Brokers play a ‘vital role’ in Australian society

Brokers play a ‘vital role’ in Australian society | Insurance Business

Brokers play a ‘vital role’ in Australian society
The insurance industry needs to promote itself so it’s regarded in the same vein as medicine and architecture, says the national manager of a major insurer.

Anthony Pagano, national manager commercial intermediaries for Suncorp Group said there was no reason this couldn’t be achieved, given the vital role of insurance brokers in Australian society.

Pagano spoke to Insurance Business about the challenge of attracting new talent to insurance, which remains an ongoing issue for the sector.

“They are responsible for offering advice and risk management services to protect people’s lives and livelihoods. Brokers should be at their best when customers are at their worst, helping them recover when the unthinkable happens,” he said.

In 2015 Vero interviewed some of the young, upcoming leaders of the insurance broking industry as part of Suncorp’s Insurance Insights White Paper ‘Shaping the future of broking: Leaders of the millennial generation.' The interviewees included the five finalists of the NIBA Warren Tickle Memorial Award for young professionals.

Those young brokers expressed the view that the industry had not done enough to establish itself as a fully-fledged profession in the eyes of high school leavers or university graduates, he said.

“Many young people aren’t aware how rewarding and exciting a career in insurance broking can be.”

“No two clients and no two days in broking are the same, so it certainly provides a diverse set of skills across a broad spectrum of industries,” he said.

He said whether they’re sole traders or large, multinational corporations, Australian businesses rely on brokers to guide them through a maze of contractual, legal and financial obligations and support them when it matters most.

He also said the development of an undergraduate university degree had the potential to better promote insurance broking as a profession. He said this could be combined with industry-backed scholarships and graduate programs, which are common in other sectors of the finance industry.

“This would raise the professional standards to the same level as other ‘white-collar’ industries and provide a boost to the public perception of broking.”

However, it’s also important for young people to be aware of insurance broking before they choose any degree, he said.

“The industry can continue to step up its activities in high schools and job exhibitions, so that students and their influencers – parents and teachers – have greater awareness.”

“Ideally, children will grow up with as much awareness of an insurance broking career as they do of medicine and architecture.”