What has the last year been like?
It’s been a very good year for Rothbury and I’m proud of what we’ve achieved. We’ve continued to grow as a business and innovate.
While it’s been a year of change, it’s also been a year of opportunity. As regulation increases and technology advances, technical skill, competence and expert advice is increasingly being sought to help clients mitigate their risk and exposure.
What have the challenges been?
Market conditions have been challenging. The soft market we’ve been in is undoubtedly starting to firm up and prices are rising. Explaining to clients why costs are increasing is an ongoing job and not a particularly easy one. Robust communication is critical.
Retaining existing clients is vital, so we need to continue to prove ourselves and show our value in the chain. It’s about providing advice, finding the right solutions to meet our clients’ needs and that’s more about product than price.
What has gone well?
Over the last year, we’ve achieved significant growth and exceeded our best new business year ever. We’re expanding our client base by a hundred new clients every week.
The Learning Programme we put in place to upskill our brokers and help them become more sales-focused, and assist our branch leaders to be sales coaches, is showing results. Our Sales Programme has also been integral to helping reward our people working on the front line.
We spend a lot of time making sure we get the right people on the bus. Our people and culture are very important to us, and this is something that particularly resonates with me. For the past four years we’ve been named finalist in the Kenexa Best Workplaces Survey in the Medium to Large Workplace category, and last year we were placed third – something I’m very proud of.
Rothbury has also been named ‘Large Broker of the Year’ by ANZIIF for the last three years in a row and we’ve made finalist again this year.
Digital advancement and innovation remains an important focus to optimise client experience. Our new online active invoice connects us more to our clients – providing photo, contact and social media details of their broker, and the ability to link through to make a payment directly.
We also rolled out Version 3 of ‘My Rothbury’, an innovative smartphone app that over 6,000 of our clients have downloaded to give them instant access to all their insurance information anytime, anywhere.
One more standout achievement this year has been our project connecting NZI with our broking system Swift via the Steadfast Virtual Underwriter (VU) interface. This went live in July and delivers full life cycle auto-rating and connectivity for our brokers working with SME clients, providing a faster turnaround time, as well as increased efficiency and functionality internally.
What are you hoping for in 2018?
The last 10 years have been very positive and now with over 260 staff we want to continue to build our business and expand our footprint further, while remaining focused on providing personal service and quality advice for clients.
We’re always open to investigating partnerships with other broking businesses who are considering their future.
Our move to Nelson as a result of our partnering with Lifetime has meant for the first time Rothbury has a presence here and we’re very excited to see that grow.
We’re also the first brokers to open an office on Waiheke Island, so it’s great to be a part of the Waiheke community and be able to service the local community and do business at a local level.
Going forward, there’s still room for us to do more to educate our clients about their exposures. Cyber risk is one great example. We must continue to be strong communicators and active in telling stories that highlight risk to our clients and provide the right solutions.
I’m really looking forward to 2018 and whatever it brings.
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