I know it’s good copy to suggest that
everything that went on at the NRMA Group in my time was at my behest, but the
truth is my “blunt arrogance” had very little to do with the NRMA/RACV
deal Stephen Mayne wrote about on Friday.
The deal was negotiated by George Venardos, then and
still CFO of NRMA Insurance. As non-executive Chairman of NRMA Insurance I
was keen to do a deal with the RACV. I think that was the position of all
directors. And I was happy to support Venardos’ recommendation that
RACV receive 30% of the joint venture. It was a good deal for both
sides. Venardos’ analysis saw the synergy and economies of scale
that have been the hallmarks of the joint venture’s success.
I did take an interest in the joint venture’s
governance structure, though. And I note that it has remained unchanged
since my time. I never crowed about the deal, ever. All
parties won by it. That was true when we put it together and remains so
to this day.
Stephen Mayne writes:
Get Crikey FREE to your inbox every weekday morning with the Crikey Worm.
The collapse of HIH Insurance in 2001 and the “perfect storm” of low
claims and high investment returns right across the insurance sector
have also contributed to the success of the joint venture. With
seemingly everyone involved acknowledging the booming success of the
business, it will certainly be a relevant question for the RACV auditor
and board at the AGM on November 17 as to why the 30% stake is only
valued at $158 million in the RACV’s books.