Kristin Bridges was listed in Insurance Business’s inaugural Young Guns report, a ranking of “rising stars” from brokerages, underwriting agencies, insurance companies and legal practices around New Zealand. In this Q&A, she shares her insurance journey and insights in the industry.
1. Why did you get into insurance broking?
Like most people in insurance, I fell into it! But I am glad I did as I really enjoy the job. If it wasn’t in insurance, I think I would have ended up in a similar industry as it suits my skill set.
2. What motivates you, gets you out of bed in the morning?
It’s really satisfying being able to help a client who is genuinely happy with and appreciates the work you’ve done for them, so in my work life, I live for those moments. Needing to keep a roof over my head is also a motivating factor!
3. Where do you see the industry going?
I don’t think brokers are going anywhere, but I think we need to become more dynamic. We can’t afford to be “transactional brokers” – we need to actively engage with our clients at each renewal and offer added value to their business. Otherwise, there’s nothing stopping them going to another broker who can offer better service. Or worse – a direct insurer!
4. What are the biggest trends?
A) Switching to digital-based platforms for invoicing, B) an uptick in interaction and engagement with clients through internet-based platforms and C) the transition to managing claims primarily online. So, overall a big push towards embracing tech. Brokers need to move with the times, as customers increasingly expect us to have a big online footprint, which in turn makes their lives (and ours) simpler.
5. Will online digital advice eventually replace brokers?
I don’t think so, not entirely at any rate. I believe robo-advice has its place for simpler risks, but complex commercial risks will always require a degree of expertise and nuance that computers won’t be able to replicate. At least in my lifetime!
6. As a young professional in insurance, how do you think you can influence the industry?
I think that the move towards tech-based insurance solutions definitely requires young blood. Insurance is also an industry where people tend to have longevity and act as brokers for decades – you certainly tend to see that at industry events, where everyone knows everyone. As such, I also think it’s really important for young brokers to network between ourselves and work together in terms of benchmarking, since (cliché I know) we are the future of insurance.
7. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Ideally, I would like to be a director at Bridges Insurance, continuing to maintain and grow a steady book of clients and hopefully still enjoying the job!