An interview with Paul M, Account Manager at a global risk advisory firm

Age: 43

Location: Melbourne

Some people go out and grab the career that deep down they knew they always wanted. Others just fall into something. This is a story about a guy who fell into something and ended up travelling the world!

1.     What is your current role?

I'm an Account Manager at a global risk advisory firm (i.e. insurance broking).

Credit: Samuel Zeller

Credit: Samuel Zeller

2.     Tell me about your career path leading up to your current role.

Like most who end up in the insurance industry, more a combination of luck and circumstance rather than a planned decision. It was the first role that came up and that, combined with a need to save for an overseas airfare, pushed through any hesitations I may have had.

3.     What does your job involve?

As an Account Manager the role is to co-ordinate and take ownership for the overall design, placement and on-going servicing of insurance policies for corporate clients.

4.     What are your favourite aspects of the job?

Negotiating the deal always holds an attraction particularly if you achieve agreed premium and coverage outcomes.

5.     Be honest – did you know what an insurance broker was when you were in uni?

I never knew the role existed let alone what an insurance broker did. A family friend heard I was looking to get into ‘something’ and that I was still undecided on what my future career would be. He provided a somewhat glamorous description about the workings of Lloyds and the role of the insurance broker, and I was immediately hooked and took up an entry level position with his firm.

While reality never quite matches up, especially in the early years, as a career it not only paid for my overseas ticket to the UK, but ultimately provided me with the opportunity to spend 10 years working and living in Europe, Middle East and Asia.

Credit: Daryan Shamkhali

Credit: Daryan Shamkhali

6.     What type of person do you think would enjoy and do well in your role?

The role requires a broad range of skills. While there remains a need for underlying technical insurance knowledge, a significant portion of the work is time and project management, managing client expectations, and ultimately problem solving. Being a ‘generalist’ broker means I am involved in a broad range of insurance policies across a range of different industries. While there remain opportunities to specialise in particular product/industry segments or undertake more specific roles, I enjoy the diversity and challenges that comes from managing ‘the process’.

As far as key attributes, they would include:

  • an ability to remain focused
  • pay attention to the detail
  • negotiating skills and, crucially,
  • people skills in being able to engage with and obtain the trust of your client.

7.     What are your interests/projects outside of work?

Sport has always played an important role particularly while as an expat, as it offered opportunities to network outside of traditional industry functions and gatherings.

8.     What’s your advice for people who are considering a career in insurance?

Be a curious mind. Dive deeper to more fully understand the technical aspects of a particular policy or task. Look beyond the allocated task to understand why it is relevant to the overall process so you can be better prepared to complete the next step.