Insurance Business NZ Young Guns 2021

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Young GUNS 2021

IBNZ celebrates the most promising young talent bringing fresh ideas, innovation and energy to the insurance sector



Feature article ..............................................


Methodology ................................................ 3 Young Guns 2021 ......................................... 5 Profiles .......................................................... 6 Young Guns 2020 ........................................ 9



New generation leads the way forward SPEAK TO any insurance recruitment professional and you will likely hear the same story – very few young people have ever ‘planned’ for a career in insurance. The difficulty of attracting new talent into the insurance industry has been discussed at length at panels and industry events throughout the world. Replacing insurance professionals as quickly as they retire has proven to be a constant challenge. But despite this ongoing struggle to recruit fresh faces, the bright side of the story is constantly told by brokers, underwriters, senior managers and others in the industry. Those who enter the insurance space overwhelmingly discover a passion for the

sector and grow to appreciate the role it plays in the communities it serves, as well as the opportunities it offers for professional and personal growth – as a result, it has created a ‘forever career’ for many young newcomers. The Insurance Business Young Guns list was first published in New Zealand in 2018 and aims to recognise the young talent making a splash in the insurance industry. The popular annual list highlights the impressive achievements of the sector’s up-and-comers, many of whom have gone on to become respected leaders and innovators within their organisations. The Young Guns 2021 list includes a mix of underwriters, insurance brokers, directors

Those who enter the insurance space overwhelmingly discover a passion for the sector and appreciate the role it plays within the communities it serves





and claims managers, and this year’s winners already have some impressive achievements under their belts. Young Gun Ryan Mulder of Quantum Finance was highlighted by his manager for building up a significant book of business from scratch in just three years with no prior insurance experience. He also created a simplified customer service and insurance onboarding process, and the results speak for themselves: Mulder’s client retention rate sits at an impressive 99%, and his figures were on track to increase by 40% by the end of the last year. Another star on the 2021 list is Marc Casey, Gallagher Bassett’s New Zealand

motor operations manager, who conducted a full-scale review of his company’s claims assessment processes, targeting areas of inefficiency and coming up with improvements. As a result, Casey managed to reduce the turnaround times for claims assessments by 11.6%, increase efficiency by 60%, and improve client satisfaction levels. New client figures also shot up by 40%, an increase that his nominator directly attributed to the efforts of this Young Gun. Nominees’ contributions to the insurance sector in the form of education and support for their fellow professionals, was seen by their colleagues as a valued area of focus. The majority of this year’s winners have been involved in mentoring in some capacity and offer educational resources to their

by the brokerage Citylink and Lloyd’s in the UK. Gowing’s student ended up conducting a presentation for a mix of industry professionals and was placed in the top three of their scheme. Meanwhile, TLC Insurance general manager Andrew Reid has crafted a role for himself in educating brokers outside TLC on the benefits of being insured through a specialist underwriting agency. According to his nominator, he is “in the process of developing a virtual engagement plan, which he plans to use to be able to contact all brokers across the country and at one point in time, introducing them to the products on offer by TLC Insurance and providing them with valuable training opportunities”.

The insurance sector offers the opportunity to make a meaningful impact on the lives of customers – something highly valued by today’s young people colleagues, clients and others outside of their organisations. AIG senior underwriter Grace Mason was one such winner and has charted an impressive career path, rising quickly through the insurer’s ranks off the back of its graduate program. She was described by her nominator as “a mentor and trainer to a level well beyond her years to other team members who are learning to navigate these complex and ever-changing areas of the financial market”. Alex Gowing, client executive at Marsh JLT Speciality, was highlighted for his mentoring work as part of the Lloyd’s IntoWork Mentoring program organised

When it comes to each winner’s future in the insurance industry, their drive to remain working in the sector, become an expert in a particular field, and build up the general public’s awareness and positive perception of insurance were the most commonly held goals. A number of this year’s Young Guns have already overhauled their organisations’ processes, introduced improvements and increased client numbers as a result, and the dedication of each individual to their own professional progress is clear. Almost every winner was focused on maintaining their insurance knowledge and professional growth, with many developing specific career plans for the next several

