Like one of the greatest military strategists in history, Bluefin account executive James Nattrass (pictured) is among those leading the charge for the new generation of insurance brokers.
Nattrass gives voice to his fellow insurance professionals as he currently serves as BIBA Young Broker Ambassador and chairman of the trade body’s Central Region Committee. He also previously chaired the Young Broker Steering Group.
“It is an honour to even be suggested for the positions in the first place, let alone take them on,” Nattrass says. “My goal for both roles is to highlight what BIBA does for its members and what they can do to engage with BIBA.”
“From the provision of schemes to lobbying on behalf of all insurance brokers in Parliament, the staff of BIBA genuinely cares about making the industry a better place for customers and brokers and it is this passion that I’d like to convey.”
A history graduate, Nattrass takes inspiration from Hannibal Barca as he represents the broking community.
“He always adapted to new situations and devised ways to do what others believed was impossible,” Nattrass says.
How did you get into the industry?
I got into insurance through a family connection who worked at Bluefin, he suggested I had a go at getting on the graduate scheme and the rest is history: a combination of falling into it and wanting a job where I could have a professional qualification. I worked as an accounts assistant before joining insurance and wanted a job that had similar professionalism but involved more engagement with clients, etc.
What career milestone are you most proud of?
The delivery of the first BIBA Young Broker Day would be the highlight of my career so far - the committee worked tirelessly with BIBA to produce an event that was relevant to young brokers and highlighted the importance of engaging with young members of the industry.
What is your personal or professional goal for 2017?
The last professional goal I had was to complete my ACII before I turned 26, finally finishing it the day before.
I think for this year my personal goal would be to add some real value to the BIBA Central Region and showcase to members through events what BIBA is striving to do and how they can be a part of it.
Who is your hero and why?
Hannibal Barca. One of his many quotes has always inspired me to continue trying even when things don’t always go your way – “we will either find a way or make one.” He may not have beaten the Roman Empire in the long run but he always adapted to new situations and devised ways to do what others believed was impossible.
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What’s the best life lesson you’ve learnt?
I think the best life lesson I’ve learnt is that if you don’t ask, you don’t get. Sounds simple but many of the most exciting things I’ve achieved in insurance and some of the best projects I’ve been involved in have simply come through asking people if I can help them and be involved.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
Nothing lasts forever. There is so much to learn in the industry that sometimes it can almost be paralysing. However, if you break it down and progress through it slowly but surely, eventually you’ll get through it and be stronger for it.
What do you do outside the industry?
I play flag American football in a league in White City and going to see sports with friends - I like to go and see as many different ones as possible in a year.
Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t in insurance, I would be…
In event planning. I really enjoy putting together events for work and friends, the annual office Christmas quiz is a personal favourite of mine, especially when your colleagues’ competitive natures come through.
What advice can you give to fellow young brokers?
My advice to young brokers would be to ask for opportunities to help and prove their worth, not everyone in the industry is as scary as they may seem! Insurance broking is awash with capable young brokers and I would never say ‘no’ without good reason to someone who was seeking to lend me a hand and develop their knowledge of the industry at the same time.
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