In The News

 

 

 

Wed 25 Sep 2019

The Accidental Insurance Broker – Jody Williams


In The News
Working in a male-dominated industry has its moments – misogyny reigns, and you feel like you’re invisible. Jody Williams, one of the few women in insurance broking, takes it all in her stride.

Working in a male-dominated industry has its moments – misogyny reigns, and you feel like you’re invisible. Jody Williams, one of the few women in insurance broking, takes it all in her stride.

This former country girl has paved her way in the insurance industry, making a difference with her desire to get the best deal for everyone she works.

“When I first started out, back in the 90s, there were not many women in the insurance business; there are still not,” she said. “It does mean no toilet queues at insurance conferences.

“I got into insurance accidentally. I was working for Elders and an opportunity came up to learn how to write policies. I grabbed it.”

At the time, she was a “general office body doing everything” when insurance companies pulled out of doing insurance from the 25th parallel and above (imagine Western Australian cut in almost half from Carnarvon). This left businesses and residences without insurance coverage.

“An insurance agent drove up and gave me a 30-minute crash course on how to quote on home and contents …and I ended up with one of the largest branched in Western Australia,” she said.  And the rest, as they say, is history.

But her journey through the insurance ranks was not without its challenges.

“It was a very male dominated industry, dealing with stockies, real estate guys, and farmers, many who were of the belief that the best place for a girl was at the reception desk,” she said.

“When they changed the rules that you had to have qualifications to deal in insurance, there arose an opportunity to work with a guy who had the portfolio of clients but no qualifications to run it.

“I worked for him for five years on a super low wage. I worked very hard to ensure I had all my office work completed before I approached the boss to do something less female-traditional., but I learnt so much.”

This sacrifice laid the foundations for Jody to flourish. By the time she was getting into civil claims, she had realised she was in love with insurance. “There is just so much people don’t realise about how vital having the right insurance is,” she said. “It is not something you are taught in schools. You might catch an ad on television but until you really need it, you don’t really understand how important it is.”

Jody learnt not to get too upset about the way she was treated. Growing up on a farm with just her dad toughened her up. “I knew it was just men generalising and when they realised what I could do, their opinions changed. When they saw me drive a forklift, unloading and loading trucks, that changed their attitudes towards me,” she laughed.
The insurance space has changed a lot over the past 20 years; it is no longer the bloke in a suit.

Her success comes down to two things – her passion for insurance and her absolute desire to get her clients the best deal and coverage.

“I always think about how my clients react and feel, what they want, and put myself in their shoes. I think that is really important; after all I am business owner as well and understand their struggles. In business, you have to take into account people’s situations and what is best for them,” Jody said.

Jody said there are three key things people should consider when deciding on insurance:

  • Find out what is out there – what insurances are available for the occupation. There are so many out there. Compared to 10 years ago, there are so many risks – things like cybersecurity and management liability.
  • What breaks the bank …what could happen that would hurt you and your business that you couldn’t recover from?
  • Find a broker – someone who puts themselves your shoes and sees your business from your perspective. Someone you can trust enough to tell them everything about your business and you.

For more information or you wish to connect with Jody Williams    read more at her profile.


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