Samantha Forkas QPIB
Account Executive, Willis, VIC
What has been your career pathway in broking up to this point?
I completed my high school education in 2008, and my first full time job out of school was as an administrative assistant at PSC Insurance Brokers (known as Horsell International at that time) in March of 2009.
Within six months of starting at Horsell’s I was moved into the broking team, assisting in the Personal Lines division. I attained my Tier 2 qualification in 2010.
In April of 2011 I gave birth to my son and had six months’ maternity leave. Upon my return to work, I moved into a commercial underwriting role with Breeze Underwriting (formerly PSC Underwriting) specialising in hospitality schemes.
In April of 2012 I was offered a role at Planned Cover (formerly known as Architects Professional Risk Services) as an assistant account manager in the commercial broking team, specialising in insurance for construction professionals, as well management of the department’s claims portfolio.
I completed my Diploma of Insurance Broking in early 2014, and was named a finalist for the 2014 NIBA Student of the Year Award as a result of the high quality of my assignments. I was also awarded NIBA’s 2014 Frank Earle Scholarship, which has allowed me to continue studying for my Advanced Diploma of Financial Services.
In June 2014 I accepted a role within Willis as an Account Executive in the commercial team.
What are your professional ambitions?
I aim to continue my work in the NIBA YP Committee and to promote the broking industry as a fantastic and rewarding career choice. I also plan to continue my education through ongoing study and personal development.
Once my Advanced Diploma is complete I am considering completing my Graduate Diploma and from there possibly move into studying insurance law.
Currently, I am focusing on client management, but ideally (and with more education and experience) I aspire to move into specialty scheme facilitation and marketing.
In 10 years’ time, I see myself working at a brokerage within a senior capacity. I aspire to be involved with or in charge of risk management. Experience gained as a responsible manager will also aid me in taking the leap to one day possibly start up my own business.
There’s a long way to go, but the prospects are very exciting.
Why is broker education important to you personally?
I believe education, both formal and informal, on-the-job training, is an incredibly important aspect of my career. Ongoing education ensures I remain up-to-date with legislative and compliance requirements, without which I could not do my job adequately.
It also ensures I can provide the best service possible for my clients. It shows my employers that I am a dedicated employee and continually seek to better myself professionally.
What doors has the QPIB designation opened for you in your career?
The QPIB designation provides my clients with the knowledge that I am an individual with a sound knowledge of insurance, someone to be trusted with their insurance needs.
It provides a unique selling point to clients and provides proof that I’m qualified to assist them. It is also proof to other members in the industry that I am well-qualified, which I believe grants me a higher level of respect.
It helped me clearly show my expertise when moving from a small brokerage to a national company in 2014, and throughout the process of attaining QPIB I have developed great confidence in my broking abilities. I’m sure that helped me secure a role at Willis.
How do you use the QPIB designation to market your expertise to clients?
I have my QPIB designation on my business cards as well as my email signature. It is an ongoing reminder to my clients that I am formally qualified to deal with their insurance requirements.
Why would you recommend new entrants to broking seek to attain their QPIB status as soon as they can?
For new entrants, education and experience are the two most important aspects of your career. Education and knowledge of legislation and compliance are paramount to being a great broker, which is why having a QPIB designation is a solid marker to employers, or potential employers, that you have a broad knowledge of insurance and the dedication to complete these studies.
What do you enjoy most about a career in insurance broking?
The people. Some of the most interesting people I’ve ever met have been insurance brokers. I have had a number of informal mentors who have generously given me invaluable time and advice over the years, without which I would not be the person I am today.