According CEO Tony Clark, the National Transport Insurance (NTI) is the nation’s leading provider of transport and logistics industry insurance because of its emphasis on workplace culture, customer-centred approach and taste for innovation.
TRUSTED TO IMAGINE
With 30 years of experience in senior industry roles, Clark’s vision is to create an atmosphere where people feel ‘Trusted to Imagine, Thrive and Exceed’ and this philosophy happens to be one of NTI’s value statements along with ‘#Ownit’.
‘#Ownit is about having a high performing environment that takes responsibility for the results of each individual and team, as well as the organisation as a whole,’ Clark explains.
‘It’s important that everyone at NTI can see the performance of the company in real time and understand how their individual role is making a real difference to our company, our partners and our customers.’
Clark is known in the industry for his hands-on leadership style, which has helped NTI create its award-winning business model.
In developing a supportive environment, he ensures that people have ‘the opportunity to learn and develop the skills necessary to succeed at NTI, while also feeling a sense of ownership, fairness and family’.
Clark sees education as the key to his rise through the industry. When he first started in 1977, his thoughts were ‘any secure job was a great job’ and insurance ‘seemed the closest thing to a private sector-type job’ he could get.
But having undertaken studies with ANZIIF, he was the only person in the class to go on to a Master of Business Administration, which he completed at Swinburne University of Technology in 1997.
LOVE OF LEARNING
Ten years later, Clark went back and did a second MBA in advanced business practice at the University of South Australia just to freshen up his skills and continue his learning journey.
He has also completed post graduate studies in Strategic Leadership and Strategic Marketing and strongly encourages ANZIIF as a pathway to further study for his staff.
Having held executive roles at RACV Insurance and Fortis Insurance Australia, Clark joined NTI in 2001 as National Operations Manager, Claims.
He was later appointed General Manager Insurance Operations before accepting the Chief Executive Officer role in 2007.
Clark says technology is one of the hottest issues in transport.
‘Technology is terrific where and when it is used effectively,’ he says, ‘although it’s not a cure – just another tool to make our roads safer.’
He predicts that there will need to be ‘major safety improvements in cars and trucks well before we see the new world of automated vehicles.’
‘In my experience, technology is a great investment, but leadership and people are at the centre of a great business,’ he says.
Nevertheless, NTI currently insures electric trucks because, as Clark asserts, ‘we’ve taken the time to understand the technology and work with leaders in this space.’
He believes that risks are reduced when driverless trucks are used for specific tasks in very controlled environments and, given the difficulty in servicing major populations spread across Australia, ‘their use will be absolutely necessary’.
‘The insurance product for driverless vehicles will be very different, probably a hybrid of damage and liability, which the market will find easy to create,’ he predicts.
‘Automation will put downward pressure on insurance premiums over time in that insurance will benefit from safer vehicles, safer roads and safer drivers.’
Clark takes pride in NTI’s commitment to transport safety.
‘NTI’s Purpose Statement is to “Make Australian industry safer and more sustainable”, so we are committed to engaging and being involved in a positive way,’ he says.
A PIVOTAL ROLE
NTI plays a pivotal role in injury surveillance by funding the National Truck Accident Research Centre (NTARC), which contains the largest database of accurate truck accident data in Australia.
‘The NTARC actively engages all of the key transport industry stakeholders, including the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR), all major transport industry associations, and vehicle manufacturers,’ Clark says.
‘In the interest of sharing data to identify the trends and causes of major vehicle accidents, I invite people to view the NTARC annual report which is freely available on the website.’
Clark is also quick to praise the transport industry for keeping Australia moving at the height of the pandemic.
‘Our partnerships with all major transport associations and various levels of government have allowed us to lobby state governments on issues from keeping rest stops open to ensuring all goods were considered essential,’ he says.
‘If the transport industry and NTI had not galvanised the government to ensure all goods were kept moving, we would have experienced problems throughout the entire supply chain.
‘Well done to everyone involved,’ he says.
Like every organisation, COVID-19 has had an impact on the way NTI does business.
Clark says the People and Capability team at NTI embedded flexible work arrangements well before COVID so it was easy for the Technology team to make it happen.
‘When COVID hit, our people basically picked up their laptops, went home and continued to work. We haven’t seen a drop in service over this time,’ he says.
In learning to adapt to life with COVID, Clark says NTI’s number one concern is understanding how to help its people, particularly those in Victoria, get back to some level of normality.
He says some of NTI’s staff have embraced working from home, while others can’t wait to get into an office, and some enjoy the balance of time both in office and at home.
‘There’s no single solution to help everyone, so as we take tentative steps back to a different normal, NTI will be sensitive and supportive.’
For Clark, insurance is the backbone of every industry in Australia.
‘We find solutions, offer great service and pride ourselves on helping people,’ he says, adding that he is looking forward to sharing his experience at the GI Virtual Breakfast.
‘I encourage others to embrace the industry and all of its opportunities.
‘My advice to those starting out on their careers is to be enthusiastic, get involved in projects of any kind, and keep developing yourself and your skills.
‘I believe you can have any career you want in insurance – the only limits are your imagination and application.’