In announcing the finalists of the ANZIIF Insurance Industry Awards, CEO Prue Willsford always makes sure to thank the panel of judges in Australia and New Zealand who volunteer their time each year to assess the submissions.
PRIVILEGE TO SERVE
Karen Stevens, New Zealand’s Insurance & Financial Services Ombudsman, has been a member of the panel of judges for the awards for the past eight years.
‘I feel very privileged to be a judge for the New Zealand Industry Awards,’ Stevens says.
‘Each time, I find it equally interesting to find out what has been achieved in the last year across the insurance industry.
‘While it is a lot of work, I have a huge level of satisfaction when the last category has been marked and submitted.’
A DIFFICULT TASK
Stevens says the high quality in certain categories this year made judging them difficult – particularly in the general insurance category.
‘The finalists are to be congratulated for their contribution to making the insurance industry better for New Zealanders,’ she says.
William Legge, General Manager, Underwriting Agencies Council, is a long-time judge for the Australian Insurance Industry Awards.
Like Stevens, he really enjoys the role.
‘Being a judge helps me obtain a sense of the feel of the industry today,’ he shares.
‘It also gives me a first-hand insight into people embarking on careers in this exciting and economically important industry.’
HEED THE FEEDBACK
Legge says the overall quality of submissions was good, although some individual entries ‘would do well to heed the feedback that will be provided’.
‘With structured award requirements, it is vital to read each question, answer the question, show your response in the same order as the question, and don’t exceed the word count,’ he says.
‘Take the time to consider the important points you want to communicate to the judges.’
He adds that as a finalist, you are among the ‘cream of the crop’.
‘Choosing finalists is a difficult task and it is rewarding for all of us to have such a diverse judging panel,’ he says.
‘This enables all the judging criteria to be thoroughly discussed as differing viewpoints are brought forward.’
PROBLEM SOLVING DURING COVID
In light of the current COVID situation, the 2021 Australian awards presentation will not proceed as planned.
Rather, winners will be announced via a free-to-view online movie production on Tuesday 26 October.
‘The fact these awards are being held despite the crippling pandemic, embodies the message that life goes on,’ Legge asserts.
He argues that the insurance industry is far too important to the economy to allow standards to slip and for goals, both business and personal, to be lowered.
‘We all need to keep striving for excellence and rewarding those that achieve it is beneficial for the industry,’ he says.
Karen Stevens agrees that the industry awards are important to celebrate.
'Great work is being done in incredibly challenging circumstances,’ she points out.
‘It would be good to see more organisations take part across the whole industry.’
Willsford also congratulated the finalists for displaying excellence and professionalism despite the challenges.
‘While it would have been lovely to frock up and celebrate the Australian Industry Awards, it is just not possible,’ she says.
‘So in 2021, a professionally produced online movie will celebrate the achievements of Australian individuals and companies, and their contribution to raising the standards in the insurance and financial services industry.’
The New Zealand Industry awards presentation will go ahead as scheduled, Wednesday 17 November 2021 in Auckland.
Image Caption: Prue Willsford, ANZIIF CEO, addresses the 2019 New Zealand Insurance Industry Awards.