Five minutes with...Zurich motor underwriting manager Matt McEneaney

by Nerine Zoio 02 Jun 2017

Five minutes with...Zurich motor underwriting manager Matt McEneaney

Matt McEneaney, motor underwriting manager at Zurich, says he fell into the insurance industry completely by accident.

He explains that when he returned to the UK as a grown man (he was born there but grew up in New Zealand) he could not find work as a textile technician.

“The local job agency offered me two roles; one measuring roads for the local council and the other working in the post room for Guardian Royal Exchange,” he says. “You figure which one I chose, which saw me stuffing envelopes, opening mail and sending out brochures. From there I went into motor claims and then motor assessing before securing a position at Fisher & Paykel Finance. For the rest it was onwards and upwards.”

And even though currently an incumbent at Zurich, McEneaney explains that it has been the case only for a few weeks as he has recently moved over from Allianz in Australia.

He elaborates that even though Australia and New Zealand share similar products, business is transacted in a different way, with each state having its own laws and regulations.

He underscores though that he is glad to be home as he is a Kiwi at heart.

At Zurich, as head of motor underwriting, McEneaney says his role revolves around addressing claims that require special attention.

“An incident that stands out is a customer who lodged a claim for the theft of a vehicle when I was working in Royal Sun Alliance’s flood department,” he narrates.

“The claim was paid off and then a few months later we received a call from the deceased’s estate advising us that the car was parked in the garage. Clearly the owner had parked the car there.

“But even more staggering was the deception at hand when we used a forensic locksmith who determined that out of 48 claims that went to tribunal, 45 were fraudulent!”

So instead of consumers always erroneously feeling insurance companies want to avoid paying claims, which is wholly untrue, there should be more appreciation for the extent to which insurance is integral to the wellbeing of the economy from house and contents insurance to credit car and car warranty insurance, emphasises McEneaney.

“I mean just look at what the taxpayer had to fork out after the Canterbury quake,” he commented.

He would also like the industry to market itself in a more alluring way and develop more structured career pathways within it.

Finally, he feels people have started dressing in a slovenly way. He himself wears a three-piece suit to work, which he picked up from his dad.

“My dad always said ‘don’t dress for the job, but the job you’d like to have,’ - and reminded us that when you look smart you project confidence!”


Matt McEneaney


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