We need to create a pathway for new entrants - broker

Young insurance star says the whole industry needs to encourage new entrants

We need to create a pathway for new entrants - broker

Insurance News

By Kelly Gregor

Sam Kerr was listed in Insurance Business’s inaugural Young Guns report, a ranking of ‘rising stars’ from brokerages, underwriting agencies, insurance companies and legal practices around New Zealand. Here he offers more insight on his career-to-date.

What is the best part of the job?
I love working with businesses and seeing what makes them tick. It’s a privilege that through my role, I get to see the guts of top performing businesses and interesting start-ups.
What’s the most challenging?
Dealing with an ever-changing landscape; from new insurance players to brokers needing to constantly upskill to match the changing needs.
If you could change one thing about the industry – what would it be?
I’d create a more open pathway for young entrants into the industry. A lot of young insurance professionals “fall” into the industry rather than identifying it for the amazing career opportunity it is. As an industry there are a lot of experienced brokers out there, so we need to look at how we use their knowledge and skillsets to train the next generation.
Do you feel prepared for the financial law regime changes?
We’ve been involved in the forums and followed the consultation papers as they’ve come out. So, yes, I feel prepared for the changes. As an industry, and especially general insurance advisers, we need to prepare for the changes, which means being involved through the process rather than just trying to comply.
Do you think the FMA has done enough to prepare advisers for these changes?
I think MBIE, the FMA and the Code Committee are doing everything they can to prepare advisers and the industry as a whole for changes. Realistically, it’s up to the individual to prepare and that’s where I think the largest improvement can come.
If you could only sell one product; income or life – what would you sell, and why?
As a general insurance adviser, I’d probably pick neither… I’m a bit of a truck and machinery nerd so if I had to pick a line of insurance, I’d choose commercial motor vehicle insurance.
Do you think there is a diversity issue in the industry?
The industry has its challenges, there is definitely a skew towards men, but this is slowly changing. Looking around the Young Insurance Professionals events you’ll see a broad range of people coming through into the industry,
Insurance is seen as a grudge purchase. How do you change this perception for your clients, how do you educate them on the need for insurance?
For most clients there’s a stigma around insurance and, as Kiwis, our attitude to risk, and “she’ll be right” enforces this. So, we work on the risk side first. We look at getting the advice right and explain insurance is just the mechanism that responds to the risk. Once you talk through the risk and explain it’s something they can choose to insure or not, the perception changes.
Do you think advisers will still be relevant in five years?
Incredibly relevant. Looking at other industries, we’re going through a change, whether we like it or not.
What do you think is the number one threat to the industry?
I think the largest threat is the over commoditisation of the insurance product and its distribution. Look at travel insurance, and at the number of complaints that come from the varied distribution channels. If the focus was on the advice rather than “selling”, would the product receive as many complaints? As we push digital experiences and click to buy commoditisation, you have to wonder if it has a long term negative effect on the perception and complaints against the industry.



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