Interview with Michael Reid, RiskeBusiness Editor

Michael Reid, Regional Underwriting Manager – AIA and Editor of ALUCA’s RiskeBusiness for the last 6 years.


What made you want to become a volunteer with ALUCA? 

From my first ALUCA medical seminar breakfast in 2001 with Dr Paul Davis[?], I realised that there is much more to ALUCA than the information sharing and networking opportunities. ALUCA was and is, a partner in our working lives. I had a brief stint in the Vic Sub Group however I was more of a highly engaged member than a volunteer. That was until a night in 2014 when Matthew Ramjan [ex-Gen Re Chief Underwriter] approached me at a Senior Underwriters Forum and said: “Hey Michael would you consider taking over from me as Editor of RiskeBusiness?” I said yes and he said “God that was easy”.


What was ALUCA like when you first joined to what it is today?  

I joined ALUCA in 2001, soon after I commenced my life insurance career as a Claims Assessor at AXA. I can honestly say that ALUCA has always had good people at the helm who have had the members’ best interests at heart. ALUCA of 2001 or even 2010 cannot be compared to the ALUCA of today primarily because life insurance has become a lot more complicated. Over recent years, ALUCA has rapidly evolved to meet the growing ‘future-proofing’ needs of members in an ever changing industry.


What are you most proud of as your time as the Editor of ReB over the last 6 years?

Firstly, I would say getting our RiskeBusiness publication into the internet age. Our first online edition was the Autumn Edition of 2015 which was a team effort with Jamie Robinson and Jim Welsh. Membership rose exponentially over the last six years and I do believe that RiskeBusiness had some part to play in this by communicating all the great work of ALUCA and its members.


What ReB article over the last 6 years stands out in your mind and why?

Any decent editor should have a couple of stand outs right? I don’t. However I assure you that this is purely due to the long list of quality articles I have read over the years. I am always keen to read the fresh ideas and alternative thinking of winning papers from our annual essay competitions, I enjoy the postcard articles from Australian ex-pats who work abroad in the life industry. And I also look forward to the North American updates by Hank George from Wisconsin, USA.  He never disappoints on delivering highly researched medical updates, strong opinions and that dry sense of humour. Hank is the real deal – a genuine underwriting guru who has been so generous over the years with volunteering his time and knowledge for RiskeBusiness. We haven’t had an article from Hank for a while because is really ill. Our thoughts are with him.


What advice do you have for other ALUCA members who are thinking of putting their hand up to volunteer with ALUCA?

I would say absolutely give it a go. I learned so much about the Australian life industry and built relationships with many people who I would have never got to know otherwise. You will also be sharing your own knowledge and experience with like-minded peers outside of your own organisation – which is what ALUCA is all about.


If you had your time over again is there anything you would have changed during your time in the ALUCA Editor’s role? 

Perhaps we could have moved to more frequent/bite sized communication earlier in hindsight?  On a personal level, I would have liked to write some of my own articles as my predecessor Matthew Ramjan used to do.


4 words to describe ALUCA?

Evolving – Focused – Inclusive – Strategic


4 words to describe Michael Reid? 

People-orientated / career-driven / caffeine-overdosed / gym-junkie 🤬[locked out for now ]


4 words to describe the life insurance industry?

Purpose-driven / turbulent / evolving / wellbeing-partner


What’s next for Michael Reid? 

As we batten down the hatches in the war against COVID-19, there’ll be no surprise in saying that my immediate concern is protecting the physical/mental wellbeing of my family and I. For those of us who are not significantly impacted by the virus, I see this as a major opportunity to step up and assist someone less fortunate. A great example of this occurred yesterday in Sydney. A man purchased 30 take-away coffees from a local café and handed them out to newly unemployed people who had been standing in a Centrelink line for hours, in the rain. WOW. He just made 30 people feel a whole lot better. Of course such random acts of kindness can be carried out on a smaller scale too.

From a career perspective, I have some involvement in the AIA/CommInsure integration that is currently being worked through, and my underwriting leadership role was recently expanded so it’s an exciting time with much to plan, shape and deliver over the coming months.