From Insurer to Broker – Heath Johnson joins the Abbott Group
The Abbott Group’s new Otago/Southland broker, Heath Johnson, realised the value of a good insurance broker in the aftermath of the Christchurch Earthquakes.
Heath was already a familiar face to Abbott Group staff. Having been with Vero Insurance for 13 years, Heath had risen rapidly through the ranks to become a Business Development Manager specialising in Rural and Commercial Insurance. He had become such a valuable asset to Abbotts in our day to day dealings with Vero that we invited Heath to join our team and run our new Otago/Southland office.
Heath jumped at the opportunity to join the Abbott Group and switch from Insurer to Broker. Having seen how Abbotts operates from the perspective of an insurer, Heath had become fully in favour of the broker model of insurance (as opposed to arranging insurance directly with an insurer).
Heath believes that the value of having a broker was clearly shown during the Canterbury earthquakes. “The earthquakes were the most complex insurance event in New Zealand history. It was evident that those people insured via the direct model struggled to settle their claims fairly, as opposed to those who had a broker advocating for them. This was caused by the complexity of the event and a lack of knowledge regarding entitlements.”
Heath believes that although insurance is a complicated product that everyone needs in one way or another, most people do not fully understand the finer details of different products, coverage, insurers or pricing. “Having an advocate (your broker) who understands your needs as well as the market can make a significant difference. This may be ensuring you have the correct cover with the best available insurer, or assisting you at claim time to receive your entitlement. When people place their insurance themselves via the direct model, they will have to take on the role of a broker themselves and negotiate their own cover or claims.”
Having worked closely with the Abbott Group for 3 years in his role at Vero, it was clear to Heath that Abbotts were highly respected in the marketplace and passionate about achieving the best results for their clients. “Not being bound to any insurer, Abbotts are always in a position to do the best for their clients without having any outside factors at play. This showed me that Abbotts’ values were not just words written on paper, they were clearly lived on a daily basis.”
Heath is excited to get back to his roots in his new role for the Abbott Group, having been raised and educated in Otago & Southland. He is fully committed to the change from working for an insurer to being a broker. “If you go to court you appoint a lawyer. If you build a house you appoint a builder. If your car breaks down you appoint a mechanic. This is normally due to a lack of knowledge about the specialised subject – insurance is no different.”
Heath is currently training in the Abbott Group’s systems and processes and will be moving to Dunedin to run our new Otago/Southland office from March/April 2016.
Published on Tuesday, December 15th, 2015, under Latest News