At the top of his game — Tim Wedlock

By Susan Muldowney — ANZIIF Writer | 10 Apr 2019
  • General Insurance
  • Insurance Broking
  • Reinsurance
  • Risk Management
  • Claims

Tim Wedlock joined the insurance industry because he wanted to help people and this unwavering focus has been the secret to his success. 

Throughout a career that has spanned more than three decades, Wedlock’s achievements have been recognised through numerous industry accolades and his work is underpinned by the values he believes all insurance professionals should embrace: trust, honesty and integrity.

In addition to his current role as Managing Director of AEI, Wedlock has been President of the National Insurance Brokers Association (NIBA) and was awarded the NSW Qualified Practicing Insurance Broker of the Year award in 2004 and 2009. 

He was also awarded the Don Watson Memorial Award in 2014 for outstanding contribution to the transport and logistics industry. A career highlight came last year when he was named ANZIIF’s Insurance Leader of the Year.

‘Nothing replaces that highlight,’ says Wedlock. ‘I couldn't be more humbled.’

Putting customers first

Wedlock’s passion for the insurance profession is undeniable. He was introduced to insurance by his uncle, who was one of the founders of Sydney based brokerage Australian European Insurance (now Austbrokers AEI Group) and says he has never looked back.

After an initial role in reinsurance, he moved into insurance broking account executive and management positions before stepping into the role of NIBA President from 2017-19.

His passion for the profession is reinforced by a desire to provide the very best service for customers.

‘Personally, looking after people during their renewals or claims and working with underwriters brings me a great sense of satisfaction because we are ultimately a people business,’ he says. ‘People are at the centre of what we do and we must never lose sight of that.’

As a former President of NIBA, Wedlock represented the industry at the highest levels, including at Senate committee inquiries on matters such as aggregator models and flood cover. He was also committed to grass-roots industry engagement.

‘In my role of NIBA president, I went all around Australia talking to different brokers about how they work with their customers,’ he says. ‘There was a huge buzz about the role they play as trusted advisors. When I'm out socially, I talk very proudly about what we do.’

Building trust in the community

Wedlock says the findings from the recent Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry will continue to allow standards to improve. However, he stresses that insurance professionals must focus on promoting trust and understanding.. 

However, he stresses that insurers must focus on promoting trust and understanding.

‘I think insurance is misunderstood because you've got broking, underwriting, life and risk, all wrapped up under one banner,’ he says.

‘In the old days, the insurance salesman was completely different to what our insurance offers today. Brokers are doing a great service for the retail space and the wholesale space and in particular, the customers in the small business area. 

'If it weren’t for insurance brokers helping to protect [customers], working with the underwriters to keep their pricing right and, most importantly, being there in the event of claims, then we don't believe that the direct consumers would get the same level of service.

‘We need to promote the good that we do so that people understand that when they’re dealing with a Qualified Practicing Insurance Broker (QPIB) who has eminent standards of education, they are working with a professional who is committed to giving them the right advice.’

raising the bar

Wedlock also believes in raising the bar of industry education.

‘This was something [NIBA] was working on with ASIC prior to the Royal Commission,’ he says. ‘A Tier One minimum standard is not sufficient. 

'We need to see Diploma of Insurance Broking as a minimum and then see if that should go even further. Organisations like ANZIIF have been a very big part of our education chain and we look forward to making sure we can continue that.’

Many people fall into a career in insurance, however Wedlock is committed to promoting the profession as a smart career choice. This often involves challenging perceptions of what insurance is really about.

‘I’ve had opportunities to speak at a careers expos and I’ve asked students and teachers what a career in insurance might look like,’ he says.

‘They picture people sitting behind a computer and selling things. They don’t fully understanding that it's all about understanding people's businesses and risk appetite.

'I give them examples of where insurance is involved in emerging areas such as cyber security and show them videos of the kinds of things the industry is doing in this space. It has just blown them away.’

Leading by example

Wedlock believes industry leaders must be active in promoting the profession to attract new talent.

‘There is so much that’s great about working in this profession,’ he says.

‘We need to be promoting on-the-job education, the variety of career paths, global travel opportunities and the way insurance looks after families, businesses and economies.’

Wedlock admires leader who show respect and integrity. They are qualities reflected in his own leadership style.

‘At the moment, we're going through a hardening market cycle, and it’s not as easy for brokers to negotiate,’ he says. 

‘However, you've got to still have a level of respect and integrity in how you conduct yourself because when things turn, people have long memories. 

'Be prepared to invest in the little things, like thanking your underwriting partners for quotes if they're not successful and working with them in a way that's going to make them want to do business with you.’

These same values must be applied to customers, says Wedlock.

‘You need to make sure you communicate with them and that you're there for them through claims as well as their business negotiations. People are the most important part of our business.’

Don't miss out on the opportunity to celebrate insurance industry success stories. The Australian Insurance Industry Awards are open for submissions. Hurry, the closing date is Monday 6 May.

Picture: Tim Wedlock receives his award from ANZIIF CEO Prue Willsford

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