The place to be

Ask any coach or mentor what they find rewarding about their jobs and they will invariably tell you it’s when they see that ‘spark in someone’. The sort of spark that — in the realms of television — conjures hazy imagery of a successful future mapped out before our eyes.

Plenty of people have the innate raw talent to become masters of their chosen fields but only a select few ever make it. Like any coach will say, it takes more than just natural ability to succeed — it takes a combination of hard work and a nurturing and supportive environment.

An environment that June Kuan, a senior analyst at IAG New Zealand (NZI), has found helped her transition from university student to a fulfilling career in insurance. 
Since graduating six short years ago, June has moved from a junior position in IAG’s pricing team, to become a Principal Analyst in NZI’s commercial pricing and analytics division, winning the Young Insurance Professional of the year award, along the way.

As part of a generation that favours variety, flexibility and mobility in their careers, June feels that insurance is fertile ground for any young graduate looking for a rewarding career.

She believes the diversity, in terms of both roles and challenge in her job, has exposed her to various functions within the company such as underwriting, claims, operations and finance and has helped her develop a deeper understanding of the role customers play and the risks they face.

“With the industry’s widespread network and scale to invest in new technologies, there are more opportunities to experience new and different risks in other marketplaces with flexibility in working hours and locations,” she says. 

“There are so many emerging markets and technologies, and new risk exposures surface each day and we have the best and brightest in the industry working hard to manage risk for its customers,” says June. 

The diversity of work opportunities available is astounding and the different challenges that arise each day keep you on your toes – this is what I love about the industry.

Currently on secondment in Indonesia, June says her recent award is wonderful recognition of her career to date and is driven to continue working harder and further her learning — something her latest opportunity is helping her with.

“It has been fantastic working in a different environment and culture and I can’t wait to return to New Zealand to share my learnings and apply the new knowledge and skills I have acquired here,” she says.

While a challenging and flexible workplace is all well and good, insurance is still about the people. And it’s the people or more accurately the leaders that June feels have had the biggest impact in her career.

“I feel that everyone is a leader of their own accord and is accountable for their own growth and development. However, there are always opportunities to give back, to provide the same inspiration and empowerment I have received over the years from those around me,” she says.

"I have been fortunate to meet some wonderful people who have had a direct or indirect impact on me throughout my life," she adds.

“If there is any advice to give to a new graduate, in any field, I would say insurance is the place to be.”

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