Working in an insurance brokerage doesn’t necessarily just mean selling policies. Like many others, national claims manager Sian Swetman at Lowe Schollum Jones Insurance Brokers & Consultants entered the insurance industry by accident, having started in customer service and worked in various roles before settling on her ultimate career path – claims.
Swetman was named in Insurance Business NZ’s annual Young Guns list for 2019, and spoke to Insurance Business about the job, its challenges, and what the future might hold.
“Before I entered insurance I was working in Wellington for a telecommunications company, and ironically I felt disconnected,” Swetman explained. “So I submitted my resume to a recruitment agency in the hope of finding a more fulfilling role, and I landed a job at AMI Wellington as a customer services officer aged 18, and I have been in the industry ever since.”
“I have dabbled in the underwriting side of the industry, but really enjoy the technical side of interpreting the policy and applying it to claims,” she continued. “I also relish in the satisfaction of meeting client needs and expectations through their claims experience. That appealed to me more than selling them the policy, and is why ultimately I chose to work in claims.”
Swetman says getting a positive outcome for a client in a complex claim is always the highlight of the job, and building solid relationships with clients, staff and service providers is key to achieving that. When it comes to being a successful claims manager, she says there are three main tips that young insurance professionals need to know.
“Firstly, challenge the norm,” Swetman explained. “Don’t simply accept that the way things have been is the way things should always be. Secondly, make sure you actually enjoy the work you’re doing, and thirdly, learn as much as you can from those around you. The most important thing I have learnt is that you gain the most by listening, not talking.”
“In 10 years, I definitely still see myself in the insurance industry and still mainly on the claims side,” Swetman concluded. “I would like to be in a leadership role and I’m a bit of a “tech-geek,” so I would love to see where that passion could take me.”