Ross Webster, NSW State Manager for MECON Insurance, talks about Australia’s lack of Scots, pricing problems and a $3 million statue.
You would never believe it but I fell into insurance, just like everyone else it seems! I was backpacking around Australia, while still employed as a Business Analyst in Scotland, and I stumbled across an amazing organisation called MECON. I fell in love with the company and industry and never went home!
How would you change the industry?
We need to make the industry an ‘attractive’ industry. This is an exciting industry where innovation leads the way, especially in the current market. We need to attract young, intelligent and innovative people to this industry to help us, as an industry, move forward and realise our potential.
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Speculate to accumulate. This is a sound rule not only in business but in life. You must invest (time, money, effort) to ensure you develop and set yourself up for the future.
What’s the most important thing a broker can do to develop their business?
Speak to underwriters and develop a close, tight relationship. This is becoming a lost skill, if brokers and underwriters work closely together a lot can be achieved.
What is the strangest thing you’ve ever arranged cover for?
I work in construction so not all that strange, although I did once cover a $3 million statue (an interesting statue at that) that was being lifted into someone’s driveway….
If you were Prime Minister for one day, what would you do?
I would loosen up the immigration laws for Scottish folk, especially my friends and family, this country needs more Scots!
What’s the biggest challenge facing the industry today?
In one word… Pricing. I keep hearing that the ‘hard market’ is around the corner, unfortunately I don’t think a ‘hard market’ exists any more. There is not going to be an upward turn unless someone goes under, which we hope does not happen to anyone, with APRA
overseeing things now this should not happen. So it’s up to us, the insurance market needs to take a grip on risks and ensure that we understand the risks we take on and ensure we are pricing risk in such a way to bring some certainty to profitability in the long term for all involved.
NRL, AFL, soccer or other?
Football. Proper football.
If you could invite three people to dinner, dead or alive, and excluding family and friends, who would they be and why?
Muhammad Ali - this man revolutionised sport and revolutionised the world much more than a lot of people understand.
Henrik Larsson – unless you support Celtic, you won’t understand….
Albert Einstein – just to steal a little bit of wisdom and knowledge.
Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t in insurance, I would be…
Ideally – cruising my way around the world on a super-sized yacht.
Realistically – working in Edinburgh, analysing life assurance business during the day and wading through snow by night.