Madeline Barra QPIB

Account Executive, North Queensland Insurance Brokers, QLD
Age: 24

What has been your career pathway in broking up to this point?

In 2008 I was studying at Barrier Reef Institute of Tafe in Townsville to obtain my Business Administration Certificate when a traineeship became available at North Queensland Insurance Brokers.

I had little idea what to expect as I was not familiar with the insurance broking industry but my eyes were quickly opened to the potential rewards of a successful insurance career. I found that I enjoyed dealing with customers and I saw how my assistance with all types of insurance related matters could make a difference in people’s lives.

When first started at NQIB I was assisting clients at the front counter, which involved collecting monies and lodging claims on their behalf. I became more committed each day, which lead to me starting my Certificate III in Financial Services (Insurance Broking), and was rewarded with the responsibility of quoting motor vehicle, household, landlords, strata insurances and now business and corporate policies.

I could now see a career unfolding within the insurance industry and communicated my feelings to NQIB management who drafted a career path which lead to me now managing an account consisting of a wide range of business and domestic insurances totalling $1,500,000+ in premium.

I have been a finalist in the NIBA QLD Young Professional Broker of the Year Award and in 2014 I won the Peter McCarthy CQIB Young Professional of the Year Award.

What are your professional ambitions?

To continue with my career in broking, expand my knowledge and use my skills to teach others and maybe one day work overseas in the heart of where it all started. Ultimately I’d love to own my own brokerage.

What doors has the QPIB designation opened for you in your career?

Attaining my QPIB status helped me to reach an Account Executive role very early on in my career. The education that is required to be completed in obtaining your QPIB has taught me how to analyse, collate, research and present information. It’s so useful. My QPIB designation is displayed on all communication and business cards. I believe it does assist me overcome the initial perception that my age may also mean a lack of knowledge.

Why would you recommend new entrants to the industry seek to attain QPIB as soon as they can?

On the education side, as the program is largely based around work participants, it is extremely important that each individual talk to their employers so that everyone understands what is involved in the program. They will need to refer to practices and procedures used in their workplace throughout their education program and then also in practical application of the principals learnt.

To actual client and other workplace situations, it is extremely important to engage in the guidance of a knowledgeable and supportive mentor. I think that particularly for young people it is good to obtain skills and qualifications early in your career, before you find other life commitments are bestowed on you. It is also best to arm yourself with skills necessary to succeed early in your career in doing so the chances of quickly progressing your career are increased.

Why is on-going education important to you personally?

As I am young, I’m limited by my experience, so I rely on broker education it to fill the experience gap. Throughout my career I’ve been committed to personal and career development including completion of Certificate III, Diploma of Insurance Broking, the Advanced Diploma and I’ve obtained my Certified Practicing Insurance Broker (CPIB) designation, all through NIBA.

What do you enjoy most about a career in insurance broking?

What I enjoy most about my career is all the challenges that keep coming. I love being able to take the time and gain an understanding of the client, what their needs are and how my skills will be able to provide an outcome suitable for that particular client. I also enjoy the satisfaction that you get in assisting a client through a challenging claim scenario.

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