Interview with Aaron Widt, Underwriting Manager and former Chair of ALUCA’s Queensland group

Aaron Widt, Underwriting Manager – QLD, Personal injury portfolio & products- Insurance, Asteron Life  and former Chair of ALUCA’s Queensland group for the last 10 years.

What made you want to become a volunteer with ALUCA?
I would have to say my family. My grandmother and mother have been involved with Saint Vincent de Paul for many years and my father has been on AFL committee’s/ life member for decades, so I guess I was born into it and learnt volunteering from them. Grandma still does 3 ‘shifts’ per week at age 88 – she is a real inspiration to me and has provided many great life lessons on how to care for those around you and genuinely always be a good person in life. ALUCA is our association and has helped me progress from a junior underwriter to management roles therefore it was only natural I became involved to give something back and help those coming through our industry succeed with their own individual pathways.

What was ALUCA like when you first joined in QLD to what it is today?
ALUCA Qld has and will always be a relaxed inclusive sub-group. Ron Gurnett (Life Member) was my mentor in my working life and had been Treasurer since the association was formed, he inspired and encouraged me to get involved. The sessions always featured great industry speakers back then 10 years ago, however we did operate on a shoe string budget and ran basic sandwich lunch time events for 15-20 people. We started off with literally $50 in the bank account, through negotiations with and support of our national board we were able to secure regular grant funding to ensure we could engage more professional speakers and host events at larger venues for our local audience that has grown from 20 odd to over 100 members. So to be where we are today with a national funding model in place and being able to consistently produce quality events year on year is a credit to everyone involved.

What are you most proud of as your time as the Chair of the QLD Sub-Group committee over the last 10 years?
We achieved a number of objectives that we set ourselves throughout the last 10years with some very good sessions being hosted that our QLD team was able to pull together time and time again. There are a few highlights that spring to mind: Securing the national funding model is one, hosting several Gold Medallist Olympians, Simon Black AFL Brownlow medallist presentation was a personal highlight and of course our 10 year anniversary celebration was a tremendous night. Very proud of each of our committee members over the last 10years and the high profile of the 40+ speakers that we have presented. For me, the ultimate and proudest moments are when I see new faces joining us and the work and commitment of our ALUCA volunteers that has inspired, educated and connected up and coming young professionals in our industry.

What is the most memorable ALUCA event you held and why?
Having the honour of presenting Ronny with his ALUCA Life membership award at our 10 year anniversary function a few years ago was really a stand out.

What advice do you have for other ALUCA members who are thinking of putting their hand up to volunteer with ALUCA?
DO IT! Volunteering is at times, really busy, and I often describe it as a ‘thankless industry’ however the intrinsic motivation you achieve, the skills that you develop, the people you meet, the fun you have, relationships you build, and the self-belief and fulfilment it provides you cannot underestimate or replicate from undertaking paid work in your day-to-day occupation. Get in there and give it a go…

What additional skills and capabilities did you gain by being with ALUCA?
Building strong industry connections, understanding our industry more broadly and how to throw a great party!

If you had your time over again is there anything you would have changed during your time in the ALUCA QLD’s chairs role?
Honestly I feel very fulfilled with what we were able to achieve over the 10 years. I would say that we all have to play a bigger role and provide a stronger voice for what our industry provides our communities. Each and every-day, all of you, in our industry provide Australians with long-term protection for their families in the form of promoting healthy lifestyles, providing guaranteed incomes, protecting Lives, funding for removal of tumours and as my grandmother puts it’s, genuinely caring for and looking out for others when those less fortunate have unavoidable life events. Our industry provides millions of dollars every day to Aussies and if I had my time again I would have promoted this and involved our communities more in what we do.

4 words to describe ALUCA?
Educate, develop, connect, Enjoy

4 words to describe Aaron Widt?
Fun Loving Queenslander Mate

What’s next for Aaron Widt?
Keep loving insurance, enjoy great times holidaying in the snow and at the beach and everywhere in between with our kids and of course ALUCA conference in Hobart!