Broker on the one thing she wants to change in the industry

Broker on the one thing she wants to change in the industry | Insurance Business New Zealand

Broker on the one thing she wants to change in the industry
Auckland-based broker Holly Reedman is a young woman in the industry – which is pretty rare in insurance, at least in New Zealand.

Australian born Reedman came to the country with the lifestyle and creativity of a fashion stylist. However, she thought she needed a more challenging role and that’s when she began her career in insurance broking.

In 2016, Reedman joined Aurora Insurance and has quickly climbed the ranks to become the first female director at the firm.

Insurance Business chatted with Reedman to get her views in the industry.  In this Q&A, she shares why she wants to break the stigma that excellent insurance brokers are all middle-aged men.

Insurance Business: Who or what has inspired you to become an insurance broker?

Holly Reedman: Before moving to New Zealand to begin my career as an insurance broker, I was working in the fashion industry in Australia. Although I enjoyed the lifestyle and creative work that came with it, the hours were so intense with little financial reward. I decided I needed a more mentally challenging role and career that really gave me a more balanced lifestyle. When the opportunity was presented by a good friend of mine to move to New Zealand and begin a career at Aurora, in an industry that felt so far out of my depth, I thought, why not?!

IB: What has been your most memorable client experience?

HR: Basically, every time I walk out of a client’s house and know that I have educated them and given them knowledge on something that is important to them and their family is memorable for me.

IB: What’s the hardest, most challenging part of being a broker?

HR: The biggest challenge for me as the senior manager of my Auckland office, would be the number of small challenges you have in one day. You have to really put your problem-solving skills to use and look at things from different angles, but I really wouldn’t want it any other way.

IB: Tell us briefly about your company and its role in the industry. What makes it different from other companies in the same space?

HR: Aurora Insurance has been around for three years now, our first office was in Newmarket with only four advisors. Our Auckland branch is now located in Parnell with close to 30 advisors with another 17 located in our Christchurch office. We will also be looking to expand to Wellington at some point this year. One thing we go by at Aurora is that every customer is treated equal, we don’t care if you make $30,000 a year or $300,000 a year - every customer receives the same service and tailor-made advice that they can actually understand. That’s why we have been able to grow as fast as we have and had the success that the industry is talking about.

IB: What do you see as the biggest opportunity for brokers this new year?

HR: I’m not sure about other brokers; I can, however, speak on behalf of Aurora and say we have a lot of amazing opportunities happening this year for us as a group, as well as new advisers beginning their career with us. From our exceptional hands-on training process, going paperless for 2018 with the help of the next-level systems we have built, to a lot of travel and amazing incentives given to our advisers that work smart.

IB: What are your thoughts on the robo-advice (digital advice) exemption under the FMA, which comes into effect in May?

HR: It’s great to have an access point for families to get some advice rather than no advice at all, but a computer-generated system will never have that human touch or an individual/family situation understanding that experienced advisers like me can give.

IB: Does the industry need more regulation?

HR: No. It’s fine.

IB: If you could change one thing in the industry, what would it be and why?

HR: I believe there’s a stigma in our industry that excellent insurance brokers are all middle-aged men. And if you are even a semi-successful young professional woman, some questions come along with that. I’m really proud to say that my team of advisers at Aurora are aged at an average of 26 years old and are mostly female. We work just as hard as the veterans (if not more) and none of us initially came from sales or insurance backgrounds, nor did we buy our parents’ book. We all just have the hunger to learn, grow and help Kiwi families on a needs-based approach, with real advice.     

IB: Outside the broking business, what else do you enjoy doing?

HR: Travel. It’s very difficult for young professionals to have the best of all worlds these days. To love what they do when they get out of bed and go to work, create a path to achieve their financial goals, but also be able to see the world whenever they want, wherever they want. I feel very blessed to be a part of a company, like Aurora, that allows my team and I to do this.

IB: Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t in insurance broking, I would be…

HR: Seeking the dream job, but luckily for me, I’ve already found it.

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Broker on regulation, robo-advice and Consumer NZ
“We need no more regulation”