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Future Insure Graduate Program

  • 100 - 500 employees

Declan Gaffney

I am a graduate insurance broker at an insurance brokerage that services the insurance needs of SMEs and corporate accounts.

What's your job about?

I am a graduate insurance broker at an insurance brokerage that services the insurance needs of SMEs and corporate accounts. I am currently learning how to be a broker by managing a carefully crafted book of small to medium enterprises. This includes renewing policies, managing claims and answering client queries. The most interesting part of my job the variety of businesses that you deal with on a daily basis. For instance, you may be analysing the risks that face a simple business like a lawn mowing service. And later that day analyse the risks that a weather derivative brokerage needs insurance for. This variety really allows me to put to use the business analytics skills that I developed through my commerce degree.

What's your background? 

I grew up in suburban Melbourne and always found the business subjects at school the most interesting. After graduating high school I began studying commerce at La Trobe, majoring in finance. During my last year of uni I was fortunate enough to get a graduate position at an accounting firm in the city. I quickly found that I did not want to be an accountant and began looking for another career. A mentor suggested that my skills may be suited to the insurance broking profession. I had not heard of this career before so I did my due diligence, and after some research, I agreed with my mentor and began searching for insurance broking grad roles. I was fortunate enough to get an offer at the business that I currently work at after a few interviews. I have now been working in my current role for just over 12 months. And I have to say, I am very grateful for the events that have lead me to start a career in insurance. I believe that fortune favours the bold. Though I am very lucky to have had two graduate roles in less that 2 years from graduating uni, I sort of made my own luck by putting myself in the position to get those roles. You will never get what you want in life if you want for opportunities to present themselves to you. 

Could someone with a different background do your job? 

Yes. One of the best aspects of working in insurance is the different ethnicities of people that you work with. For instance, I am a first-generation Australian myself. I do not necessarily believe that you need a degree in business-related studies to do what I do. However, you do need to have a passion for business and a keen eye for details and analytics. Exceptional people-skills are an absolute must as well! 

What's the coolest thing about your job?

The favourite part of my job is when I am able to tell a client that their claim has been settled. A claim event with when a broker proves themselves. A broker is there to help their client in their most vulnerable moment and help them return to the position they were before the loss. Our clients’ businesses are more than just a job to them, they are almost like a member of their family. They are how they are able to put food on the table and keep the lights on. So when we are able to help them when the businesses have suffered a loss, it feels really good. 

What are the limitations of your job?

I find that keeping up with compliance can be quite challenging at times. Especially as different states have different compliance requirements. And, these requirements can change quite often. I do fear to make a compliance error, but, a great way to protect yourself is to strictly follow processes and not take short-cuts. Also, getting a second pair of eyes to review your work is another safe-guard for compliance issues and mistakes in general. Another fear is leaving a client exposed to risk and not making them aware of this. Again, by following procedures and having your work review by others is a way to minimise the chances of this occurring. 

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student... Go back in time and meet yourself at university... What would you advise him or her?

  • Make the most of all the social events that you can. The years go by fast and when you begin full-time work you will miss/regret it.
  • Put forth your best effort in everything that you do. This goes for study, relationships, everything. Uni is the time that you begin to develop yourself as an adult, and by establishing a good work ethic early can only help you in the future.
  • Go to the grad expos! Believe me, this helps you get grad roles better than all other avenues! Most of my class that has not been offered a grad role yet did not bother to attend these events. I did bother to go and I have a grad role waiting for me when I graduated.