“It can sound cliché, but I do like the people,” said Denver Van Gramberg (pictured above).
Insurance Business asked Gramberg, CEO of the recently launched underwriting agency Resolvit Insure, what he likes most about working in the insurance industry?
Many industry stakeholders would agree with his answer. Van Gramberg has taken his appreciation a step further than most.
“My wife and I met through the industry because she also works in insurance,” he said. “A lot of people who I’ve worked with have also become close friends.”
Sydney-based Van Gramberg likes the sense of community in the industry, he said, but he also enjoys the variety of work.
In fact, his current role for Resolvit, a firm that specialises in legal expense protection, combines two of his favourite disciplines: law and underwriting.
“I didn’t realize how happy that would make me,” he said.
His insurance career started when he was in his mid-20s. After completing both a law degree and a business degree, Van Gramberg found work with a legal firm but decided to pursue a career in insurance.
“I certainly enjoyed it, but I could see there was a lot of variety in a career in insurance and one of the large Australian insurers [Suncorp] was looking for legal graduates,” said Van Gramberg. “I was impressed with the people that I met and I also had a sense that you had to bring together a broad skill set.”
He said the opportunity to build relationships and get involved in the technical areas of the industry like claims and underwriting was very appealing. There was also sales and the opportunity “to understand the broader mechanisms of a business transaction.”
Fifteen (15) years later he’s worked in many areas, he said, including, branding, marketing, distribution and strategic sales.
“I’m a qualified broker as well,” said Van Gramberg. “So, I’ve had a chance to work across a number of insurance disciplines and a number of products.”
For example, when he was working with SURA, a specialist underwriting agency group, a few years ago, Van Gramberg said the company consisted of around 20 underwriting agencies and offered about 50 products.
“Talk about learning every day!” he said. “When the breadth of the offering is that wide, it’s quite exciting.”
As an underwriter, said Van Gramberg, when you talk to a broker with those sorts of capabilities you’ve always got plenty to talk about. You’ve also got opportunities, he said, “to potentially find a solution to something that they’ve been grappling with for a while.”
Now that he’s in a leadership role he appreciates his willingness, earlier in his career, to gather experience from different industry roles across a wide variety of disciplines.
“My view is, if you’re in a leadership role, being able to understand the challenges that people face is certainly something that can help individuals within those sections,” said Van Gramberg. “They realise that they’re speaking with someone that understands their challenges.”
He included his experience as a broker.
“I spent a year as a broker and saw first-hand the daily challenges they have, around the difficulties and opportunities of speaking with a client who maybe is not as interested in insurance as people within the industry because, to a lot of them, it’s still a bit of a grudge purchase,” said Van Gramberg. “So being able to get the right placement away for these clients is quite rewarding.”
From the underwriting side of the industry, he sees his role as educating brokers about “the intricacies of your product and doing so in a way that is easy to understand.”
Van Gramberg said it’s also important to commit to support your brokers “day-in day-out.”
“We cover the legal costs for a dispute or legal proceedings arising from a contract for the sale of goods, hire of goods, or the supply of a service,” he said.
For some SMEs, said Van Gramberg, these sorts of dispute can “leave an SME in really hot water when it comes to the expense associated with litigation lawyers.”
The coverage his firm provides, he said, “could be the difference between trading or going bust.”
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