As Melbourne comes out of lockdown, insurance industry professionals in other Australian cities need to be patient with those working in the Victorian capital, according to one brokerage expert.
Brent Lehmann (pictured), general manager affinity & commercial – Australasia, at Willis Towers Watson, told Insurance Business that differing levels of restrictions had seen cities in Australia operating almost as if each state were a smaller, individual country itself.
“There’s multiple speeds happening across the country, with Melbourne clearly a bit behind cities like Perth and Adelaide that haven’t had to shut down to a similar extent,” he said.
Like many of his co-workers, Lehmann hasn’t been in to visit the Melbourne offices of Willis Towers Watson since the pandemic began, and has had to adjust to the unique challenges presented by remote working.
“Broking is a relationship-driven business, and has been for a long time,” he said. “There are little things that you can only learn through being in a client’s business space and seeing them in action – things that might be missed through digital communication. However, there’s been a general willingness from people to adapt, and so our client relationships have prospered during this time.”
For Lehmann, one of the things he had to quickly learn was “the difference between working at home and sleeping at work.”
“There was that temptation, initially, to continually check in on work given how easy it was to do so, and so I’ve had to work on the discipline needed to create those work/home boundaries,” he added. “Thankfully, we’ve got an incredibly supportive team here at Willis Towers Watson and an excellent culture already in place.”
Given Willis Towers Watson’s continued commitment to advising on restructuring and insolvency, Lehmann has some helpful recommendations for brokers who have clients looking to protect themselves against insolvency – a particular point of vulnerability during these times.
“Clients will be aware of the circumstances that their own clients and customers are facing, and whether their situation will have a negative impact on their businesses,” he said. “Though products such as credit insurance can be purchased, this is more of a short-term solution, so keep engaging with your clients to gain an understanding of potential insurance product solutions along with historically purchased insurance coverage that may not be required in the immediate term ahead.”