Insurance Times and Aviva have fired the starting gun in their search for this year’s IT Pack member of the year – and a Marsh executive has made a strong start in the first of six regional events

The 2013 IT Pack competition is now well under way, as Insurance Times and Aviva embark on their nationwide search to track down the rising stars of the broking profession.

The first of six regional events took place in London on 2 July. Some of the city’s most promising young brokers heard from industry experts, as well as competing in a group challenge to debate the digital age of insurance.

Marsh portfolio management development executive Caroline Hanson was the stand-out performer on the day. She secured herself a place in the finale - to be held in October - where she will compete for the title of IT Pack member of the year and has the chance to win £1,000 in high-street vouchers.

Aviva UK head of performance management and marketing Clark Ross said: “Caroline shone out during the day through several well-articulated questions, and delivered a clear knowledge of the theme.

“As well as being a strong contributor and communicator in the group session, she showed a diplomatic leadership approach, encouraging healthy debate and listening in the team.

“The judges also felt compelled to recognise Gareth Cotton from La Playa, who shone out on the day,” he said.

Networking gains

Recalling the day’s activities, Hanson said she enjoyed the day’s networking opportunities with other young brokers.

“Typically, there’s a mindset about broking being an industry for older people, so it’s nice to associate with like-minded younger people and see that we’re all facing similar challenges,” she said.

I have had interactions with key people that I may not have had without taking part in the programme

Mark David Love, 2012 winner

Last year’s winner, Kwik-Fit Insurance account manager for business development Mark David Love, won the competition following a closely fought contest in the kitchen.

As part of a pressure cooker challenge, finalists worked together to cook a three-course meal for 16 people, while also demonstrating their leadership and communication skills.

Winning experience

Love said the main benefit of the IT Pack was the “opportunity to meet like-minded young brokers and to share knowledge and best practice in an informal environment”.

“Winning the event was a humbling experience. The calibre of the other candidates was so high,” he said.

“It was something very different from the normal everyday business I’m engaged in, definitely outside my comfort zone, but an incredibly enjoyable and memorable experience.

“Taking part in the event has created an interesting talking point when meeting new people in the industry, and I’ve found that holding the title of IT Pack member of the year has increased my profile to a point where people know who I am before I meet them.

“I have had interactions with key people at high levels in the industry that I may not have had without taking part in the programme.”

If you’ve got what it takes to be the IT Pack member of the year, or you know someone who has, enter online now.

Young brokers can nominate themselves - or be nominated by their bosses - by going to the Insurance Times website at
insurancetimes.co.uk/home/the-it-pack.

Oamps innovation and product development director Paul Beck

Oamps innovation and product development director Paul Beck

Q&A Paul Beck, Oamps

The innovation and product development director had plenty to contribute to IT Pack discussions, as Jessica Reid reports

What challenges do small brokers face?

As a small broker, it’s difficult to find the clout with insurance companies to maximise the opportunities for your clients. If you only have a small book
of business, it’s hard to talk to the people at the right level to build that business up.

What will broking look like in future?

The easier insurance is to place, the more likely it is to be on the internet. I think the future of broking is in specialism or niche, and offering something that the guy down the street or the internet cannot. You’ve also got to have relationships with clients who respect the value
of speaking to an individual and not necessarily being online.

Is it a growing trend for brokers to set up online trading on their website?

Yes. With micro-SME, there are two ways of doing it: put it on a website or don’t touch it at all. But there are risks with the website - as a broker, there are still exception requests, and there’s a risk to PI if a client lies or fails to accurately disclose facts.

How can smaller brokers get the training they need?

If you don’t have a structured programme in-house, tap into your private insurers and see what programmes they offer - usually, they have room to put on one or two brokers. If not, speak to your local Chartered Insurance Institute, as they have a big budget for personal development.