How did you come to be a broker?
I started my career working for AA Insurance in Penrose many years ago, and then carried on working in insurance in London in the early 2000s. This included a stint at loss adjusting at Cunningham Lindsay, before moving into brokerage in St Albans, about an hour north of London. Then I then took maternity leave for 12 months, during which time moved back to Hamilton to be nearer my family. I started at Bridges in Feb 2007, and have gone from being a support person for our managing director, to being a director myself.
What are your key strengths?
Attention to detail and really listening when I’m working with a client. It’s important to listen to what they’re saying . . . and also what they’re not saying. I generally form really strong relationships with my clients and some of them have become close friends. Also, I don’t consider myself to be a salesperson, I prefer to help my clients with good advice and matching them with right product for their needs. And I’m lucky to have a really good memory for names and faces.
What are some of the major challenges facing the industry in 2019?
Technology is always a challenge; I believe that brokers are looking for ways to streamline processes and connect with both our clients and insurers in a faster and more efficient manner. We’ve invested quite a bit in technology over the last 18-24 months, and its paying dividends for us now in terms of increased efficiencies, along with cost savings in other areas. There is a lot of talk about diversity in the workplace also. I don’t think that would be considered a “challenge”, but it’s something to be aware of and to factor into decision making. We’ve got a great team at Bridges and are embracing diversity of thought, age, ethnicity and background.
What do you find most rewarding about your job?
Seeing clients feel confident that they’ve got good insurance protection in place, and seeing them have claims paid at the end of a smooth process. Essentially that’s the reason for me doing what I do. I also have a strong mentoring and management role within our team, and I love to see our younger team members learning, growing and developing in their confidence.
What areas do you find most challenging?
Getting everything done in time. Probably one of my biggest faults is not saying “no” often enough. As a result, I often end up with a lot on my plate, so delegation is a skill that I’m working on.
How do you keep ahead of the technological changes in the industry?
Take advice from people who know what they’re talking about in this area. I’m not a tech-savvy person by any means, so I’m comfortable that we’ve got a good team around us, both internally and externally, that know a lot more than I do. About 18 months ago we introduced an online portal for our clients, which enables us to deliver their documentation electronically, and also provides them with 24/7 access to their insurance information. This has been really well received by clients as they’re no longer having to store hard copies of documents year-on-year, and they’re also receiving their documents a lot more quickly than traditional post.
What do you see as the key to your success as a broker?
I like people and learning about what makes them tick. I’m a listener more than a talker, so this really gives clients the opportunity to tell me about who they are and what their business is about. I’m also dedicated, hardworking, and just a little bit OTT when it comes to spelling, punctuation and grammar. I also love to learn. I won the QBE IBANZ scholarship back in 2011 to complete my Level 5 insurance qualification, then in 2018 I completed a Diploma in Leadership and Management run by the Australian Institute of Management as part of an NZbrokers scholarship. I’ve been really fortunate that others have seen enough potential in me to grant me these opportunities.
What do you enjoy doing when you aren’t at work?
I’ve got a daughter who is 13 and a son who is 11, so my weeknights and weekends tend to get filled up with hockey, soccer and futsal practices and games. When I get some downtime, I love to read, bake and try my hand at vege gardening, with various degrees of success. I love travelling and try to get away at least twice a year. Earlier this year my husband and I had our belated honeymoon to some amazing far-flung destinations and I’m now looking forward to a week in Samoa with my daughter in October.
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