Meet Our Team | Paul Bleakley
Paul has been in the insurance sector for 28 years and has held varied positions across multiple international insurers in Australia. Starting his career as a broker he understands first hand what the client expects from an insurer and used this knowledge to progress into underwriting and national management roles. We sat down with Paul to find out where his journey in insurance began.
Paul had big aspirations after leaving university and was on the hunt for a graduate position at one of Australia’s top companies. He sent over 300 letters to companies with over 100 employees inquiring about their graduate roles. Paul recalls “I was interviewing for a couple of graduate roles – one with BBQ’s Galore and another with Alexander Stenhouse (a predecessor of what is now Aon) and I remember the discussion about how a business degree had a lot of application with being a financial lines broker. This sold it to me and I joined them as a trainee broker.”
After joining Aon, Paul spent a couple of years in Sydney followed by a transfer the Melbourne office to develop the portfolio with the local team. Then the travel bug hit and Paul spent the next couple of years exploring the world before returning to Sydney and settling in as a reinsurance broker looking after captives. After spending some time broking in reinsurance, Paul made the step into his first underwriting role, moving to an international insurer focusing on financial lines.
“I spent the next 7 years at that firm and undertook a number of roles including senior underwriter, northern region financial lines manager culminating in role as National Underwriting Manager.” Then Paul joined another international Insurance company and managed a team of underwriters in Australia and Singapore for a period of 6 years. “There were lots of cultural differences I learnt about during this time which built my appreciation for diversity”
He then moved on to another global insurer in their financial lines management team before joining Berkley Insurance Australia in 2016 as the leader of the Facilities team.
The Facilities business plays a large role within BIA and the team has continued to grow in the last few years. Paul has “a very collaborative team, my team consists of experienced underwriters who manage their own portfolios. Taking ownership of their portfolios is the critical success factor which we have developed.” The inclusive Facilities team utilises each other’s knowledge and experience to ensure superior service for their customers is a priority. Not only that “the team supports each other and has a lot of fun together.”
Collaboration and support play an important role to Paul’s leadership style he believes in giving his team independence to formulate their own approach whilst maintaining the short/long terms goals of the team. “I love a good chat about a risk and the theory of how the products have evolved over time and how the products can respond to a changing environment, this is one of my interests. My door is always open for the team to discuss matters/referrals with me however, since WFH this is now a combination of many web/phone calls.” At the core Paul and his team maintain their focus on providing expertise to their customers and building on relationships.
Paul says Berkley Insurance Australia “has the nimbleness of a small business while being supported by a global organisation. We run our own business in Australia and have the support of head office to respond to local issues.”
Paul and our national Facilities team are currently looking for a Senior Financial Lines Underwriter to join the team. For more information about our careers click here