol.
“I’m heavily involved in the club, as is one of the girls in the office. Both of us patrol on weekends, we're involved in nippers, all that sort of stuff.
“I'm also involved in a local AFL club, the Caloundra Panthers – I've coached for a lot of years and while I'm not directly involved anymore in that respect, we still sponsor them and do what we can.”
The importance of team
In terms of the future, Scott plans to just keep things ‘ticking over’, and hopes to bring a partner into the Mooloolaba business to replicate the setup he has with the Gympie business.
But for Scott, the award is certainly the result of a stellar team effort that encompasses both the Mooloolaba and Gympie businesses.
“We're all part of the one team, we all work together, and we all help each other. We will deal with the catastrophes together. We will back each other up.
“Every single one of them is fantastic, and they're the ones who grow the business throughout the service to the customers and, you know, rock up every single day to go again, and without them we wouldn't be able to do what we do.”