David Clarke, head of special risks at Elliott Insurance Brokers, and an authorised representative, talks about the ‘educated’ and 'uneducated' consumer, subsea drilling platforms, and risking his safe and steady corporate job to become an AR.
I had the opportunity to enter the insurance industry and earn a wage or go to unit and accrue debt.
How would you sum up insurance brokers in three words?
Creative problem solvers
How would you change the industry?
Remove the ‘cheap fee’ mentality from corporate tenders.
What’s the most important thing a broker can do to develop their business?
Differentiate yourself (in a good way), stand out from the crowd and make sure your target market knows it (if you don’t have a target market than get one).
If you were Prime Minister for one day, what would you do?
Restructure/remove Stamp Duty from property, vehicle and insurance transactions.
What’s the biggest challenge facing the industry today?
I believe it’s a double edged sword. We have uneducated consumers considering insurance in a commoditised fashion without regard for ‘advice’ which is crazy. Would you say to yourself "I want to invest in shares", go to the share market and just buy the cheapest shares? The other side is that we also have ‘educated consumers’ who have researched online and have developed a considerable understanding for insurance products, hence brokers need to ensure that they maintain a position as a superior advisor and provide educated consumers with appropriate guidance so that the broker stays relevant.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever arranged cover for?
Considering I specialise in subsea and offshore insurance, just about everything I insure is ‘strange’ -everything from subsea robots to massive underwater drills called ‘vibro corers’, wave power generator prototypes, subsea drilling platforms. Out of the water I have a UK internet company client selling flat pack fitness equipment throughout Europe and I’ve previously insured a dragon boat regatta event.
What has been the highlight of your career?
Risking my safe and steady corporate job to become an authorised representative. I think of this as the historical gold rush days; I’m staking my claim and hoping to make it big in the Wild West!
NRL, AFL, soccer or other?
I don’t have a favourite code, I support West Coast (AFL), Western Force (Rugby) and Chelsea (EPL). Though flicking through Foxtel I’d probably pass them all up for a good UFC match.
If you could invite three people to dinner, dead or alive, and excluding family and friends, who would they be and why?
Winston Churchill for his wit; Napoleon Hill (the author) for his stories of entrepreneurship/success and John Elliott (Elliott Insurance Brokers director), my licensee because he takes a cut of everything anyway!
Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t in insurance, I would be..
. Building a tech start-up in Silicon Valley.