In this new feature, an Abbott Group staff member spends five minutes in the hot seat answering the important, and not-so-important questions.
This month – Sarah Cochrane, Domestic Consultant at the Abbott Group.
What’s your role at the Abbott Group?
I’m responsible for the management of our domestic portfolio. This sees me in close contact with our many domestic clients. My role is to understand their insurance needs and liaise with our various insurers to ensure that these needs are met as well as possible. I spend a lot of time building and strengthening relationships with both clients and insurers – this is the real key to success in this role.
Tell us a bit about yourself – how did you come to join the Abbott Group?
My professional background has mainly been in the financial sector in Sydney and Europe. More recently I worked for a foreign exchange provider, another insurance company and a motor vehicle finance provider here in New Zealand.
A good friend of mine who works for the Abbott Group told me about a temporary position looking after the reception to cover a period of leave. I was offered the position and got stuck into the role. When an ongoing role running the domestic portfolio became available I was excited to be offered the position. The rest, as they say, is history!
What is the best thing about your role?
The best thing about my role is definitely the interaction with my clients and insurers. It’s great to be able to help clients feel comfortable and secure with their insurance. I really enjoy keeping my portfolio well managed, tidy and on the front foot – you never know what’s coming! Like building relationships, this is also key to delivering the “Abbott experience” our clients have come to value and expect.
And the worst?
The worst thing is definitely hearing about unfortunate incidents which have befallen our clients. I had one family recently who had been burgled, including the kids’ bikes. Not a nice way for that family to be coming into the Christmas season and you really feel for them. It’s great they’re well insured, but it’s still sad. In a similar vein, the many unpleasant experiences brought about by the earthquakes can be pretty gut-wrenching at times.
What trends do you see for the domestic insurance market in 2016?
I think we’ll continue to see more non-traditional companies offering insurance such as supermarkets, major chain stores, online marketplaces and the like. I do worry about the level of responsibility this places on clients, who have to navigate themselves through a complicated world of options with some pretty important variations in the quality and depth of cover available. Cheap insurance is often found wanting at claim time. This can come as a surprise and a shock for people who might have thought they were better protected than they were.
Tell us something interesting / unusual about yourself.
I once gate-crashed a wedding reception in Tipperary! The Irish, being the Irish, though, we were welcomed in and had a great night celebrating with the happy couple!
Good book or good movie? Good movie
Favourite thing on the Christmas dinner table? Champagne
Your dream bach would be…? On stilts above the glistening waters of the Maldives
Shopping in New York or a tropic island getaway? New York, New York for me!
The most unusual thing in my kitchen cupboard is… A home-made metal cake tin I made when I was 12
If Santa thinks I’ve been a good girl this year he’ll bring me… A brand new red Fiat 500