Winner to be announced at the Insurance Times Awards

The search for the IT Pack Member of the Year 2013 is coming to an end, with eight young brokers in the running for the coveted title.

With the competition now in its fifth year, Insurance Times and Aviva have once again travelled the length of the
UK to bring together some of the brightest stars in broking.

At regional events in London, Manchester, Glasgow, Birmingham and Leeds, delegates came together to discuss several hot topics that are affecting brokers as they operate in an increasingly competitive market.

Hot discussion
The debates ranged from discussing the digital age of insurance to examining how to build successful relationships between brokers and insurers.

Aviva regional leaders joined the aspiring brokers to provide insights into the future of the industry and ongoing strategic changes.

The delegates then worked together in groups to produce a presentation and were quizzed by a
tough panel of industry experts.

The judges were looking for the young brokers to demonstrate a range of skills in their presentations, including decision-making abilities, leadership skills and diplomacy.

After much deliberation, eight finalists were chosen to participate in a final task at Silverstone race track in Northamptonshire to really test their knowledge and determination to succeed. A full write-up of the event will be in the next issue of Insurance Times.

The judges are currently deciding on a winner of the IT Pack 2013, who will be revealed at the Insurance Times Awards on 3 December at London’s Battersea Evolution.

Insurance Times spoke to the IT Pack finalists to get their views on the future of the industry, the skills needed to forge a successful career, and what it would mean to them to be named IT Pack Member of the Year.

IT Pack 30 oct

Name: Jack Seton
Job title: Commercial account executive
Company: Swinton
He says: “There were times early on in my career when I thought this might not be for me, but I stuck at it and I knew deep down that it was the right decision. I started in 2004 and nine years later I’ve worked my way up the ladder. I’m happy that I’ve remained loyal to Swinton because they have supported me all the way. If I can go from selling car insurance straight out of college to winning the IT Pack Member of the Year it would really put the icing on the cake. It would be a great achievement and recognition that all my hard work has paid off.”

IT Pack 30 Oct

Name: Caroline Hanson
Job title: Portfolio management development executive
Company: Marsh
She says: “The industry is constantly changing and the kind of risk issues that companies see is certainly evolving. At the moment a lot of our customers are talking about cyber risks. The scale of this risk is unknown, both in terms of loss of a client’s own data and their customers’ data. We’re also seeing a lot of development in terms of the environment. There is a new environmental liability directive coming and many customers are asking about it - what’s their liability going to be in terms of mitigation and having to put things right if they go wrong?”

IT Pack 30 Oct

Name: Roger Darkins
Job title: SME new business account executive
Company: Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers
He says: “There are a lot of different skills you need to forge a successful career in broking. In some ways I think you need to be a jack of all trades so you are able to understand different types of products. You need to be able to knuckle down and really understand what the insurer is offering and what your client’s needs are, and [have] the awareness to bring those two things together. Alongside that you certainly need to develop good soft skills. It is essential to be able to interact well and build relationships that are going to last.”

IT Pack 30 Oct

Name: Neil Mackey
Job title: Commercial
Account executive
Company: Inspire Insurance
He says: “To be named the winner of the IT Pack 2013 would be a real confidence boost. At this important stage in my career it would mean a lot to me and it would also give me a bit more self-belief in what I’m doing. The award would really help kick-start my career. On the day I tried hard and I hope that came across. I put in 100% effort and I made
sure I tried to say something a bit different. There were a few new ideas that I introduced that made our group talk stand out among the others.”

IT Pack 30 Oct

Name: Stevie Ridgley
Job title: Commercial account handler
Company: Firth & Scott
She says: “For me, professional development is just about the most important thing. I have just been awarded a scholarship with Allianz to study for a diploma. Whether it’s studying for further Chartered Insurance Institute exams or going out and meeting people, I always have professional development in mind. It’s an industry where you can never know too much so it’s important you’re on top of your game. It’s such a competitive industry as well that things like qualifications, or competitions like the IT Pack, can really make you stand out above other people.”

IT Pack 30 Oct

Name: Gareth Cotton
Job title: Private client account executive
Company: La Playa
He says: “It was great to network with like-minded, ambitious young brokers at the IT Pack event. I’m frequently one of the younger people at networking events and that can be difficult, especially if you’re trying to be taken seriously as a young broker. It was interesting to learn about the challenges others are facing and to see how other brokers are
using technology to better their organisation and communicate with their clients. It was also comforting to realise that our practices at La Playa are quite cutting edge, particularly in the way we use social media.”

IT Pack 30 Oct

Name: Matt Smith
Job title: Account executive
Company: TL Dallas
He says: “Insurance truly is a people business. One of the key skills to succeed is the ability to communicate with people. I’m definitely optimistic about the future of the industry. I’ve only been in it for a relatively short time but I’ve noticed how things have changed. There are certainly a lot more opportunities for people coming into the industry, with increased support from insurers and brokers.
They are providing more training
schemes and apprenticeships, which will improve professional standards. It’s transforming insurance into a profession and an industry that people want to be
involved in.”

IT Pack 30 Oct

Name: Nick Mowbray
Job title: Deputy claims manager
Company: DE Ford Insurance Brokers
He says: “From a claims perspective our sector is facing a lot of challenges, particularly with issues like the vast numbers of personal injury claims and their ever-increasing complexity. There has been a big backlash against claimants’ solicitors and people can tend to tar the whole industry with the same brush. As a professional broker, maintaining our own high standards is the key. The Ministry of Justice reforms are also presenting us with some new hurdles, but we are educating our clients as best we can and making sure they’re up
to speed.”

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