WA Broker of the Year and Young Broker of the Year Award finalists announced

NIBA is proud to announce the Western Australian finalists for the QBE sponsored 2022 Broker of the Year and the Vero sponsored Young Broker of the Year Awards.

Written on 22 June, 2022
Amy Cai

NIBA is proud to announce the Western Australian finalists for the QBE sponsored 2022 Broker of the Year and the Vero sponsored Young Broker of the Year Awards.

NIBA CEO Philip Kewin said, “I would like to congratulate Derek, Frans, Jade and Sumit for reaching the final stages of the WA 2022 Broker of the Year award, and to our WA 2022 Young Broker of Year award finalists – Cameron, Nikita and Selena. I wish all the finalists the best of luck.

“I would also like to thank our sponsors QBE and Vero for their continued support of these awards. Their support is critical in providing a platform to recognise the amazing talent in our profession,” he added.

 

Finalists for the WA Broker of the Year award:

Derek Ford, Director, FordSure

 After struggling to find a job out of university during a recession in the United Kingdom, Derek’s career in insurance began with him commencing a role at the insurance company his father worked at.

Despite falling into insurance, Derek grew to love and appreciate the importance of insurance and its impact across so many industries.

In 2000, he relocated to Perth and made the switch to insurance broking. From 2014-2018, he worked in Papua New Guinea (PNG), where he managed, grew and helped win some of Aon’s largest accounts in the country.

Upon returning from PNG, Derek started his own brokerage FordSure, an Authorised Representative of Insurance Advisernet, where he focuses on servicing SME clients challenged with understanding or obtaining insurance. Starting from nothing, the business now has nearly 300 clients and a year-on-year growth of 30%.

“This award isn’t just about me – it’s a celebration about the industry, and a culmination of hard work from so many individuals.

“I hope that by becoming a finalist of the WA Broker of the Year award, I can use my voice to celebrate the award and profession, not just within the industry but outside of it as well.

“The awards are a fantastic opportunity for us to show off the broking industry to the rest of the country. They allow those outside of broking to see just what makes our profession so rewarding and so valuable to society.”

 

Frans du Plessis, Director, Grace Insurance

Frans’ career in insurance began while he was studying law at university in South Africa. Needing to pay off his university fees, he started working part-time as a junior broker.

After seeing how rewarding a career in insurance could be, he decided to pursue a full-time role in broking.

In 2008, he immigrated to Australia from South Africa and decided to change careers and own a few clothing stores instead. After realising that he missed the challenges and opportunities of insurance broking, he felt inspired to return to insurance.

In 2015, Frans started his own brokerage, Grace Insurance, and has grown his business across multiple states over the past seven years.

“Becoming a finalist of the WA Broker of the Year award proves to me that I am on the right career path.

“It also means so much to my business, giving me an uplift in recognition across new markets that I’m hoping to expand my business to.

“I also hope that this award will allow the younger generation to be inspired by the recognition and achievements of others, to see the opportunities in this industry, and to also strive for excellence as well.”

 

Jade Lyons, Director, JL Insurance Brokers

Jade’s career in insurance began 19 years ago, when she accepted a receptionist position at an insurance company.

It wasn’t long before she built an interest in insurance and progressed into a support role at the firm. After two years spent building up her knowledge in insurance, she was approached to work at an insurance brokerage.

She spent several years working her way up to a senior broker position and finetuning her technical expertise, before finally taking the next step and starting her own brokerage as an authorised representative in 2019.

In 2021, she decided to officially put her name on the door, creating JL Insurance Brokers.

“The WA 2022 Broker of the Year Award has provided a platform for me to share my success story as a female role model.

“Through being a finalist for this award, I hope to motivate other professionals to strive towards their goals, and to support and mentor others within the industry.

“I am very passionate about mentoring and collaborating with other women to help them build confidence and achieve their own success. I believe that this is instrumental to me achieving my own success, and it furthermore sets an example for my daughter, showing her that anything is possible when you apply yourself.”

 

Sumit Sopori, Managing Director, Imperium Insurance & Financial Solutions

Sumit’s career began in claims management for a major insurer. After four years, he was offered the opportunity to work for a major brokerage – an opportunity that he didn’t hesitate to jump at.

In 2016, after building his experience with various brokerages, he decided to start his own brokerage firm.

