Five Minutes With… Brian Chikanya, head of claims, Zurich New Zealand

by IBO 10 Dec 2014

Five Minutes With… Brian Chikanya, head of claims, Zurich New Zealand

Why did you get into insurance?
 It was the first job that came up for me. I started as a trainee broker for a multinational broking firm.
I love insurance because I am passionate about providing an excellent claims service and caring for our customers and staff.

How would you sum up insurance brokers in three words?
Professionalism, Knowledge, Trust
 
How would you change the industry?
I think insurance products can be often misunderstood. This needs to change.
Also, the industry can probably do more to promote a better public perception. There is a lot of good work done by insurance professionals which goes unrecognised. Unfortunately we tend to hear mostly the negative stories in some parts of the media.
 
What’s the most important thing brokers and insurers can do to improve their relationship?
We are now living and working in a ‘smaller’ globe with technology and customer demands changing fast. There is a myriad of risks which our customers continue to face. Brokers and insurers must proactively work together so they can help customers stay ahead of the game.  Price is a consideration but not the most important one – insurers and brokers must partner together in selling the right products and delivering when it matters most – claims.
 
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. A principle which applies to all walks of life.
 
If you were Prime Minister for one day, what would you do?
Find ways to increase child protection, improve their education and welfare. It’s become a dangerous world out there.

What has been the highlight of your career?
I have had the privilege of practising my insurance career in three different countries. You always get a different perspective of life when you travel. One of the main highlights is the experience I had managing catastrophe claims in Australia. As a claims professional I found it rewarding to help people whose lives had been devastated by floods and cyclones.

What’s your favoured style of coffee?
I must admit I have become a bit of a ‘coffee snob’ over the years. It needs to be a really, really good cappuccino.
 
Union, league, soccer or other?
For me it’s Liverpool FC, I also follow the NBA, union, tennis. I also love cricket. R.I.P. Phil Hughes.

If you could invite three people to dinner, dead or alive, and excluding family and friends, who would they be and why?
King David (from the Bible) – there are some pretty interesting stories of him in the Bible
Martin Luther-King – inspiring orator and leader
Dr Paul Brand – for the great work he did working with leprosy patients
I think I could learn a thing or two from these people.

Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t in insurance, I would be…
Before my insurance career, I almost got into journalism.