The human element

The human element | Insurance Business

The human element

A cursory look at Rivers Insurance’s website reveals that the multi-location brokerage is doing things a little differently than many other players in the market. From straightforward language to personalised staff profiles, Rivers takes a noticeable step away from the stiff and serious reputation that often accompanies insurance.

This detour is no accident – Rivers director Nerida Trappett says the brokerage consciously chose to adopt a more informal attitude because it complements the firm’s commitment to relationships.

“Our culture is all about relationships, whether that’s with our underwriters, our clients or internally with our staff. Relationships are our main focus,” says Brisbane-based Trappett, who joined the firm in 2015. “Honestly, I can’t overstate the importance of relationships – and they’re always going to be important because that’s what people really value, and you can’t automate a relationship.”






One of the ways Rivers fosters relationships with its clients is by abandoning technical jargon, which Trappett says is an effective way to break down barriers between brokers and clients to establish a more meaningful connection.

“We believe in taking the technical jargon out and talking to clients in their language, rather than our language,” she says. “That way they feel more comfortable talking to you because you’re not throwing big words at them that they don’t understand, but you can still get your message across.”

A shift towards a more informal tone isn’t the only measure the brokerage has taken to keep the focus on relationships – the personalised staff profiles on its website were also designed to spark a human connection.

“Those profiles on the website are also on our email signatures and business cards – they’re a bit of an icebreaker, and they often drive really good conversations with clients,”

However, the simple initiative isn’t just for the benefit of customers – Trappett says it also ties into the fact that Rivers wants employees to feel comfortable being their full selves at work.

“We’ve got fantastic staff, and we’re all about our people, so we strive to have a family culture with a caring environment,” she says.

Rivers’ culture is reflected in the firm’s five values – accountability, approachability, passion, support and diversity – which were crafted by the brokerage’s employees.

“We don’t believe in driving culture from the top down,” Trappett explains. “It needs to be all of us deciding what the culture is and what we want that to be moving forward.”

That sentiment is backed up by a number of benefits the brokerage has rolled out for employees, including a nine-day fortnight and flexible work opportunities.

“We have four staff members who came back from maternity leave and decided they’d prefer to work part-time, and we have one staff member who predominantly works from home,” Trappett says. “Where we can, we really' try to accommodate those requests, and it means we get to keep our amazing people.”

Unsurprisingly, the focus on people – whether customers, co-workers or commercial partners – has earned Rivers an unshakeable reputation among its clients.

“Relationships have become our point of difference,” Trappett says. “We have a lot of longterm clients, and it’s because of the close bond they’ve formed with their Rivers staff member. We’ve seen clients through all sorts of changes; we see their businesses grow; we see the next generation take over. That’s what we’re really about – the relationship part of it.”