15 Jun 2022
1. What’s your role at Cigna and what does a typical day look like for you?
I’ve been at Cigna and its predecessors a long time and have held many roles that have evolved over time.
Currently my role is National Strategic Alliances Manager, I look after our top 10 groups nationally. In addition, I’m responsible for our Adviser engagement initiatives including our Business Development Forums. What I love about my role is its broad scope and that I have the ability to impact how Advisers engage with and perceive Cigna. I also love how each day is completely different from the last.
2. What’s your background and how did you get to where you are now?
Like many of us, I didn’t plan to be in insurance. After five years in the Royal New Zealand Air Force and some time working in Human Resources, I moved to Auckland to take on the newly created role of Personnel Officer at MetLife. After being purchased by Sovereign I eventually moved from HR to Distribution, I then briefly diverted into the Sales & Software industry before returning to insurance at Asteron and Tower. The rest, as they say, is history.
3. What do you enjoy most about working at Cigna?
That’s easy – the people and that includes both the Cigna team and my Group Heads. I feel very lucky to work alongside a team of people who I trust, respect, and know have each other’s backs. Everyone at Cigna wants to do the right thing, grow our business, and give our customers and Advisers the best experience possible.
4. Why do you think advice is so important?
None of us can be experts in everything. I’m always impressed with the knowledge Advisers and Group Heads hold around product suitability for specific individuals, taking into account their conditions and history, and the variables, structures and future planning consideration that goes in to each and every insurance recommendation.
Buying insurance can be confusing for many people and without an Adviser to guide them through the process and help them make the right choices, they may not come away with the best solution for their needs.
5. What’s your favourite thing about working with Advisers?
A major benefit to being in the industry so long is that I’ve built some fantastic long-term relationships with Advisers, and many have become friends.
I’ve grown to appreciate the challenges Advisers face and how everything we do as an insurer can impact them in different ways. Advisers have such bravery, passion, enthusiasm and drive. Being self-employed isn’t for the faint-hearted and that coupled with their compassion when dealing with a customer in their time of need, makes me proud to be in the insurance industry.
6. How do you and your team support Advisers and improve their experience with Cigna?
As part of the Distribution team, we’re seen as the ‘face’ of Cigna. We’re on the frontline helping Advisers grow their businesses, ensuring they have the best possible experience with us, and being their point of contact and helping them connect with the rest of our business.
My role specifically works with the large groups (dealers & corporates) to make sure that together we can support their members and offer real value. From our interactions with Advisers, we then all work together to make ongoing improvements that will benefit both Advisers and their customers.
7. What do you think are the biggest opportunities and challenges in the life insurance industry?
The environment is constantly changing with factors including COVID-19, the rising cost of living, the housing market and migration to name a few. I strongly believe that with any change there’s always an opportunity, as an industry, we need to work closely together to make sure insurance remains a priority for customers and come up with innovative ways to evolve our offering to New Zealanders.
8. Do you have any surprising or unusual skills?
My two super powers are handling hot items – for some reason I have a high heat threshold, which is very useful when checking baking. I can also find just about anything online, a carefully-honed shopping skill.
9. On a weekend, where are we most likely to find you?
You’ll often find me at the beach walking Lola, my two-year-old Tibetan Terrier, entertaining friends or doing some creative DIY project because a renovation is never over.
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