I currently work for CHU Underwriting Agencies where I have been for more than 12 years. While working at CHU, I have had the opportunity to work in many locations across the country. I have previously worked at CHU in Adelaide for 9 years in various positions, starting as a Trainee Customer Service Officer, Business Development Manager, Business Support Manager and finally Branch Manager. After receiving a promotion, I then relocated to QLD to take the role of manager of the Queensland and Northern Territory branches.
I am now making another move as I relocate to Sydney in March to take up the position of Manager of the NSW and ACT CHU branches.
Whilst working at CHU, the organisation and my various managers have always been encouraging and supportive with my studies. I initially completed my Cert IV and Diploma in General Insurance with ANZIIF and as my career progressed, I then completed my MBA in June 2017.
WHAT DOES YOUR CURRENT ROLE ENTAIL?
As a State Manager, I am responsible for the entire portfolio of business, including the staff that service the portfolio and the intermediaries who are our key customers. This basically means that the branch runs like its own business. We service three different distribution channels, 75% broker, 20% authorised representative and 5% direct to the public. Within each state branch we have customer service, underwriting and claims teams.
I’m responsible for achieving premium budgets but also profitability of the overall portfolio within my branch. In essence, my role is a relationship management role that sees me manage internal stakeholders, external clients as well as relationships with industry bodies.
What do you love most about your job?
Variety is definitely the thing I enjoy most about my role. Because the branch runs like its own little business, I am able to get involved in just about everything.
I also love the culture at CHU. It is a great company to work for which is why I have there so long. It is an organisation that truly values its staff and is rewarded with high employee engagement.
YOU WON THE 2017 ANZIIF YOUNG INSURANCE PROFESSIONAL OF THE YEAR AWARD, HOW IMPORTANT ARE AWARDS RECOGNISING YOUNG PROFESSIONALS AND HOW HAS THIS HELPED YOUR CAREER?
Truthfully, I was quite anxious about entering as I've always deliberately flown under the radar, so it really was a big step outside my comfort zone to put myself in front of a panel of judges.
It was a great opportunity to spend time reflecting on my career so far as well as where I see myself going in the next few years. It is not often you take a moment to really reflect or to plan.It would be great to be seen as a role model for young professionals and winning something like this might highlight the possibilities of the industry to the next generation of school leavers and graduates.
Since winning the award, I have been invited to do several speaking engagements, from Women in Strata, to industry specialist segments at insurance and strata forums to the Rising Stars in Insurance Seminar events being held by ANZIIF.
YOU ARE PARTICIPATING IN THE 2018 ANZIIF RISING STARS IN INSURANCE SEMINAR, WHAT ADVICE CAN YOU GIVE PEOPLE THINKING ABOUT JOINING THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY?
My advice to newcomers to the industry would be to find the really experienced and knowledgeable people within your business or network and learn as much from them as you possibly can. There is a wealth of experience in our industry which will be lost as the baby boomers retire. Much of what they have to offer can't be replicated by systems. Just listen and learn and work really hard.
My final point would be that there is no need to jump from employer to employer looking for small increments of growth. Look for opportunities to develop and extend yourself within your current role. As long as you are still learning and getting opportunities for professional development, you are in a good position.
I would encourage people to speak openly with their managers about their careers aspirations, as this will open a dialogue about how you can achieve your goals and your areas for improvement. The industry is hungry for talented individuals so if you are excelling, opportunities will present themselves.
To hear more from other inspiring young insurance professionals about their careers and leadership insights around what they believe are the behaviours, attitudes and work patterns that characterise career resilience, register to attend ANZIIF’s Rising Stars in Insurance Seminar that will be held in Sydney on 19 March and Melbourne on 20 March.