"I was always curious about joining the industry"

"I was always curious about joining the industry"

“I was always curious about joining the industry” | Insurance Business New Zealand

Insurance News

“I was always curious about joining the industry”

Insurance broker talks about what he considers an amazing sector

Insurance News

Terry Gangcuangco

Not many have an idea of – let alone an interest in – what it’s like working in insurance. In William Parker’s (pictured) case, he was no stranger to the industry, having a parent who co-founded a brokerage about three decades ago.

Here the Hurford Parker Insurance Brokers director and executive broker talks about his journey and what he thinks is lacking when it comes to attracting people into the sector.

“I was always curious about joining the industry – my father founded the business, and so I wanted to try it,” Parker, who initially worked at the Hawke’s Bay-based firm while at university, told Insurance Business. “I was pleasantly surprised, when I got into it, how much I liked it.

“I was unsure, but when I got into it I really liked it, and I think that’s common across a lot of people – once they’re in it, they tend to stay because it is a very enjoyable sector. I have worked for three of the largest insurance brokers in Australia, London, and New Zealand, and then decided to come back into the family business.”

So, what is it about insurance that Parker wants more people to appreciate?

“Insurance stimulates the economy because, without insurance, businesses can’t get lending, because obviously the banks require insurance,” he said. “So, you’re a really important piece, which I find exciting.

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“I feel that clients really value their insurance broking relationship because we help them, and I think that piece has been at the centre of a need – that businesses need insurance. It’s really helping them through a difficult situation. We’re able, as an industry, to give back, and I think that’s really awesome.”

In Parker’s view, insurance is a sector that has everything, from a role perspective. However, something’s lacking in terms of the ‘getting there’ part of it.

“I think the problem is, in New Zealand, there hasn’t been a clear educational pathway into insurance,” he told Insurance Business. “We’re one of the major financial sectors, along with the banks and accountancy, etc. There’s a clear educational pathway and degrees specifically for some of those sectors, whereas with insurance, as we all know, people are falling into the industry.

“I think with providing a pathway through education, we might start getting more graduates looking at insurance as a career. I think the industry is going to reach its potential when people choose insurance rather than just falling into it.”

Parker went on to say: “It’s an amazing sector because it’s got everything – it’s got the relationship-building side; it’s got the technical side around understanding policies. So, it’s really got everything that you want out of a role. It would be a great role for a lot of people, but people don’t choose it as a career.”

The executive broker, however, conceded that his chosen profession might not be a good fit for some.

“One of the biggest challenges for a broker is you are pulled in all different directions, and it’s not for everyone,” Parker said. “Some people struggle with the hustle-bustle nature of being a broker. You’re literally learning every day; there’s always something that you’re learning because it’s always changing.

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“You’ve got legislation changes, and you’re having to handle your business as usual. And then you’ve got claims, but then you’ve also got natural disasters that can occur. So, the industry can be highly stressful, especially as a broker, or a claims handler for an insurance company. So, I think you’ve got to go with your eyes open…”

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