Josh Thomson, account manager, Willis Towers Watson in Dunedin, talks about breaking into the industry, what makes a great broker and insurance for boulders.
Why did you get into insurance?
I first got into insurance to support my partner as she continued studying psychology. Like most people, I had no idea what a broad industry insurance is, with so many different career paths. Insurance has taken me to positions based in Scotland, Brisbane, Christchurch, and now Dunedin. There are always positions available with new and interesting things to do.
How would you sum up insurance brokers in three words?
Professional, client-focused, and global.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever arranged cover for?
Arranging insurance for a museum: they wished to ensure three large boulders made of greenstone.
How would you change the industry?
Create fairness by removing the fire service levy from insurance.
What’s the most important thing a broker can do to develop their business?
Listen to clients. We always need to find out what they need rather than provide what we think they need. Talking to people is a crucial part of what we do.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Being a good broker is about having a deep understanding of your clients’ business.
Brokers need to become experts in a whole range of fields as the industries in which our clients operate in is always changing and we need to be prepared to help them through those changes.
What has been the highlight of your career?
Willis Towers Watson
presented an opportunity to move to Dunedin to open a new office, which I was able to take the lead on. By making the move, I was supporting the broader business strategy set forward by CEO Peter Lowe
to assist in expanding our geographic footprint in the New Zealand market.
Who in the business do you look up to, and why?
Steve Sugrue was my mentor while I was working in Christchurch. Steve provided a wealth of knowledge to me about what client focus truly means, and the state of the various industries and market that we interact with every day.
Union, league, soccer, or other?
Union and League, and what was that other one?
If you could live anyone’s life for a day, who would you be and why?
Eddie Vedder – I’d love to perform in front of 60,000 people in a concert, it would be pretty special.
Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t in insurance, I would be…
Working in a gym.
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