Why did you get into insurance?
I’d just arrived from the UK at age 18 on my ‘OE’ and thought an office job would be a good idea for a while, so had interviews for a Junior’s position with both the Post Office Savings Bank and Royal Insurance. The Royal were paying better and the job seemed to be interesting – and I’m really glad they chose me. I started on the day of the Wahine storm and was run off my feet for weeks after, but got a great introduction to how insurance really helps people, and to the Kiwi way of life, and loved them both so much I decided to stay here – so insurance changed my life completely.
How would you sum up insurance brokers in three words?
Passionate, Creative, Personable
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever arranged cover for?
A steam train and carriages my client bought in the eighties to run up and down the main street of Kawakawa as a tourist attraction.
How would you change the industry?
Make brokerage and fees transparent.
What’s the most important thing a broker can do to develop their business?
Get involved in their local community by joining clubs and participating in charitable activities, and so get known by others in the business sector and by the public.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
An old broker once told me at the outset of my broking career “There’s a reason they call it the Insurance ‘Game’, Jim – you need to play hard but enjoy it.”
If you were Prime Minister for one day, what would you do?
Sack most of the MPs.
What has been the highlight of your career?
Building up a successful brokerage based upon just one niche sector.
What’s your favoured style of coffee?
Flat white. (The best is from BP.)
Union, league, soccer or other?
I played rugby (not well) until I was 40, and was involved with local clubs as President and Committee member, but have lost my enthusiasm for rugby in recent times as I’m finding the rules confusing. I have been an avid St George Dragons NRL supporter for over 40 years, since I lived in Sydney for a year and am passionate about following them – so definitely League.
If you could invite three people to dinner, dead or alive, and excluding family and friends, who would they be and why?
All soldiers with totally different backgrounds:
Oliver Cromwell – he changed the British constitution forever, and for the better.
Gustavus von Tempski – a hero of the New Zealand Wars, and great artist.
Charles Upham – Kiwi double VC winner and most decorated soldier of WW2.
But if they were all busy that evening – Stalin, Hitler and Pol Pot. Just to chat.
Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t in insurance, I would be…
Either in the police, or an accountant.