Falling into insurance is how most insurance workers begin their career – but for one broker, the foundations had already been laid before he entered the industry.
Sam Baker, broker at Crombie Lockwood and Insurance Business Young Gun 2019 was initially looking for a job with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade after finishing his degree, but was steered on to the insurance path by a recruitment agent, who pointed him towards a role with New Zealand’s rural insurer. Baker spoke to Insurance Business about how he entered the industry, and what made him decide to rethink his former plans and stay there.
“During my search for a job, I ended up meeting a lovely lady from a local recruitment company who approached me and asked if I was interested in a role with FMG,” Baker said. “So I interviewed with them and it seemed like a natural fit. So, I took on the role and, like a lot of people, I ended up falling into the sector.”
“There were several things that made me want to work in broking,” he continued.
“My father was a wool broker, and I worked with him a lot growing up and subconsciously took on a lot of his values when it came to his clients. I always thought that would be a pretty rewarding job, having a client base that you own and manage. Aside from that, I like the pressure and pace of the role and I love problem solving, so it’s a natural fit given the diverse range of work. There is always something new to learn no matter how experienced you are, but most of all I enjoy working with people and am passionate about helping them get the right solution.
“Ultimately when things turned pear shaped, it’s us they turn to. So with all of those factors combined, it makes for a job that never gets stagnant.”
“There is nothing more rewarding than when a client has taken your advice and they’ve had a claim that is covered because of the work I have done,” Baker explained. “But I’d say the biggest challenge is hands down the lack of respect that people have for the industry and what we do.”
When it comes to entering the industry as a new broker, Baker says the most important thing is to remember to have that human touch, and to be someone clients can trust. He says that once you can demonstrate that you are acting in their best interests, you’ll gain a loyal following for life – and that this is the best way to build a business.
“My key advice would be this: don’t be afraid to care, be honest and be upfront,” Baker said. “Don’t be a cheesy salesman, pride yourself on those factors and clients will respect you and stay with you for the work you do, because they know that you have their best interests at heart.”
“I’ve moved up three roles in four years and I hadn’t planned on this path five years ago, but I would love to do some international experience in America, Canada or maybe Australia, become a top corporate broker with my own niche in the marketplace,” he concluded. “That’s where I see myself in 10 years’ time.”