Tell us a bit about being a BSO? 

Well, I’m one of two BSO’s for the Brisbane office. Being a BSO is interesting as we see so many different queries & submissions. 

There is a diverse range of applicants with their differing businesses. Some are really quite interesting & some are just plain ridiculous & some are a real challenge to load into Graile. Nonetheless we the BSO will always instigate the policy in Graile & let the Underwriters do their best with each and every one. The BSO is a strong breed of employee, we see & do so many things.

How do you like your coffee? 

Like anyone who likes a good coffee, brought to me. LOL. But seriously, lactose-free flat white with either ½ a sweetener or 1 pump of vanilla & extra hot. I like to enjoy my coffee over ½ an hour & not have to get it into me quickly before it gets cold. And just so everybody knows, it is stated in the bible that the man should always make the coffee – see Hebrews!!                                                                

What is your biggest achievement to date – personal or professional?

My biggest personal achievement is bringing up 2 children who now have their own. I have 5 grandchildren for whom I adore & don’t see them nearly as often as I’d like. They are aged 9, 7, 7, 6, 4. The middle 3 boys birthdays are 1 week apart with the middle & youngest being brothers born 11 ½ months apart. Thus June is a very poor month for me with presents. The oldest & youngest are both girls. Being a parent or grandparent is extremely rewarding & nothing beats it. 

Professionally? I have been lucky enough to have very much liked each & every position I have held in 2 different companies. Not many people can attest to this. Berkley Insurance Australia is my 3rd corporation in 40+ years & I hope it will see me through to retirement. My previous employment was also in insurance – CTP. 

BIA is a whole new ball game. Have learnt heaps & learning more each day.

What does a typical day look like for you and what are you currently working on? 

Gosh. Professionally a typical day for me & probably for all the lovely BSO’s Berkley Insurance Australia has is to upload the incredible array of submissions into Graile along with our other registered duties. Not often we have an opportunity to work on any particular subject as an extra to our regular duties. Privately I am working on my meagre size garden. 12 months ago I bought a townhouse & the garden needed a lot doing to it. This past weekend we cut down 1 of 2 trees that were just too big for the size of the yard. The other will be cut down in a couple of weeks. Then I will have fun re-landscaping it. I do like gardening so have not rushed this project while I gave it a lot of thought.

What are three words to describe Berkley Insurance Australia? 

1. Acknowledgement > I have never before worked for a corporation that acknowledges staff achievements as a team as much I have seen & experienced with Berkley Insurance Australia. It is a great feeling knowing that even though the BSO is at the bottom rung of the corporate ladder – so to speak – we are still acknowledged as much as an underwriter or higher.  

 2. Resilient > It is quite well known within the industry that BIA staff put their minds to the job when COVID-19 stuck it’s ugly nose into the world last year. We all went home & did our best & because we did it as a team we outshone other Insurers. This is because BIA had the practices already in place to continue giving prompt service to our client’s > The Broker. 

 3. Caring > Having Senior Management who are connected to the staff is refreshing. This is across the board. To have received phone calls while permanently working from home last year helped me to realise we are not in this alone. We are one. Just physically distanced.

What is something people in insurance have to deal with that you want to fix?  

I passed over this question a few times as it’s a hard one to answer. Not much we the BSO could fix but missing information at the outset is frustrating. The questions are there, they just need to be answered. This could be highlighted at Broker Functions, Seminars & the like.

What do you like most about working with brokers? 

As a BSO we don’t get to work with Brokers as much as the Underwriters but we do get to work up a rapport with some when they ask certain questions that we are able to answer within our authorities. Over time they too get to know us. It is also rewarding for the BSO when we can help with some of these questions & thus saving the Underwriter valuable time.

When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried? 

With this one, it is important to remember you can’t laugh about others if you can’t laugh about yourself. 

And since others are not around to refute any story I could tell I will give you one about myself. As many people knew it was my birthday in December & 2020 was a milestone one. Read the above stories to work it out! Well on the day, working from home & feeling a bit down because I wasn’t seeing anybody on that day I thought I’d treat myself. Well it started with getting a lovely frothy coffee at morning tea time as usual & as I was walking back up the stairs to my home office my foot caught on a stair riser & I spilt the coffee > on several steps……the wall….& me. Well, I had to clean that up & just as I was about to start this task the phone rang. It was a Broker & thankfully I didn’t need to get past the mess to complete that inquiry. So then I finished cleaning up & had ½ a coffee. Later at lunch, I thought I’d treat myself to some bubbles I had cooling in the fridge. Had a lovely 2 glasses with my self-made antipasto lunch. When I was putting a pressure bung into the top of the bottleneck (it was an old one) it broke but there was enough pressure built up in just a few very short seconds that when it broke the bubbles ended up on the ceiling….the floor…..the cupboard….&…..of course Me! Sticky everywhere. Well, I tell you I let out a few choice words. So I had to clean that mess up too. Easy to laugh at yourself. I have told a few people this & they all had a good laugh at my expense > I hope you did too.

What podcasts or books are listening/reading right now?

I’m not much into podcasts & those who know me know I am not tech-savvy. (I would be IT’s proverbial nightmare) I love to read real books & I am currently reading Ned Kelly by Peter Fitzsimmons. He does brilliant Australiana history novels. My favourite authors are John Grisham, Dan Brown, Lee Child, Bryce Courtney, Judy Nunn. 

I have just about all the books by these authors and from time to time I will re-read them. But my favourite story of all time is Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell. Both the book & the movie. Followed by Scarlett & then Rhett Butlers People (both of these 2 are not by M.M.)

What is your guilty pleasure? 

This is not so much a guilty pleasure but a pleasure none-the-less. I love dancing. I have been Rock’N Roll Dancing now for 4 years & love it. The style of clothing & listening to this great genre of music is wonderful. My Partner & I also do Old Time & New Vogue Dancing. We do this usually twice a week, sometimes 3 times. Yes, this means sequence dancing i.e. Black Night Tango, Honeysuckle Waltz, Roberta Saunter, Valentine Jive just to name a few. 

I recommend this form of exercise for anyone. Look it up you may be surprised by it if you haven’t already heard of it. And the above photo is a Rock’N Roll outfit that I wore to New Vogue for Valentine’s Day Dance recently. I won one of the 4 prizes.