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When O’Connor Warren director Eamon O’Connor set out to become a specialist insurance brokerage looking after the transport and trucking market more than six years ago, there was one thing he didn’t fully appreciate at the time.
That is the demand his current and future clients would have for life and health cover in addition to the business insurances and advice on offer, he says.
“Adding life and health to our portfolio of insurance broking for transport, rural, construction, marine, business and domestic customers gives us a true end-to-end brokerage service.
“It ties in nicely with our existing offer and it’s also something that our clients can use as part of an employee benefits package.
“We have achieved all of the objectives we set out to do more than six years ago, and I’d like to point out that this is a long-term proposition, I intend to be here until I retire and that’s some time away,” O’Connor says.
He says the key to the growth of the business has been its ability to offer the client genuine and knowledgeable advice on business and business issues, and structuring insurances also has a massive impact on the efficiency and profitability of businesses.
O’Connor Warren has two specialists to look after the life and health division, headed by Todd Blythe who has more than 10 years’ experience in this field of insurance.
The brokerage offer life insurance, income protection insurance, trauma insurance, and medical insurance.
“Too often owners of SME businesses have motor vehicle cover, public liability and business protection insurance but they themselves are not protected should something happen to them,” O’Connor says.
“We will pick the company that’s right for you, we will recommend a policy that is in the top four available on the market, we will provide help when making claims, we keep an eye on your insurances so your cover is always up to date, and if you already do have cover we are happy to provide a free assessment to make sure it’s adequate and properly structured to meet your needs,” he says.

Employee benefits – staff want perks

With quality employees on board, offering a good benefits package is one way to stop them from jumping ship. Many small-business owners mistakenly believe they cannot afford to offer benefits, O’Connor says.
“But while going without benefits may boost your bottom line in the short term, this penny-wise philosophy could strangle your business’s chances for long-term prosperity. There are certain benefits good employees feel they would like to have,” he says.
“Heading the list of like-to-have benefits is life and medical covers. If you tell these applicants no benefits are offered, often top-flight candidates will head for the door.”
Latest Statistics NZ figures show there are over 35,000 businesses in New Zealand that employ more than 10 people – but only 2000 of them have group insurance for their people at the workplace.
The main benefits of employee insurance at the workplace are:

  1. There is usually no need for medical underwriting to get cover.
  2. Employees often don’t need to complete any paperwork at all – they
    are covered automatically.
  3. The premiums are extremely low through the bulk buying concept of a group programme.
  4. Getting a quote is easy. No names are needed – just dates of birth, occupation, salary, gender.

Having a benefit like a life or medical programme in place can also help an employer attract and retain key people – particularly in a competitive labour market.
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