Specialist transport and trucking insurance brokerage O’Connor Warren wants more young people on board as it celebrates five years of growth.

Since founding director Eamon O’Connor rebranded the Tauranga-based firm in 2013, it has gone from strength to strength.  It started with just two staff members and is one of the fastest growing transport insurance brokers in the country.  The business now has eight employees and was runner-up for broker of the year at the New Zealand Insurance Industry Awards in 2016.  O’Connor says the company’s point of difference is that it understands the truck and transport industry and has “solid connections throughout”.  Transport industry leaders have come to rely on companies like O’Connor Warren for insurance and risk assessment needs, he says.

But, just like the truck and transport industry, the finance and insurance sector also faces the same challenges challenges in trying to recruit young people.  O’Connor Warren has come up with ways to try to tackle the problem, and one result is the launch of its junior broker internship.  The internship was launched in 2016 and has seen three new recruits taken on.  O’Connor visits local high schools to tell school leavers about the opportunity and the benefits of choosing a career in the world of insurance.

The sector is growing fast and that presents solid opportunities for new entrants to thrive in a career, he says.  An internship at O’Connor Warren also gives young people the chance to earn while they learn and gain a finance-based qualification.  Applicants study towards a diploma of insurance broking through the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance.

The internship was an opportunity Jason Everard decided to take in 2016 and he has been progressing swiftly since.  “Being part of the O’Connor Warren internship programme has helped me understand not only the importance of the insurance industry but also the transport industry and the challenges it faces,” Everard says.  “I have learned that our transport industry client partnerships actually add significant value to their businesses.  “There are a minimal number of quality young people entering insurance and, in particular, transport and logistics insurance.  “So I see my role in the business as a huge opportunity for me personally to develop quickly and make a real difference.”

Meanwhile, as demand in the sector continues to grow, there are also new challenges to face. O’Connor says general expense pressures are growing for transport companies and heavy vehicle operators.  “With this comes challenges around driver quality and experience which ultimately increases risk.  Put simply, if you are a transport business that shows trends of having accidents and claims, then your premiums will be under pressure to rise.  But we see an opportunity here. There are still deals to be done for businesses with this profile and facing increases.  You just have to know where and how to access the best terms from insurers and [we] work with our clients to achieve the best outcome.”