Five Minutes With… Monica Maharaj, NZI

Five Minutes With… Monica Maharaj, NZI | Insurance Business

Five Minutes With… Monica Maharaj, NZI
Why did you get into insurance?
Like most people, I fell into insurance after looking for a new challenge where I could use my legal skills but not work the mad hours I was doing with a young child.

How would you change the industry?
I would change the public’s perception of insurers into a positive one and I would make the industry a career of choice for new graduates. Insurance is a well-paid and intellectually stimulating profession, which can provide a career path for those that so choose. I would also encourage the promotion of gender and ethnic diversity and would like to see more women in senior leadership positions. I would also encourage insurers to change their response (lowering premiums) to the softening insurance market and take a longer term view in riding it which stands to benefit all parties.

How would you sum up insurance brokers in three words? 
Advocates for their clients, Adaptable to the ever changing economic and legal environment and needs of their clients and lastly Savvy professionals.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
If you get offered a new opportunity outside your comfort zone, don’t be afraid to try something new. You will not grow or develop standing still.

If you were Prime Minister for one day, what would you do?
1. Change the laws to provide free healthcare, school meals and education for everyone.
2. Create economic opportunities and infrastructure outside of Auckland.
3. Sort out our public transport systems and consider making it free for all users.

What has been the highlight of your career?
I have had the privilege of working with such talented and hardworking people at Lumley and was lucky to be earmarked for leadership development during those times. In recent times, I have been working on getting to know the IAG and NZI business and the transition of Lumley to IAG which has been an incredible piece of work involving many individuals and many long hours.

What’s your favoured style of coffee?

Union, league, soccer or other?
Motor bike racing essentially involving Valentino Rossi.

If you could invite three people to dinner, dead or alive, and excluding family and friends, who would they be and why?
Michelle Obama. She is an incredibly intelligent woman and is the powerhouse behind the Obamas. I want to know how she keeps it all together.
John F Kennedy. To ask him all those unanswered questions about Cuba, Monroe and the mafia. 
Anthony Bourdain. To mix things up a bit. He is a gritty, intelligent tv presenter, food writer and chef whose tv shows are premised on travel and world food.

Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t in insurance, I would be…
Either back in law or doing something with food as I am passionate about both.