A top broker has spoken out about the challenges currently facing the industry, saying there’s one issue in particular which has been causing problems for far too long.
Charmaine Noble, Gallagher’s Adelaide branch director, has spent over 40 years in insurance and was among the first women to earn an insurance associateship – while much has changed in that time, one thing has stayed largely the same.
“Insurance has never had great ‘brand’ representation and I would like to see this change,” says Noble. “The industry is a hidden gem with so many fantastic opportunities.”
It’s an observation shared by many industry heavyweights, including Austcover CEO Maria Parry.
“I would really like our industry to be seen in a positive light,” she told Insurance Business. “If you tell someone what you do, they don’t seem particularly interested in hearing more and I think we need to change that perception.”
Noble, who regularly mentors other women and has participated in high-profile leadership programs, also says high-quality education is a challenge for the industry and should be viewed as a priority.
“It is important to provide quality practical training to help participants understand what they are learning and that this is not just a tick-box process,” she says.
This too is a belief commonly shared across the industry with NIBA’s Young Broker of the Year for WA commenting on the issue late last year.
“We must advocate for a higher level of base education to ensure we are attracting top talent,” Marsh broker Marcus Pallotta told Insurance Business. “Being able to incentivise young, ambitious people into undertaking a career in insurance and in broking is crucial,” he added.
Noble also pointed to Australia’s aging workforce as a pressing challenge on the near horizon – however, she also expressed her faith in the younger generation.
“Baby boomer retirement will cause a huge loss of technical and practical experience but there are a lot of younger people who bring great ideas – they just need to be patient about advancement,” she said. “It will come!”
Finally, Noble addressed the impact of technology and warned that, while it has undoubtedly revolutionised the industry, it should always play second fiddle to people.
“Although technology is important, relationships are even more important – so they need to be savoured and strengthened if you want to be successful,” she said.