As the 2010 winner of the prestigious Jim Mcilveen Award of Excellence and one of only three finalists in the Ausure Young Achievers Award, Macarthur-based Insurance Broker Jarrod O’Brien is clearly doing something right. So we asked O’Brien if he’d share some secrets to his success to date and provide advice to other businesses starting out in the competitive insurance broking industry.
Q&A time with Jarrod O’Brien:
Please give us a brief history of yourself and company? “I spent 6 years working for international bank HSBC in an Account Manager role where I predominantly sold home loans, commercial loans, general insurance and managed large deposit accounts. I was Rob Tresidder’s bank manager and after I left the bank we stayed in touch and it was through Rob that I became involved with Ausure. I started off in Rob’s branch where I began a portfolio of my own and in December 2008 I started my own branch in Campbelltown, NSW. The business is growing quite well and at the end of the year I have plans to move to a larger office and employ an assistant.”
What has contributed to your business success? “I would say that the relationships I have formed with my customers have been the biggest factor in growing my business as I am consistently receiving referrals from my client base which I see as a compliment to my service and dedication to clients. The other thing is to always be doing something, to keep the leads coming in I am always sending direct mail, networking, forming relationships with referrers, phone calls etc.
What have been your best marketing strategies? “Pick an industry and specialise in it. I chose the security industry and have come to be known in the industry. I have relationships with some of the largest companies, with the second largest industry association and because of this I am receiving referrals weekly. Networking groups such as BNI and Chambers of Commerce have also been a great way to meet prospective clients and broaden my portfolio.”
What alliances have you formed with key insurers? “I have excellent relationships with Lloyds underwriters to the security industry and from each I receive fantastic service, fast turnaround on quotes, preferential pricing etc.”
How has your location contributed to your business growth over the years? “No. Although I am in a growth area of Sydney, my clients are Australia wide. With many new businesses to set-up in my region over the next ten years though, I am in a good position to take advantage of that.”
Insurance tips and advice? “When you need it, always ask for help and assistance from other colleagues in the Ausure network who may have more experience in particular areas.”
What advice can you give to new insurance brokers starting out? “Pick an industry and specialise in it – although not the security industry! When starting out it is too difficult to try and learn every product and what insurances many different industries require. I found it easier to grow a book from scratch by targeting one industry. It is then important to diversify so your portfolio isn’t top heavy with one industry.”
Interview by Gillian Lilley, Freelance Writer.
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