What started as part-time work while at university has led to Daniel Szegota (pictured) becoming one of New Zealand’s most trusted insurance professionals. He has been in the insurance business for nearly 15 years, with specialist international insurance experience, and is currently a senior broker and shareholder at ICIB Limited.
In this Q&A, Szegota tells Insurance Business about winery insurance and what he thinks is the secret to success.
Insurance Business: Who or what inspired you to be involved in the insurance industry?
Daniel Szegota: I was working in the direct insurance market while studying at university (for beer funds) and, after graduation, I carried on studying for my insurance exams, got a job broking in Leeds and worked up from there.
IB: As you say, you worked in the UK insurance sector prior to joining ICIB. What did you learn from that experience and how do these lessons help you now?
DS: The regulatory framework and emphasis on exams in the UK is a lot more stringent, which has helped as the NZ market now follows a similar path. A previous role managing a panel of Lloyd’s syndicates exposed me to Lloyd’s and its operations, which was a great experience and helps regardless of whatever market you work in.
IB: Tell us briefly about your insurance specialty and it differs from anything else in the industry?
DS: The wine industry is exposed to a variety of risks along the way from vineyards to the export market. In addition, most of the local NZ market is placed in seismic areas and wineries are also exposed to some of the issues surrounding EPS construction. With so many facets to the industry, and a complex but limited insurance market to manage, it certainly offers plenty of challenges – but very much worth it and is a product and industry we all like to see well protected and sustainable!
IB: What are the main challenges facing brokers today?
DS: The ability to embrace change quickly, the application of technology within the industry and keeping abreast of increasing regulations – all while maintaining and improving the professional ethics required as an industry.
IB: Do you have any tips for success, for those wanting to enter this industry?
DS: It’s a fascinating industry with many dynamics at play and no shortage of opportunities. Find a company with a good reputation, work hard, do your exams and stick at it. If possible, take time out to experience how the industry operates in other countries and use/build on those experiences. And never burn your bridges.
IB: What are your passions or hobbies outside insurance?
DS: Derby County, cycling, good beer, listening to Iron Maiden as loudly as possible and chasing our three-year-old around a trampoline. Food and drink also play a big part. I’ve always found cooking to be a good way of switching off and winding down – with wine of course.
IB: Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t in insurance, I would be…
DS: ….coaching football in the USA (in my early 20s I got my English FA coaching badges and coached in Texas) or following in my father’s footsteps and joining the police force.