Although he has only been in the insurance game for seven years, Luke Chrzanowski has in fact been protecting property for a decade, as a volunteer firefighter.
The Victorian broker juggles working as an Account Manager with Tresidder Insurance Group with a role with the Country Fire Authority, and it is that drive to help others that helped secure him this year’s Warren Tickle Memorial Award.
“I really enjoy helping people,” he says.
“I dislike seeing people in situations they don’t understand or where they feel helpless. It’s my duty as a broker to use my skills and knowledge to help those who need it, even when there is absolutely nothing in it for me.”
Chrzanowski came to insurance broking through the usual path – serendipity.
“I came straight out of university with a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Finance and Financial Planning. At the time, I didn’t really want to get in to Financial Planning, but the risk side of things interested me,” he says.
“After doing some research online, a life insurance advisory position came up with a small local brokerage. I started there the week after I finished my university exams. I spent one year doing life insurance, with a little general assistance on the side.
“I was swamped with policy wordings and research, trying to juggle both general and life insurance policies, so I made the decision to stick with general.
“Seven years on, I’m now an account manager in a brokerage that looks after both SME and corporate clients, and I’m really enjoying it.”
Chrzanowski says he finds himself drawn to the broking profession because of the satisfaction he receives from guiding and servicing his clients. “For me, seeing a client have a positive experience, either with a claim or with some advice we give them, is really what keeps me motivated,” he says.
“My aim with all new clients is to get them educated on insurance, so they really understand what it is they are buying. This helps them make informed decisions about their insurances, and helps me explain covers to provide detailed advice.”
Chrzanowski has gone on to boost his formal education by graduating from Deakin last year as a Master in Insurance and Risk Management and says although that is a definite source of pride, it is helping clients with claims that provides the deepest satisfaction.
“Recently, I helped a client who had a direct claim with a gap finance insurer. I successfully negotiated an extra $5000 in settlement due to a policy wording interpretation.”
Although Chrzanowski stays motivated in his role through helping others, there is plenty in the pipeline for his own future, too. He says that, aside from building his presence within the industry and playing the role of mentor one day, he sees himself enjoying a position in leadership someday as well.
“I have three long-term goals. I’d like to have more of a profile and reputation, not only in the insurance industry, but also in my local business community. I know that to get there I just need to work hard and maintain integrity in everything that I do,” Chrzanowski says.
“I’d like to have a team of brokers that I can mentor and develop – hopefully I can add value for people and help them grow and learn about
insurance. The ultimate prize would be seeing these people become leaders and mentors for their own team of people.
“I’d like to be in control of my own destiny, and have some ‘skin the game’.”
Integrity comes first
When asked to share his thoughts on the qualities that a successful broker must possess, Chrzanowski was quick to place integrity at the top of his list of broking essentials.
“People place a huge amount of trust in brokers to get all their insurance 100% correct. They trust us to advise them on what to buy, what not to buy, which policy is the best for them but also one which is financially competitive,” Chrzanowski says.
“Many people have all their life’s work and savings invested in their businesses, or their homes.
“We as brokers must always act with our clients best interests at heart, which means having the utmost level of integrity in everything that we do.”
As his prize, Chrzanowski has won an all expenses paid business development trip to London, valued at around $10,000.