Over the past six years, he is extremely proud of growing his business in the face of Australia’s hard insurance market.

As a speaker of many languages and dialects, Sumit also takes pride in his business’ ability to embrace multiculturalism and provide excellent customer service for clients of all cultural backgrounds.

“I am honoured and humbled to be a finalist of the WA Broker of the Year award.

“To me, it is a recognition of my hard work and the consistent effort that my team and I have put towards our clients.

“It is an honour to contribute towards the industry and work alongside like-minded professionals.”

 

Finalists for the WA Young Broker of the Year award:

Cameron Gaspar, Senior Associate – Construction, Lockton Companies

Cameron had always aspired to become an insurance broker, having seen up close the passion and camaraderie of the industry through the eyes of multiple generations in his family.

At 18, he commenced his career in insurance, initially working in Perth before moving to Melbourne and then Karratha. While there, he worked his way up to Regional Manager, where he experienced leading a branch for the first time, and most notably was on the ground to support claims in the local community in the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Damien in 2020.

In 2021, he moved back to Perth, commencing a new position with Lockton Companies where he currently supports the management of several key clients, including ASX-listed corporations and multi-national organisations.

“I strongly believe in the advocacy services and representation that NIBA provides for the profession.

“Both the Young Broker of the Year and Broker of the Year awards are a mark of NIBA’s professionalism and commitment to the industry. Both awards carry a high level of prestige, so being named as a finalist for the WA 2022 Young Broker of the Year award is an exciting and honourable achievement for me.

When you look at the alumni of the previous award winners, they are the leaders of our great profession, which is absolutely one of my career ambitions.”

 

Nikita Piil, Client Manager – Mining and Construction, Aon

Nikita was first inspired to pursue a career in insurance broking while she was working in claims investigation, where she got to hear her senior colleagues share stories about their ‘broking days’.

When she was recommended for a broker’s assistant position through her connections, she was thrilled to take the opportunity and has never looked back.

Over the years, Nikita’s passion for insurance, and her determination to learn from key mentors, has enabled her to develop into a young professional leader in the industry.

In 2020, she launched an internal company initiative ‘Women in Insurance’, a program that aims to strengthen the collaboration and creativity among women in her workplace, which she spent six months personally researching and developing.

“If my present and past colleagues or industry connections were to describe me, they would note my obsession with Allan Manning, being an ‘insurance nerd’, and lastly, attest to my decade-long fixation with one day being considered worthy of being nominated for this award, let alone to have made it as a WA finalist.

“This candidacy is an extremely rewarding acknowledgement, for all the hard work, devotion, determination, sacrifices and late nights I have dedicated to ensure I consistently provide my clients with the highest levels of integrity and service.

“It is not only my work, but also the prodigious work of my peers that has also been recognised as finalists.

“Contrary to the norm of falling into the industry, I chose to be in insurance, and I’m so proud to be a part of such a fascinating and truly rewarding industry.”

 

Selena Piggott, Managing Principal, Marsh

14 years ago, Selena was stuck on university course selections and decided to defer university for a year and build some life experience. She took on an administration position at a firm close to where she lived, and this firm just so happened to be a brokerage.

After meeting clients, insurers and brokers through the role, she quickly learnt to love the industry and decided to pursue a career in broking.

She is passionate about professional development and learning in her workplace, organising ‘Lunch and Learn’ sessions in the Perth office and taking the role of Social Club Committee Treasurer and Chair at Marsh for nine years.

Selena is also proud to give back to her community, participating and organising volunteering for dinner clubs at the Mary Chester Respite Centre – a centre which provides support and respite for families and carers of people living with dementia, as a part of Alzheimer’s WA.

“I am extremely proud to be a finalist of the WA Young Broker of the Year. The nomination in itself was very humbling and the process has been an extremely rewarding experience. Compiling the submission, it allowed reflection on my career to date. Speaking with insurers and clients on the nomination was daunting, but it was lovely to hear their feedback. The interview panel was extremely exciting, the questions asked triggered some great inflection and the experience has given me a push to review my goals.

“I hope to use the nomination to share all the great things that our industry does, and what incredibly dynamic and interesting careers are available.”

 

The winners of both awards will be announced on Friday 8 July, at the NIBA WA Gala Lunch held at Crown Perth.

For those unable to attend the Gala Lunch, award winners will also be announced via NIBA’s LinkedIn page.