Paul Miller, general manager of SSP Asia Pacific, talks about inefficiencies, the 80s, and reinstating a Minister for Science.
I had just graduated in computer science, in the 80’s, and was surprised with the number of jobs going. An insurance company was the first to offer me a role. After I got into insurance I realised what an important industry it is and the great service it provides, plus the systems required are complex and challenging. It’s kept me interested ever since.
How would you change the industry?
There are still a lot of inefficiencies and old fashioned ways of doing things, so I think there is plenty of room to modernise. Of course technology has a large part to play.
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Look after your customers and everything else will follow.
If you were Prime Minister for one day, what would you do?
Reinstate a Minister for Science. I think we need to put at least as much emphasis on innovation and knowledge as we do on sport. There is a Minister for Sport.
What’s the biggest challenge facing the industry today?
The commoditisation of insurance products. The only sustainable way to compete is to innovate.
What has been the highlight of your career?
Working with insurers in emerging markets, like China, to bring their capabilities up to 21st century standards.
What’s your favoured style of coffee?
NRL, AFL, soccer or other?
Other- I prefer to play and watch tennis.
If you could invite three people to dinner, dead or alive, and excluding family and friends, who would they be and why?
John Stewart, the host of The Daily Show. He’s so quick witted and interested in a wide range of topics; Bill Gates, he reinvented [himself] from evil business genius to philanthropic superstar. Again, [he is] sure to be interesting; and Nelson Mandela – an absolute hero.
Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t in insurance, I would be…
a ski instructor. The pay’s not as good but I’d be doing something I love every day.