Like so many others I sort of fell into insurance, starting out with NZI
, then travelled to London and spent nearly 16 years there and in the Middle East doing almost every facet of insurance. I tried to get out of the industry a couple of times but it kept pulling me back in and wouldn’t let go, maybe it gets into your blood! It is a fascinating industry, quite diverse and very challenging – a great hidden opportunity for so many people.
How would you sum up insurance brokers in three words?
Outsourced risk manager – you guide clients on risk and then insurance.
How would you change the industry?
Work more on creating a career path for young people leaving school and university to entice the best talent into our industry. We do a pretty poor job of representing our industry and the important role it plays in society. We also need to improve our use of technology – we are way behind most other service industries.
What’s the most important thing a broker can do to develop their business?
Focus on the people, create great experiences for clients and don’t be afraid to ask for the business!
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Don’t give up – keep persevering, it will overcome almost every inadequacy you may have on the path to your success.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever arranged cover for?
Not sure… I guess insuring all the Royal Palaces in Saudi Arabia would have to be up there, and having to do risk surveys from a helicopter as I wasn’t a Muslim and couldn’t be allowed in certain places like Mecca and Medinah.
If you were prime minister for one day, what would you do?
Make all entertainment expenses tax deductible! I always liked what Mike Hutcheson (ex Saatchi and Saatchi) said about some of the best ideas and deals he ever did involved food and wine. Our industry is no different in this respect.
What’s the biggest challenge facing the industry today?
How to get the next generation of insurance buyers better educated about the value of insurance and away from price based decisions. I know some people would say consolidation and globalisation and even technology but I really believe we will cope will all of these over time. However, our future customers want solutions faster and cheaper which doesn’t always equate to the best solution for them and they only generally find out at claim time – hence the popularity of Fair Go for insurance.
What’s been the highlight of your career?
I have had lots of highs during the course of my career, both in New Zealand and overseas, but I would have to say that one of the most satisfying things I took the plunge to do was starting Insurance Advisernet 8 years ago. It has been a fantastic journey, which is not over, but it has been really great to see good young (and some not so young) brokers make their own way in the industry with our help and support, many with great success and lots more to come.
What’s your favourite style of coffee?
Flat white – trim these days and without sugar (that was harder to do).
Rugby union, league or soccer?
Always been a rugby fan, although supporting the Blues is definitely not one of my career highlights. With many years spent in the UK I watched a lot of soccer and became an Arsenal fan for my sins, but that has waned over the past few years.
If you could invite three people to dinner, dead or alive, and excluding family or friends, who would they be and why?
Nelson Mandela – he would add something unique to the conversation and it would be great to meet the great man personally.
Marilyn Monroe – she would add a certain je ne sais quoi
to the evening and be a great foil for…
Elvis Presley – because it would be very entertaining and a hell of an evening afterwards!
Complete this sentence: if I wasn’t in insurance I would be…
A developer – buildings, structures, that sort of thing. I always liked the idea of creating things but couldn’t build anything to save my life!