Follow Jessica on Simplex Insurance Solutions.
Tell us about yourself and your business
Hi, My name is Jessica Cudia and I am an account manager at Simplex insurance solutions. I started off in hospitality straight out of school, then I moved to retail and I have now been working with Simplex insurance (https://simplexinsurance.com.au/) for the last 4 years.
To start with I was just looking for a change in career, really wasn’t sure what I wanted to do however I was drawn to Simplex as all 3 directors were women which I thought was really empowering!
Since then I have been given so many opportunities to expand and reach my potential which I am very thankful for and I have gained some really amazing mentors.
I really enjoy being an insurance broker because not only do you get to help people in their time of need – sometimes the worst times in their life but I get to create some fantastic relationships with my clients and as an insurance broker you learn so much about such a huge array of occupations and businesses I would never have otherwise been exposed to.
There is always something to learn and never 2 clients or 2 days that are the same.
Please visit https://simplexinsurance.com.au/
What was the journey that brought you to your current role?
Straight out of school, I worked in Hospitality and quickly progressed from the new kid to the assistant manager which kept me busy for 10 years! I obtained a few certificates in hospitality along the way but it was never going to be my forever career so I decided it was time to give something else a try.
I moved on to retail which was super fast-paced and very results driven which I loved, After around a year I was appointed as a store manager and started implementing things I had learned throughout my time in both hospitality and retail.
By this stage, I was starting to think about having a family and decided both hospitality and retail don’t offer the flexibility and hours that would allow me to have a good work-life balance so I started looking into office-based, Monday-to-Friday jobs.
As mentioned previously I had not thought of insurance as an option but Simplex really caught my attention and stood out as something that might allow me to help people as well as creating a good career for myself. At the time they were hiring for a receptionist with the potential to progress later on, so I started out in reception.
I pretty quickly started on my Tier 2 and progressed into a trainee assistant role and really enjoyed the challenge of learning new systems and gaining knowledge in things I had never event heard of before. I then had the opportunity to become an account manager which I was quite nervous about however the team made me feel really confident and supported so I gave it a shot and would not look back! One of my colleagues even nominated me for the young broker of the year where I made it to the top 30 which is certainly one of my greatest achievements.
What’s behind your success?
There are so many things that contribute to success but the most important ones to me are:
The desire to always work hard and move forward as well as being comfortable with the uncomfortable. I am a very introverted person but to get to where I am today I have really had to put myself out there in situations I would love to run from and I think that really contributes to my success.
My journey has also all been within customer service which I am very passionate about. For most people insurance is not something that is front of mind and to be able to create such a relationship with my clients that they put their trust in me to keep their most important assets safe or to give them guidance on something is a really fantastic feeling. This comes from empathy, understanding, and willingness to listen.
One of my directors at Simplex actually gave me one of the best pieces of advice I have ever been given which is to keep asking people about themselves and really show interest in what they have to say and they will remember you.
One of the other huge things behind my success I think is that I treat my team with respect and show them my appreciation as much as I can. I never refer to my assistants as assistants, they are my colleagues. I think treating colleagues this way gives them a bigger sense of pride in their work and willingness to go above and beyond which makes my job easier and contributes to the success of our book.
What’s a mistake you’ve made that you’ll never make again?
Not allowing others to help and taking on everything myself. I used to have the mind frame that it is quicker to just get the work done myself rather than take the time to develop my team’s skills. Once this mindset changed I found so much more time for the more complex work as my team could then assist with more. Short-term pain for long-term gain!
What’s the one secret about your field or industry you wish everyone knew?
Not so much a secret but I wish everyone knew that not all policies are the same and that is why it is important to go to an insurance broker because we are on the client’s side to ensure their assets are protected correctly.
Insurers are getting more sneaky and are willing to cover less and less within the last couple of years particularly and it is scary to think how many clients think they are covered for something when they are not.
I also wish people knew that if you withhold information from an insurer that is as good as not having coverage. For example, if you earn an income from home but don’t let the insurer know. If they find out after your home has burnt down they have every right to refuse your claim.
What are your predictions for the industry for the next few years?
I think legislation is going to continue to get tougher on brokers but I also think the way the market is going regarding the tightening of offers on cover from the insurers will see a lot of people happy to take on the advice of insurance brokers and will be happy to pay that little bit extra to brokers to have the peace of mind they are covered correctly.
What’s your main goal for the year ahead?
My main goal is to continue to develop my team, keep our client relationships in a great place and to grow our current book.
The bonus will be to continue learning along the way as well as meeting and creating new contacts within the industry.
What are the biggest problems you face when dealing with MGAs, underwriters or insurers?
Everyone is so understaffed and under the pump, since COVID so the biggest challenge is being able to obtain quotes, renewals, endorsements, etc as quickly as we used to. As we are the ones that have to face the client it can place us in an awkward situation sometimes.
Follow Jessica on Simplex Insurance Solutions.