METHODOLOGY In February 2021, Insurance Business New Zealand invited professionals from across the insurance sector to nominate their most exceptional young talent for the fourth annual Young Guns list. Nominees needed to be aged 35 or under (on 31 March 2021) and working in a role that related to, interacted with or in some way impacted the general insurance industry. Aspiring winners must also have committed to a career in insurance with a clear passion for the industry, and in order to maintain a focus on new talent, they must never have previously been recognised in a Young Guns list. Over 50 nominations were received between 1 and 26 February 2021, encompassing young professionals working in a wide range of insurance and broking roles across New Zealand. Ages ranged from 20 to 35 with an average age of 30, and approximately 54% of nominees were male, while 46% were female. Nominees were asked about their current role in the insurance sector, their key achievements, career goals, and their contribution to the shaping of the industry. Recommendations from managers and senior industry professionals were also taken into account. By the end of the judging process, the Insurance Business team narrowed the list down to 22 of the sector’s most outstanding young professionals, producing the highly anticipated Young Guns 2021 list.









years. Every name on the list has completed or is in the process of completing their Level 5 Certificate in Financial Services. Commenting on his young colleague’s future in the insurance space, the individual nominating Insurance Underwriters NZ’s Derek Leung noted that he “maintains a Professional Development Plan which is used to develop and upskill knowledge and expose him to different aspects of the insurance industry and business operations”. “Derek is a key player and role model for doing things right,” they said. “For Derek, this means being properly qualified to provide financial advice, be in charge of his own professional development through relevant courses, workshops and professional development days. This ensures that the


insurance industry’s reputation is protected, and further promoted consumers’ trust and perception of the industry as a whole.” Pinnacle Life’s Amy Cavanaugh was praised for her “leading role” in disrupting an industry that is often viewed as “mature and stagnant”. “She has played a key leading role in enabling Pinnacle Life to demonstrate that it is possible to prioritise meeting regulatory requirements without destabilising or compromising on achieving business results,” her colleague said. “Amy says it doesn’t matter that Pinnacle is a relatively small business. If we can be on customers’ radar, then, in turn, they will ask the bigger players to change; if we demonstrate what good is, customers will ask for the same from other providers.” Another feature that stands out in this year’s pool of Young Guns is the wide range of specialties being pursued, with each individual’s interest captured by a different area of insurance. The list includes young professionals looking to specialise in rural insurance, heavy machinery cover, the insurance advice process, financial lines, commercial broking, and many other areas. Reflecting on the submissions for this year’s list, it is clear that the industry is filled with passionate, dedicated young people looking to make a true impact within their field. As a career path, the insurance sector offers the opportunity to make a meaningful impact on the lives of customers – something highly valued by today’s young people and which has encouraged many a newcomer to build a long and successful career in the industry. While the challenges of attracting a new generation into insurance will undoubtedly persist for some time yet, the strength, calibre and dedication of the professionals on the Insurance Business Young Guns 2021 list is a solid indicator that the future of the industry is in good hands.

Young GUNS


Amy Cavanaugh General manager operations Pinnacle Life

Jaspal (Jaz) Dosanjh Director and financial adviser JD LIFE

Ryan Mulder Commercial insurance adviser Quantum F&G Limited

Telephone: 0800 22 22 23 Email: Website:

Telephone: 027 385 8666 Email: Website:

Telephone: 022 0800 747 Email: Website:

Andrew Reid General manager TLC Insurance Limited

Marc Casey Operations manager – motor Gallagher Bassett

Stacy Gould Underwriting relationship manager QBE Insurance

Telephone: 0274 555 504 Email: Website:

Telephone: 0508 333 999 Email: Website:

Telephone: 021 2217 761 Email: Website:

Alex Gowing Client executive Marsh JLT Specialty Amanda Mulcahy Claims consultant team leader FMG Insurance Darcy Hughes Risk advisor Marsh Limited Derek Leung Underwriter Insurance Underwriters (NZ) Ltd Grace Mason Senior underwriter AIG Insurance New Zealand

Joanne Rawson Personal lines/claims manager Nelson Marlborough Insurance Brokers

Ted Du Insurance broker Bridges Insurance Services

Julia Vahry Director Vahry Insurance

Thomas Cowley Financial lines and casualty claims examiner Chubb Insurance New Zealand

Karen Williams Broker technician Matt Jensen Insurance Brokers Peter Stone Director/insurance adviser Obsidian Insurance Limited Reilly Price Director Business Insurance Limited Rhys Evans Commercial manager FMG Insurance

