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Equipped for the future Believes in brokers: QBE's Jason Clarke

QBE’s broker education scheme is celebrating a decade of sharing skills, but the journey is far from over By John Deex QBE’S EQUIP BROKER TRAINING program has helped progress the skills of about 500 brokers – with many going on to extremely successful careers. The respected scheme celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, but the appetite to assist mainly younger brokers remains strong. Equally strong is the desire from brokers to take part. QBE’s Executive General Manager Intermediary Distribution Jason Clarke tells Insurance News the scheme spun out of discussions between the insurer and the National Insurance Brokers Association (NIBA). “About 11 years ago we sat down with NIBA and started talking about how we could attract younger brokers to NIBA, and whether we could sponsor brokers to join,” he says. “Then we started to think about whether we could actually help educate these younger brokers. “Some of the skills we require at QBE could be useful for the brokers too, and assist their professional development.” About 50 brokers complete the yearlong course annually. The program comprises three parts: leadership skills, business acumen, and sales and relationship management. Traditionally, participants had to be nominated by a manager, and then a selec76

tion process from the roughly 140 nominations would take place. “This year there has been more of an understanding of who we deal with and who we can help develop,” Mr Clarke says. “There has been more emphasis on selection.” Initially, the scheme was targeted at non-international brokers, but that has changed and some are included now. It also had an age limit of 35, but again this has been widened. “People much older than that have gone through it and benefitted a lot.” Mr Clarke believes that while other insurers offer broker training, it tends to be more technical and aimed at senior people. “I don’t think there is another program like this,” he says. To mark the anniversary, QBE carried out a survey of alumni to track career progression and understand the benefits of the scheme. Almost all (98%) say they would recommend it to colleagues, with 90% saying it increased their confidence and 72% saying attending the course led to more opportunities. About 88% say the program has helped their career development. The results also show alumni are in more senior positions and earn more money. Most participants had a salary in the $60,000-$80,000 bracket when they took part in the course, but the most common salary now is $140,000-plus. Midland Insurance Brokers Managing Director Terry Lane says his company is indebted to QBE for providing the program. “Equip has improved the confidence of our staff with the clear thinking and presentation skills provided throughout the course,” he says. insuranceNEWS

August/September 2017

“It also provided valuable information on how insurance companies operate and their methodology in establishing rates for risks to be insured.” Keith Roderick of Roderick Insurance Brokers says staff from his business found the program very rewarding. “Giving young people the opportunity to be involved at this level is a fantastic initiative from QBE.” Mr Clarke says the course demonstrates QBE’s commitment to educating and increasing the professionalism of up and coming industry participants. “We believe in the value brokers add to the insurance industry and are committed to helping them grow their skills and further their careers,” he says. “[The program] helps them develop, and hopefully helps them stay in the industry. “A lot of brokers who went through the course in the early stages are principals or senior managers now. “It gives our own people a closer relationship with people who will become senior brokers, and it helps the brokers understand the drivers from an insurance company perspective. “It gives them an understanding of why we ask the questions we do.” He believes Equip has many successful years ahead. “The insurance market is changing now and there is potential for further change in the future. “As we move forward, what we deliver, and how we deliver it, will change and programs such as this, where we are connecting with brokers, help. The content will need to be refreshed, but we are absolutely committed to the intent behind it.” Those wishing to participate in future intakes of Equip should speak with their * QBE business relationship managers.

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