Born and bred in North Wales (except for three years in Brisbane as a young girl with her family), Claire started her insurance career over 20 years ago as a part-time job while she was studying environmental science at university in Manchester.
After university, Claire, backpacked through South East Asia and Australia, before settling in Sydney, and starting her career at IAG. Claire has had a variety of insurance roles, including in claims, underwriting, commercial, consumer, and was even involved in a start-up insurance company.
“Many people I know would say they fell into insurance, it wasn’t something they aspired to get into or become, but it’s been great and that’s why I’ve stayed for this long. It’s been really good to me, and I’ve never looked into doing anything else since. This industry has given me lots of opportunities.”
Claire’s insurance career has been woven in with her love of embracing different cultures. After she settled in Australia, she married a Kiwi, her son was born in Dubai and her daughter in Sydney, and she has now been living in Christchurch for three years.
Claire loves her current role in personal lines, building relationships with peers and partners, and particularly supporting the business development managers (BDMs) across New Zealand.
“I love leading my team of BDMs. It’s all about coaching and development; empowering them to make decisions and building strong relationships with our broker partners, but also making sure they are on the right path.”
For Claire, regular, open and honest conversations is the key for all broker relationships.
“Developing a personal relationship and a professional friendship where you can. Things aren’t always going to go right, but if you have a good relationship, you can always have those up-front conversations when needed.”
Claire has always been a strong promoter of equity in the workforce.
“My philosophy has always been that nobody is going to tell me that I can’t do something because of my gender. I’m quite passionate about changing people’s mindsets and changing the pathway for females.
“It’s great to see women in senior leader roles balancing work and family. I think it is very important to have diversity of thought in all our decisions too. So, it’s not just male and female. It is also young, old, various ethnicities, and different thought processes that people bring to the table.”
Having a son and daughter, Tom (11) and Emily (8), Claire would like her kids to see everyone as equal regardless of their gender, ethnicity or background. “I want them to know that they can both achieve whatever they set their minds to.”
With a long wish list of travel destinations currently on hold due to Covid-19, Claire is looking elsewhere for her cultural fix.
“I speak Welsh and I would love to learn Te Reo Maori. I think it’s very important as a nation, to embrace the cultural language. As a leader in personal lines, the key for me, is ensuring that we all drive a culture that embraces diversity and diversity of thought."