ALUCA Life Insurance Excellence Award Winner – Leader of the Year: Tina Beilby, Chief Underwriter, Zurich

We are excited to announce that ALUCA’s Life Insurance Excellence Award nominations are now open. There is a category for everyone – whether you enter as a team, or an individual  – are a life insurer, reinsurer or a service provider to the life insurance industry. In addition  this year we have also included the “Hero” award for one of our many deserving ALUCA volunteers.

2018 ALUCA Life Insurance Excellence Award Winners

We have been looking at how we can tap into the wonderful network of ALUCA Life Insurance Excellence Award winners or the Triple A’s as we are calling them ALUCA Award Alumni Winners. First up we would like to profile each of the winners in this edition and our next ReB edition and are looking at some follow up activities to involve them more.

ALUCA Life Insurance Excellence Award Winner – Leader of the Year: Tina Beilby, Chief Underwriter, Zurich

A day in the life of Tina Beilby starts with a very early morning walk along the bay watching the spectacular sunrise and cruise ships coming into the port. Work then begins with emails on the tram, plane or whatever’s going that day before attending to meetings or phone calls ranging from underwriting operations, sales, technical signoffs or ‘peopling’ stuff – anything goes!  The excitement of the unknown keeps me on my toes and it’s a miracle if I ever get through my to-do list – yes I still attempt one each day.  I must admit though, the diversity of my role and the people I interact with day to day is what I love the most.

How and why did you get into a career in Life Insurance.  Honestly, it was purely driven as a teenager wanting my financial independence to earn my keep and fund my adventures! My sister was working for National Mutual at the time and arranged an interview with her boss.  I worked in new business, calculations, corporate super and even worked in the disability department – yep, they had their own department back then!  Underwriting was something that fascinated me which I experimented with for a while but didn’t think there was any future in it for an Adelaide girl (if only I knew!) so I gave it up to work in the sales team at Prudential before getting back into the underwriting world.  The rest is history as they say!

What makes my job interesting…the diversity, the people and the constant learning and development.  Every day is a school day and I love to learn and experience new things.  

My role’s greatest challenge…  is managing multiple priorities in a world where the most valuable currency is speed!    

What excites me the most about working at Zurich…the opportunities to be involved in global projects or work overseas as well as the local opportunities in a constantly evolving business.

Four words to describe me.. driven, committed, focused and fun

Who has been the biggest influence on my career and why…Andrew McPherson who inspired me to get back into underwriting after seeing the massive value he added to the business. Lindy Rule who took a chance on me many years ago in little ol’ Adelaide town, John Leonard for realizing my ambition of working interstate and Peter Tilocca – my mentor throughout my career in underwriting, reinsurance and leadership and still my mentor today.

And last but not least, my husband who always believes in me even when I don’t believe in myself.

The most valuable skill an underwriter can possess is…being open-mined and creative. Anyone can stamp a ‘book’ decision on a case but the real value in an underwriter is someone who understands how pricing, underwriting & claims experience all correlate and utilizes this unique skill set to find solutions a URE or guideline can’t.  Of course communication is key and it goes without saying that being approachable and easy to communicate with will go a long way to the value you add.  All of this is the reason many adviser surveys rate underwriting so highly as a key driver of overall satisfaction.

My best advice for young underwriters or claims and rehab managers…Firstly always put yourself in the customer or advisers shoes –  they don’t know what we know so it’s our responsibility to demystify the insurance lingo into something real for them and make the insurance journey as painless as possible for them.

Secondly, never pass up the opportunity to attend any training offered by your employer.  I’ve had the privilege of attending many internal and external courses which have taught me so much about myself as a person, a peer and a leader.  And lastly, invest in your own development – we’re very fortunate to be working in an industry that values continuous learning but don’t always rely on your employer to provide this.  Read books or blogs, listen to podcasts, join associations like Toastmasters or Business Chicks to network with interesting people and learn different perspectives outside the industry we work in.  You’ll be surprised at how many light bulb moments you have when you mix in different circles.

What made you want to enter ALUCA’s Life Insurance Excellence Awards?  We submitted many nominations across the different categories because we’re so proud of being part of such an amazing team with amazing individuals in it – this in itself deserves celebrating!   The leadership award was a very pleasant surprise for me.

What did winning ALUCA’s Life Insurance Excellence Leadership award mean to you as a leader?  I felt so honoured to be nominated by my team I figured I must be doing something right – I can’t think of a prouder moment in my career.  And being recognised by industry peers was just awesome!  I highly recommend it!

A parting word of advice or tips to ALUCA members looking at entering ALUCA’s Life Insurance Excellence Awards?  We’re quite a modest bunch of technical professionals and often don’t recognize the massive contribution we make to peoples lives every day so don’t take for granted the difference you and your peers make and nominate away!