With a wide range of insurance products available to ensure that consumers are covered no matter what issues they need protection from, it’s not surprising that brokers sometimes shift their focus from one area to another.
Kate Baldwin (pictured), Runacres domestic broker and Insurance Business Young Gun 2019, was working with personal lines insurance until she joined the domestic insurance team at Runacres – significantly growing the firm’s client base in the segment.
Insurance Business had a quick chat with Baldwin to learn more about her journey. In this Q&A, she talks about the significant lessons she has learned from her previous roles, her transition from personal lines to domestic insurance, and her thoughts about the industry.
Insurance Business: Who or what inspired you to enter the insurance industry?
Kate Baldwin: My uncle who worked in the insurance sector encouraged me into a role at Southern Response while on a summer break from university. So naturally when I was looking to return to work after having my son I looked again to insurance.
IB: You previously worked with NZI. What did you learn from this experience and how do these lessons help you now?
KB: My time at NZI was invaluable. It taught me how the broking world worked from the other side (especially Canterbury underwriting) and gave me the knowledge and confidence that transferred into my broking role.
IB: Tell us briefly about your role at Runacres and in the industry as a whole.
KB: I like to say that I look after “all things domestic” which involves a large domestic book at Runacres – servicing existing clients as well as bringing in new business. I maintain relationships with key insurers and referral partners such as real estate agents and mortgage brokers. I also assist the wider Runacres team with their domestic queries.
IB: You previously worked with a personal lines team. Now, you’re part of Runacres’ domestic team. Please explain that transition and the differences between the two roles.
KW: The transition was pretty seamless once I got my head around insurers’ (other than NZI) products, wordings, and how that all worked, as well as dealing with our clients and insurers from “the other side.”
IB: What do you see as key areas of development for the insurance industry?
KB: Key development would be technology. We should aim to be as effective and efficient as possible through utilising advancing technology while still keeping that personal touch with our clients.
IB: What is the biggest challenge that you have faced in insurance? How did you address it?
KB: My biggest challenge would have to be my time at Southern Response and the devastating effects of the Canterbury and Kaikoura earthquakes. This was not an easy role but was also hugely rewarding helping people get back on their feet after such a life changing event.
IB: What is the most fulfilling aspect of your work in the insurance space?
KB: The birthday morning teas (just kidding). The most fulfilling aspect of my role is helping first-home buyers with the insurance process as it can be pretty daunting.
IB: Do you have any tips for those who want to enter the insurance industry?
KB: Be prepared to never stop learning. Insurance is always changing and always will be. Keeping up with “the times” will be key to a successful career.
IB: What is one thing that most people don’t know about you?
KB: I am secretly obsessed with reality TV, anything from Treasure Island to Kardashians to The Block.