Josh Cuttance Registered financial adviser Share NZ Liberty Newlands Senior underwriter Zurich New Zealand Chantal Tawhai Corporate accident and health manager Chubb



YOUNG GUNS 2021 MARC CASEY Motor operations manager Gallagher Bassett


s motor operations manager at Gallagher Bassett, it is Marc Casey’s job to lead, advise and support the firm’s motor assessing team. He is in charge of the overall planning and implementation of business-as-usual assessing strategies, including ensuring a compliant, profitable and professional business unit operation, and providing oversight and input into the capability and personal development of his team. Casey joined GB in October 2019 and has since worked directly with its clients to tailor service excellence to specific customer needs, putting assessors on the ground at the right locations to provide a personal touch, alleviate the stress of a claim, and deliver a rapid response. One of Casey’s key achievements was the implementation of a full operational review of the entire motor claim and assessing process. The initiative resulted in a -11.6% reduction in turnaround time for assessments, a 60% gain in the utilisation of resources, plus improvements in service levels and increased client satisfaction. The review also identified how to manage GB’s non-customer-facing administration work more efficiently. Another of Casey’s accomplishments was the creation of up-to-date training material across motor for the assessing team. Casey “has been instrumental in completely revitalising our motor claims experience for both clients and customers”, says Steven Walsh, chief client officer. “The team consistently receives accolades and compliments from our clients, and as a result we have seen a significant increase in new business, which Marc has been instrumental in delivering on.”

JASPAL (JAZ) DOSANJH Director and financial adviser JD LIFE


aspal Dosanjh oversees a team of financial advisers, programmers, administration and the telemarketing team at JD LIFE. He enjoys the thrill of having discussions around insurance and helping people set up a plan to protect what’s most important to them. He makes it his mission to enable his clients to attain better insurance policy terms and to assist them come claim time. “My role stimulates me in two ways,” says Dosanjh. “Firstly, I’m having great conversations with amazing people. Secondly, it’s great exploring comprehensive solutions to ensure that you and your family are protected in an affordable way that fits the budget. Having clients who become friends knowing that they now have good cover in place so their families won’t suffer any more than they have to is a real passion of mine.” Dosanjh has entrepreneurship coursing through his veins. He completed his Bachelor of Commerce degree at Otago University, then took up three master’s degrees – all pivoting around the business dynamic. When Dosanjh established JD LIFE at a young age, the firm started initially helping clients with their risk insurance and over time diversified into offering a seamless holistic approach, advising additionally on KiwiSaver, mortgages, asset finance, house, car and contents insurance. As he leads JD LIFE in stepping up its game further, Dosanjh plans to purchase insurance books of business, hire additional insurance advisers, and welcome the firm’s first additional mortgage adviser. He also looks forward to the potential franchising of the brand.


AMY CAVANAUGH General manager of operations Pinnacle Life


my Cavanaugh is driven by her desire to shift assumptions and remove lethargy around life insurance and Kiwi financial literacy. She aspires to lead the industry in doing things differently, working in executive and governance roles to drive better customer outcomes while achieving better business results. At Pinnacle Life, Cavanaugh provides technical expertise and leadership to ensure optimal business performance, and her role includes overseeing finance, risk, HR, supplier/contract arrangements and technology management. With a focus on expanding Pinnacle’s risk management framework in an evolving regulatory environment, she has demonstrated that it is possible to meet regulatory requirements without compromising business results. “What Amy enjoys most is navigating the company through regulatory change (such as FSLAA and Conduct and Culture) with no disruption to the business while delivering positive benefits to customers,” says Jane Barron, marketing manager. Cavanaugh recently developed a first-of-its-kind digital tool in New Zealand that provides personalised life insurance advice online. She says the Pinnacle Life Digital Advice platform will make financial literacy accessible to everyone. She spearheaded Pinnacle’s entry into digital advice by applying for an exemption from the Financial Market Authority. Meanwhile, her leadership helped improve online buying for customers by ‘bundling’ life cover with other riders, such as trauma cover, disability cover and income protection, into a single policy.

