You knew it, we most definitely knew it, and now we get to shout it from the rooftops across the country! Schalk Van Der Merwe has been recognised as the 6th best Insurance Broker in Australia 2018 in accordance with Insurance Business Australia’s elite broker 2018 competition.
If you didn’t catch our announcement and article of Schalk’s outstanding achievement, you can read all about it here.
In light of his recognition, Schalk recently sat down with Insurance Business Magazine so they could get to know him a little better and find out how he got to be at the top of his game. Here is the full interview with Schalk Van Der Merwe:
Schalk, can you provide some insight into the focus of your portfolio. Do you have any particular product lines and/or types of clients?
“My portfolio mainly consists of medium and small enterprises across a wide and varying range of industries, however I have recently had a particular focus on country pubs, hotels, kitchen manufacturers, accommodation, hostels and hard-to-place professional indemnity risks.”
What do you regard as key to your success as a broker?
“Omnisure is a family business that lives and breathes insurance, so I believe that the teamwork displayed within our business plays a significant role in my success. I have had immense support from my parents who are great business mentors. With over 70 years’ experience in the industry combined, my mother and father have given me a great foundation of knowledge and wisdom for all things business and insurance.”
What would you cite as your highlight as a broker during the last 12 months?
“Other than receiving this accolade, my highlight has been building a high performing team at Omnisure, and seeing the growth and camaraderie of these young, driven and immensely passionate individuals. We are really lucky to have such a dedicated and loyal team who share our vision.”
What has been the biggest challenge you have faced as a broker during the past 12 months?
“In the last year, Omnisure has taken on over 500 new clients, so i’d say the greatest challenge has been managing the business’s rapid growth and maintaining our high quality of service. What makes us stand out as superior brokers is our promise to offer genuine care and personal service to each and every one of our clients. I’ve had to focus on staff training, improving processes and investing in new technologies to ensure my team is efficient in handling this growth.”
Is there any advice you could offer to other brokers as to how to boost their own businesses?
“My advice is to make referral-based marketing your number one priority.”
“Six months ago, I sat down with my team to analyse our marketing spend. We compared our return on investment across various marketing channels, and whilst it wasn’t a surprise that 80% of our new business came directly from current clients and referral partners, it did reaffirm our focus around our marketing investment.”
“Based on our findings, we designed a program to seek out additional referral partners and to both educate and reward our current clients and loyal referral partners. As an additional benefit of this program, we also found our relationships with our referrers and clients deepened as they were better educated and more invested in our business.”
If you could change anything about the insurance industry, what would it be?
“I think there is still a negative stigma around the insurance industry as a whole – the media like to throw their weight behind a handful of negative stories when in actual fact the vast majority of policy holders, especially those who are advised by brokers, are well cared for and their claims are paid promptly and fairly.”
“Traditionally, insurance brokers have not been effective in communicating their benefits to the public, so I believe that through strategic marketing and overall better education we can better illustrate the advantages of our services as a trusted adviser alongside the likes of their accountants and lawyers.”
Do you have any thoughts as to how the insurance industry can attract more jobseekers?
“I believe the industry can do more in terms of positioning insurance as a legitimate and exciting career choice for high school students. When compared to the accounting and legal fraternities, we are well behind the mark in terms of representation at career expos and internships/cadetships. As of recent, various industry bodies are making great progress in advocacy, however I think more can be done on a business level.”
“We are currently exploring opportunities to offer paid internships and partner with high schools in our local area to promote the next generation of Australian brokers.”
Can you give any insight as to what’s ahead for you as a broker over the next 12 months? What aspirations and goals do you have for the future?
“We are really excited about the next twelve months at Omnisure. We’re on track to make two broking hires and have plans to market our company and ourselves as professionals across additional platforms.”
“I personally am looking to become more involved in emerging issues such as cyber risk and insurance technology. As advisors we need to be at the forefront of these rapidly evolving pitfalls so we can better educate our clients on the risks facing their businesses.”
“Another exciting undertaking is my continuing to mentor junior staff. The last twelve months have certainly shown that we are only as good as our team, so helping them to develop their business acumen and expertise will be a focus – one that I find incredibly rewarding.”
If you didn’t know much about Schalk before reading this interview, we hope that you now have a little insight into the incredibly knowledgeable and passionate insurance broker that he is.
On behalf of your family at Omnisure, your clients and your friends, congratulations Schalk on your achievement. It is truly well deserved.
For those of you who now have your heart set on Schalk as your insurance broker (I don’t blame you!), he would be honoured to see if he can help you. You can touch base with us here and submit an enquiry form, or contact Schalk directly via:
Direct phone: (02) 9959 2902 | Mobile: 0404 643 139 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org