“At a certain point, it transitioned from being a job to a career – and that’s when things really began to click.”
This is how Nick Daffy (pictured), Melbourne branch manager at McLardy McShane, explains why he’s still in insurance despite some initial misgivings about his choice of industry. Having secured a trainee position with a large insurance provider straight out of school, Daffy was given a range of tedious paper-pushing tasks that, in his words, “really didn’t provide much in the way of motivation or fulfil any career passions.”
Nevertheless, he continued to work alongside his studies and, soon enough, began to accrue a wide client base, allowing Daffy to properly see the purpose of his hard work. He continued to excel in a number of roles across international and Australian brokerages before joining McLardy McShane in June 2019.
Daffy quickly thrived at the company, and his efforts have resulted in him being recognised as the Young Gun of the Year – Independent (20+ Staff) winner at this year’s Insurance Business Australia Awards.
It was an accolade that allowed Daffy to look back at his career and take stock of what he’s achieved thus far, to “pause and reflect on the journey that’s led up to this point.” Daffy told Insurance Business that he is confident that McLardy McShane will be his long-term home in insurance.
Read more: Driven from the core
“I’ve seen the country, suburban and metropolitans sides of insurance, I’ve worked my way up from trainee to account executive to branch manager, and have really worked out what I like and what I don’t like along the way,” he said.
“For me, it’s the culture at McLardy McShane that seals the deal – it’s a company that puts people before profits, that prioritises the welfare of both employees and clients over revenue.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, this dedication to welfare was brought into sharp focus for Daffy, who noted that the company’s leadership team informed all staff that they “wanted to leave the war with the same team they went in with” – in other words, that COVID-19-related lay-offs were the last thing they wanted to do.
“It really gave a lot of us the peace of mind that we needed to stay motivated through these tough times,” Daffy said.
McLardy McShane’s extensive work with local communities through community causes and charitable efforts dovetails nicely with Daffy’s own focus on mentoring younger insurance professionals who are new to the industry.
“Mentoring is just something that goes back to how I was treated when I first entered insurance,” he remarked. “I had a senior team member who was quite hands-on with helping me out and providing guidance and advice when I needed it, and it’s something that I want to keep going with the younger generation that’s coming through.”
“It’s a way of helping them to develop their own style and ensuring that we’re able to leave the industry in a better place than when we first entered it,” he added.
When it comes to the future of Australian insurance, Daffy sees several challenges, as well as opportunities, ahead.
“Generally speaking, premium rates continue to be rising and insurer capacity reducing as a result of the natural disasters that we’ve experienced here in Australia,” he said. “It’s a bit tough for clients who, for example, might have had to close their businesses for the majority of the year and are living in bushfire-prone areas where property insurance rates are increasing significantly, and so risk management really is a point of emphasis.
“In addition, if you look at something like cyber insurance, there are emerging risks involved with remote working but there’s also the opportunity for technology to be embraced and for things like claims analysis to be instantly available to clients. There’s an opportunity for technology to be used to aid the work of brokers, not replace it."