IBNA chairman Gary Gribbin talks about the power of the policyholder, counting calories and feasting with Socrates
How would you sum up insurance brokers in three words?
Street-smart; intelligent; opportunistic.
How would you change the industry?
Mandatory minimum education requirements and genuine credentialing would help.
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
You never learn anything when your mouth is open.
What’s the most important thing a broker can do to develop their business?
When starting out – learn (technical skills; people skills; communication skills); if they own a business – have a clear and coherent strategy; think laterally; mix widely.
What’s the biggest challenge facing the industry today?
To my mind, there are two: (1) Recognising that it is policyholders and how they are treated that determines our reputation and the public perception of the industry, not what we think; and (2) critical to the industry is the need to attract, develop and retain high quality young people.
What has been the highlight of your career?
It hasn’t finished yet! To this point – involvement in the development of time and distance covers (application of debt defeasance to the balance sheet of insurers); some major medical malpractice portfolio transfers in the USA in the late 1970s when bonds were under tremendous pressure and insurers’ solvency was directly threatened; the long involvement with IBNA; the friendships developed over many years.
What’s your favoured style of coffee?
I am counting calories, so Maccona Indulgence instant coffee; white.
NRL, AFL, soccer or other? AFL, of course – the Tigers.
If you could invite three people to dinner, dead or alive, and excluding family and friends, who would they be and why?
Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi and Nelson Mandela because I would like to meet the two most incredible leaders of the past century and try to divine how they could be so unbelievably forgiving. And Socrates because I would like to learn. It was Socrates who said: 'I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing and that is that I know nothing', which is a view to which I subscribe without reservation.
Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t in insurance, I would be… very much the poorer, because (in the manner of A B Facey) 'I have had a fortunate life!'