Centrewest Managing Director, Western Australia Broker of the Year
MY BIGGEST STRENGTH AS A BROKER is balance. I have good technical skills, I get along with people, I can negotiate and I concentrate on what the client needs.
I GET THE MOST PRIDE when a difficult claim or placement matter requires attention and we get the problem solved. Negotiating a good outcome for your client is our job, but it is good to have the knowledge that you kept your commitment to your client.
THE MOST SATISFYING INCIDENT IN MY CAREER was buying into Centrewest in 2001. Owning a business was foreign territory to me and something I had never thought of until the opportunity arose. I was lucky to have two friends (Geoff Pratt and Joe Barbaro) as partners. That helped a lot in the evolution of Centrewest and my career.
IF I COULD GIVE ANY ADVICE TO THE REST OF THE INDUSTRY, it would be to be yourself and figure out what sort of business you want. A wise man told me: “Put culture first and everything will follow”. And insurers aren’t your enemies, they are your partners. Sometimes partnerships get strained, so be patient and forgiving.
Tony De Conno
De Conno & Blano Co-Owner, South Australia/ Northern Territory Broker of the Year
MY BIGGEST STRENGTH AS A BROKER is experience. I’ve been in the industry for 38 years and with experience comes knowing what’s important.
I GET THE MOST PRIDE out of a satisfied client. When they place business with you, they are putting trust in you. They may have $10 million worth of assets, and they trust us with an insurance policy to cover their assets. That is trust, and I think that means a hell of a lot. And that is what I take a hell of a lot of pride in.
THE MOST SATISFYING INCIDENT IN MY CAREER was selling the right travel policy cover to a customer, who ended up having to claim $2.3 million. Luckily, he had the right policy. A skiing accident in America put him in a life-or-death situation but the policy responded immediately and the medical team were able to do everything for him because they knew they were getting paid. They did everything possible to save the customer and save him they did.
East West Managing Director, Queensland Broker of the Year
MY BIGGEST STRENGTH AS A BROKER is communication. You have to be able to talk, listen and communicate with clients, evaluate what their needs are and then put that into a plan to protect them. For that plan to be effective you have to understand their business. To properly understand their business you’ve really got to be able to listen to what they are saying about their business and take an interest in that.
If you are able to do that then everything else should come easily.
I GET THE MOST PRIDE when a policy responds as it should and a client gets his claim paid and his business continues on seamlessly because of that. There is no prouder feeling as a broker. That’s gold.
THE MOST SATISFYING INCIDENT IN MY CAREER involved a claim in excess of $40 million. It was actually for the very first client I picked up as a broker in my own business. I had held on to him and worked with him for more than 25 years. He had a major asset burn down and it was just amazing to watch it be rebuilt and his loss-of-profit policy respond perfectly. I could stand back as everyone worked seamlessly to make that claim a success and put him in back in business where he needed to be.
IF I COULD GIVE ANY ADVICE TO THE REST OF THE INDUSTRY, it would be to remember that we are professionals and we are here to give advice, not compete against aggregators or ourselves. Our focus should not be on price.
AIIB Director, New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory Broker of the Year
MY BIGGEST STRENGTH AS A BROKER is flexibility. As an SME broker, one day you could be dealing with a managing director for a client with multimillion dollar turnovers and branches all around Australia and the next day you could be dealing with a one-person show whose business serves a local area only. You need to be flexible in the way you approach these people individually and deal with them in the way they prefer.
I GET THE MOST PRIDE out of meeting a new client and finding areas of non- or underinsurance and helping them rectify that. When you see those recommendations work for the event of a large loss, it gives a great deal of satisfaction. You have helped that client survive financially because you took the time to do the job right for them.
THE MOST SATISFYING INCIDENT IN MY CAREER was the launch of my book on insurance for SME business owners, Risk Your Business, Risk Your Life. I was sick of seeing business owners making the same mistakes with their insurance over and over again. I’m happy to say this book has gone on to help lots of SME business owners since its release in 2009 and it has also helped many young brokers coming into our industry to get a basic understanding of business insurance.
IF I COULD GIVE ANY ADVICE TO THE REST OF THE INDUSTRY, it would be to be proud of what we do and the service we provide to our community and clients. We, as a profession, have helped and saved so many business owners over the years who, without us there to help them would not be in the same position financially.