I started my career in the industry in my mid-20s. I attended an interview with a lady who had been in the industry for 20 years. She was very knowledgeable, confident, and very caring in her line of questioning. It was a different experience to interviews I had been through in the past. The conversation was directed towards my wellbeing, my future, my family, and my newborn child. The conversation I had with the lady, who would later become my mentor, contained three key elements that caught my attention, freedom, flexibility, and money. Based on these three key points, I was sold on becoming an insurance broker.
The money aspect of the conversation was ironic because I made very little of it starting out. At the time, I was earning $350 per month on an internship program which was rough to say the least and barely enough to survive. It was hard to see the bigger picture but with just enough re-assurance from my mentor, I was confident that hard work, determination, willingness to learn and persistence would be enough to achieve my goals.
Flexibility was huge. It was more important than the money but even if I was offered a gazillion dollars a year, if I didn’t have freedom and flexibility then I would have torn up that cheque. Knowing that I didn’t have anyone breathing down my neck or micromanaging me was paramount. I wanted to generate wealth, learn and create my own future and I would later learn that this was a key ingredient that I would take with me into many different aspects of my life.
I have learned that freedom is something you create, and it takes time. I am 40 years old, and this has never been more prominent and at the forefront than now. It took me a long time to learn this but hey, that’s life and you move forward. The freedom to create and build something from the inside out rather than the outside in is a key motivator. Why make money for someone else when you have the tools, experience and knowledge to do it for yourself. Not many people have the opportunity to do this so everyday I am eternally grateful.
Being an insurance broker and now a business owner is so cool. I get to choose where I want to work and how I make it happen. I am creating my own pathway and also providing opportunities for others. Every day is different and has a new challenge but most importantly I am in control of my time. I get to meet all different kinds of people. I learn about how different types of businesses operate and how to point out risk exposures, mitigate risks, provide advice on how best to protect the business against potential losses and pitfalls. The types of occupations are vast and so are the different types of people but learning how to approach people, run a meeting, present terms, negotiate and communicate are just some of the skills I have harnessed along the way. It was not easy at first. I used to get so nervous at the meetings that my hand used to shake when holding the coffee mug, I used to lose my breath in fear of saying or doing the wrong thing and I was so scared that I would be asked a question that I couldn’t answer because I thought I needed to know everything and I would always try to predict the questions that may be asked in the meeting. But, with time I learned that all you can really do is make sure you are prepared, don’t take yourself too seriously, be honest and transparent and do the absolute best to get the result for your client. You cannot please everyone. This mindset has served me very well.
Insurance is never at the forefront of any person’s mind but trust me, when the dung hits the fan, you will want to make sure that all your policies are up to date and your cover is correct. You will also want your broker to be in your corner come claim time so be nice to him/her 😊. I feel a sense of pride when I have overturned a claim decision, knowing that I have done my absolute best to get the best result for my client.
Being an insurance broker can be hard. The stress of carrying multiple people’s livelihood and assets on your shoulders can be daunting. The amount of knowledge and reading that I have taken on board over the years is immense and ever changing. I need to know all the fine details about each policy and the differences between each policy, the exclusions (bloody exclusions) and the different products in the market of which there are numerous types. Sometimes I feel like I need a law degree to understand the lingo. Just to put it into perspective, there are approximately thirty different types of insurance products (probably more than thirty but let’s go with that.) and more than 50 insurers and underwriters in the market. If your eyes did not get bigger whilst reading that sentence, then you are not easily entertained.
I have never had to sell an insurance policy in my entire career. I have always approached it with a sense of honesty and transparency and presented the best possible terms for my client to make an informed decision. I am proud that I can present quotes, point out gaps in cover, provide personal advice and produce the best result for whoever the person may be.
What does it mean to be an insurance broker? I think it means to protect, to be honest, transparent, be a great communicator, to help and guide someone to the best possible outcome in the worst possible scenario.