testingthewater
Dan Quintin

Testing the water

Dan Quintin was all set for a career in sport and leisure, wearing a tracksuit to work, until he discovered after two weeks of testing the water quality in an indoor swimming pool that it didn’t inspire him.

“The pH was always seven,” he says dryly. “The job wasn’t at all enjoyable.”

A career “in the city” appeared to be more up his alley, he decided. Luckily, whilst walking along his local high street in Essex in the UK, he spotted a Post-it note stuck on a window of a small insurance house. It simply stated: “Office Junior Required”.

Brimming with youthful confidence and having already worked part-time for several years running paper rounds and helping out at the local mechanic shop, Dan walked straight in. At the tender age of 16 he told his future employer, “I’m your man”.

“I spent 18 months making lots of coffee, running lots of bacon-roll runs and doing lots of filing,” he says. “I absolutely loved it.”

Dan quickly figured out that the insurance industry was all about people. “I soon knew that I had found my calling,” he says.

He moved to a bigger broker and, after discovering a calling for property insurance, began to look after multi-million dollar portfolios, working in central London.

“I realised many years ago that I was in the industry forever,” says Dan. “I also realised how important reputation is. I made it a personal mission to be known as the broker who does actually go above and beyond and not just says so. I wanted to be the broker that someone could mention in passing to another peer in the market and for that person to have a positive acknowledgement.

“I realised many years ago that I was in the industry forever.”

“I wanted this to extend beyond the boundaries of the insurance market and transcend to clients that I have had the pleasure to serve. To date, I am proud to say I feel as though I have earned that reputation.”

Even before he moved into a leadership role, Dan says he has always helped others where he could. “I have had some fantastic role models over the years. I have also had some poor managers in that time,” he says. “By absorbing the best aspects of leadership and in turn being the best leader I can, as opposed to manager, I hope that I can inspire others to do great things.”

Despite not taking the traditional college and university route before joining the workforce, Dan has focused on “getting more and more strings to my bow” by taking on opportunities to develop through work-related courses.

Just when he was thinking he’d be in London for life and would grow “old and grey and still be sparring in the market” with his old UK colleagues, a cheeky email accidentally sent to the wrong girl on the other side of the world changed his life.

The recipient, an Australian woman, was intrigued and responded. “We struck up a bit of a rapport,” Dan says.

After a year of exchanging emails, Dan flew to Sydney. It was love at first sight ­– within 24 hours of meeting face-to-face he had proposed to his now wife, Emily.

The couple moved to London for a few years and then back to Sydney. Dan was surprised at how similar yet how different the two work cultures were. “It was an eye-opening experience,” he says.

Six years later, the two are looking forward to becoming three with the arrival of their first baby and, in preparation, have moved to Emily’s home state of Tasmania.

Life couldn’t be better, says Dan. Tasmania has given the couple an opportunity to realise a dream to live at the beach in Hobart. Dan is now a branch manager at Arthur J. Gallagher.

“Even though I’m only 33, I’ve got 17 years’ experience as a broker,” he says. Despite his experience, he is still conscious of coming in as an outsider to a well-established team.

“I’ve said to the people here on the ground, ‘I’m just here to help. If something works, don’t change it. If something needs attention, let’s draw on our joint experiences and help improve it.’”

From a career perspective, Dan says he has educated himself on all aspects of broking, from the technical elements to the human side of the business. “Although I have a number of accolades under my belt, I continually strive to learn more, and do so every day,” he says.

“Some have said how fortunate I have been in my professional and personal life. However, I would argue that good fortune only arises by putting myself into situations that are fortuitous.”

Dan was recently voted in as the Chairman of the National Insurance Brokers Association sub-committee and is relishing the opportunity to help push any and all causes to help the Tasmanian market, despite it being deep into what he calls a “decade of disruption”.

“If you’re standing still you’re going backwards,” he says. “I always want to be on the front foot with everything. You only hear about these things if you’re out and about and you’re online as well.”

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