Five Minutes With… Andrew Beaton, Dual New Zealand

by Maryvonne Gray 17 Feb 2016

Five Minutes With… Andrew Beaton, Dual New Zealand

Why did you get into insurance? 
As an 18 year old living in Perth for a few years I quickly found out my lifestyle costs far exceeded my finances so it was time to get a real job. Fortunately with my father in the industry as well I was able to land an Assistant Underwriter job at GIO Corporate.  
It’s 25 years later now and I haven’t looked back. I have been able to travel the world through my various roles getting to meet and work with amazingly successful, talented and genuinely good people along the way.

How would you sum up insurance brokers in three words? 
The Client’s Advocate.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever arranged cover for? 
Very early on in my career I was involved in a seven year contract works policy for an offshore oil rig with huge sums insured and equally huge premium, the largest oil rig in the world at the time. There has also been the odd assortment of exotic cars, international music acts and professional sportspersons over the years.

How would you change the industry? 
We need to introduce 21st century technology to the industry and in my particular area in the industry improve broker and insurer connectivity. There is still a large amount of manual work and duplication of process which adds cost ultimately borne by the consumer.

What’s the most important thing brokers and insurers can do to improve their relationship?
In my career I have been both a broker and underwriter so I can see the key roles each plays in the industry clearly. Honesty and integrity are key to me in broker to insurer relationships mixed with in with some healthy competition. In soft market cycles and with everyone under pressure for growth standards can sometimes slip and unprofessionalism can creep in. I have been around long enough to realise people have long memories and you never know who your next boss may be! Overall however I believe the Broker to Insurer relationship is a very good one without much room for improvement, which it needs to be in a small market such as ours.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given? 
Wherever there is disruption and adversity there usually lies opportunity.

If you were Prime Minister for one day, what would you do? 
In the morning meet with Bill English to get a Flat Tax Rate on the Budget agenda, keep it simple, then an afternoon round of golf with Barack Obama.

What has been the highlight of your career? 
Without doubt managing ongoing capacity and coverage out of London following the Canterbury earthquakes and the learnings we all took from managing a response to such a significant and traumatic event.

What’s your favoured style of coffee? 
As an Aucklander, Latte of course, preferably two before lunch.

Union, league, soccer or other?
League, Warriors the team of choice there, as tough as they can be to support, and unavoidably with two avid soccer-mad boys in the household usually there is a game on TV at home involving teams with names starting in Manchester….    and with a watching eye over American sports.

If you could invite three people to dinner, dead or alive, and excluding family and friends, who would they be and why? 
I was at a lunch once with Jonah Lomu at the table so it would be nice to invite him around for dinner, joining him would be Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama that would complete a trifecta of amazing and inspiring leaders to learn from.

Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t in insurance, I would be
Running a luxury lodge meeting famous people all day long or failing that a management role in the airline industry.