ANDREW REID General manager TLC Insurance


ndrew Reid is responsible for overseeing all areas of TLC Insurance, from managing the connection between its underwriting and claims team, to creating new partnerships with its broker network, to developing new methods to communicate the agency’s products to the market. Reid also served as a project manager tasked with searching for a suitable underwriting partner for the agency’s mobile plant and commercial motor offering, and now manages the relationship between TLC and its new strategic partner, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance. Armed with talent, commitment, and an excellent work ethic, Reid has proven himself in the short time he has been at TLC. Reid joined the company in June 2020, bringing with him a specialist heavy machinery/contractors’ plant insurance background, which has benefited TLC as it continues to develop in its chosen industry niche. “I am delighted with Andrew’s specialist knowledge, ability to manage a team, and his dedication and commitment to get the job done,” says Keith Penny, TLC managing director. “This has seen Andrew very quickly develop into his current role as general manager, with other opportunities looming for his development in the not-too-distant future.” A member of Young Insurance Professionals since 2018, Reid aims to expand TLC’s reach and educate more brokers on the benefits of being insured through a specialist heavy machinery underwriting agency. He is currently developing a virtual engagement plan to educate brokers on the features and benefits of TLC’s products and offer them valuable training opportunities.




Domestic and commercial insurance adviser Quantum Finance


tilising his business insight, along with his passion for helping others, Ryan Mulder has managed to gain the trust of many business owners throughout New Zealand. In just over three years, the Waikato-based financial adviser has built a book of domestic and commercial insurance business, from scratch, to $740,000 in gross written premiums. When tasked with creating standard operating procedures compliant with new legislation, his goal was to simplify the insurance onboarding and customer service process. This simple process meant he successfully achieved a 99% client-retention rate. Equipped with an outstanding ability to easily connect with clients, and an in-depth knowledge of the industry, Mulder is on track to increase his current book by another 40% in the year ahead. “Ever since Ryan stepped into our office three and a half years ago, he has proven himself to be a valuable member of the Quantum Finance Group,” says director Lincoln Davie. “His compassionate and caring nature allows him to easily aid business owners to understand their current insurance, whilst providing an unbiased and honest opinion. The trust that he builds with clients obviously shows with the amazing growth of his book as well as client retention rates.” Mulder’s next career goal? To revolutionise the way the adviser industry interacts with its clients. He wants to create the most effective, customer-focused advisory, integrating expert advice and the speed of modern technology to make insurance easy for clients.


Underwriting relationship manager for distribution QBE Insurance


tacy Gould is a 12-year underwriting veteran on a mission to build champion teams with heart, and a passion for helping other young professionals achieve their goals. As part of the QBE NZ Business Leadership Team, she acts as a senior relationship partner with intermediaries, to focus on profitability, growth and market representation, while managing one of the insurance giant’s largest portfolios and teams in New Zealand. Gould has been a keen mentor to many young professionals at QBE and in the wider market, and continues to be involved in the organisation of networking events. In her three years as vice president of Young Insurance Professionals Inc (YIPS NZ), she helped work on a number of initiatives for young professionals to find their feet in the industry. These included co-ordinating the inaugural (and subsequent years) YIPS NZ Professional One Day Conference. The country girl who has “fallen into insurance” now wants to give the youth an opportunity to also find their place. “I am in the process of designing and implementing a ‘grad-type’ program aimed at schools and universities to bring insurance to the forefront of career choices,” says Gould. “[It aims to] show those students the opportunities available in the market, whilst bringing fresh generations through and allowing them to decide to make insurance a career, rather than everyone falling into it.” Gould was a finalist for the ANZIIF Young Insurance Professional of the Year award in 2019, as well as an Insurance Business Rising Star – Insurer (Women in Insurance) in 2020.


Young GUNS 2020

Akshay Subramanian Delta Insurance

Lee Cui Aon New Zealand

Ashleigh Mills Bridges Insurance

Lydia Fleming Bay Insurance

Ben Holloway Fidelity Life

Michael Lovegrove JRNY

Christie Southam FMG

Nick Meister Club Marine

Hayley Steele FMG

Ray Dunbar Matt Jensen Insurance Brokers

Jackie Costello ICIB

Sera Jeong Allianz Partners

John Borland ISACORP Limited

Sophie Curlett Robertsons

Jonathan Winstone Pearce Financial Services

Steph Wigg NZI

Jono Soo Marsh

Stephanie Wyatt Crombie Lockwood

Julian Lee Smit Primesure Brokers LTD

Teri Scandrett ICIB

Kirsty Spendlow Aon New Zealand

Twinkle Sanghavi Ando Insurance


Young GUNS 2021

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