Meet a broker: Polina Kesov
Polina Kesov is one of the founding directors of ii-A, a Sydney-based insurance brokerage established in 2006.
Polina leads a team of professionals that specialise in delivering unique, customised and innovative insurance solutions for individuals and businesses across all walks of life, Australia-wide.
With over 18 years' experience in the insurance industry working in broking, claims management and compliance, exceeding the expectations of clients is what drives Polina every day.
Polina shares insurance best practice guidance and information through speaking engagements, writing specialist articles, posting on social media and more recently through a series of vlogs (video blogs) which have already garnered lots of new clients.
At Advisr we think Polina is a great example to all insurance brokers in how to establish expertise online to educate and build trust in the value brokers add to customers.
We spoke to Polina about her work and experience.
Advisr: What do you love about being an insurance broker?
Polina: I am very passionate about being an insurance broker. In particular I love helping clients where I can add value to their situation with great insurance solutions.
My role gives me the invaluable opportunity to learn about and work with so many different industries, which helps me greatly to continue to develop my knowledge and skillset.
Insurance is an integral part of any business and I take pride in being able to assist my clients with their needs, so they can get on with running their business with peace of mind.
Which skills are most important for an insurance broker to succeed?
I think the following skills are important for any insurance broker and I love being able to utilise my skills daily in my work with clients:
1. People Skills
Always puts the needs of the client first
An Insurance Broker who is only out to earn a quick commission, regardless of the needs of the client, is not likely to last long in the business. It is imperative to listen carefully to what your clients say to be able to earn their trust, which is one of the most important parts of my role.
Great customer service
Customers who are able to get hold of their insurance brokers when they need them are much more likely to stay happy and reassured. A timely response to inquiries and telephone calls is a must, and you must be able to do what you say you will do when you say you will do it. Naturally, sometimes it is not possible due to circumstances beyond your control ie: delay by the insurer. In that scenario it is important to keep the client up to date all the way.
This includes the ability to listen and empathise with clients on a deeper level in order to discern what they really want and need. A good insurance broker is tactful and knows how to help a client see financial reality clearly, even when the client is dead set against it.
2. Strong Personality
High energy level
One of the most important traits of a good insurance broker is that they appear to be excited and eager at all times. A worn-down or dreary disposition will immediately rub off on clients and discourage them from dealing with such an insurance broker.
This is perhaps the most vital quality of any good insurance broker. Those who work in this field absolutely must be able to handle rejection on a daily basis over the course of their careers and do it with a smile. Good insurance brokers understand that each "no" only brings them closer to someone who will say "yes."
A good insurance broker knows that telling the truth up front, good, bad or otherwise, will win them clients' respect and trust; and is likely to lead to repeat business over time.
3. Sound Knowledge
A wide array of products
A good insurance broker will be able to offer a comprehensive selection of products and services that can meet any reasonable need a client might have and provide holistic solutions for the client's situation.
A good insurance broker knows how to properly structure a policy and not just sell a policy.
Having deep knowledge and expertise in a particular topic adds great value to customers. For example, cyber insurance is an area of interest and expertise which I focus on. I publicise this expertise by speaking at events and conferences, writing and sharing articles about cyber insurance and cyber risks that companies face to help educate and inform.
Advisr: What insurance lines are your core areas of expertise?
Polina: I specialise in SME business insurance solutions. I have a lot of knowledge and experience in all lines of insurance and products available on the market. One of my favourite policies to arrange for clients is Cyber Insurance as it is both interesting and most needed by all businesses.
Advisr: What makes an ideal client and why?
Polina: All clients are unique and I always like to customise insurance solutions based on their individual needs. I personally enjoy working with like-minded people who are excited about their business and want to get correct cover, not just a cheap price.
Advisr: What areas of insurance should people be aware of over the next 12 months?
This is one of the most critical and rapidly emerging products in the global insurance market. It relates to everyone in one way or another. The rate of cyber-attacks is increasing at an unprecedented rate and without adequate Cyber cover the financial consequences can be devastating for businesses in the worst case scenario.
2. Contraction of the International Professional Indemnity Market
If we are living in Australia, what does the rest of the world have to do with our local insurance arrangements? A significant portion of all professional indemnity is underwritten by overseas insurers, mostly notably Lloyd's in London. Lloyd's currently is in the process of remediation and looking to improve the overall viability of their insurance syndicates to maintain their strong history. This has meant less capacity for professional indemnity is available globally, naturally making what is left more expensive and harder to come by.
3. Impact of the Royal Commission
The well published scrutiny of the financial services is seeing ever increasing compliance obligations and risk management protocols on financial services. Coupled with years of heavy claims activities in this area the raw cost of obtaining insurance for any financial services organisation has naturally increased, irrespective of the class of insurance you are seeking. So it is more important than ever to be looking at what is really behind the financial services business to help minimise financial impacts on your premiums and coverage availability.
The Grenfell Tower fire that happened nearly two years ago was a horrifying situation. This has seen a strong response from insurers right across all business types involved in property and construction. From your everyday strata insurance all the way through to construction consultants who support builders in the construction process. Mostly notably insurers have looked to remove or reduce cover for Cladding that does not meet Australian standards.
Does your insurance need a fresh set of eyes? Are you getting the most out of your insurance? Do you have the best insurance arrangement for your current and future needs?
Contact Polina Kesov at ii-A today for a review on your insurance needs.
General Advice Warning: This advice is general and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider whether the advice is suitable for you and your personal circumstances. Before you make any decision about whether to acquire a certain product, you should obtain and read the relevant product disclosure statement.