Effective 1 October 2018, James Smorthwaite will be formally stepping down from his role as Australasian President of Young Insurance Professionals (YIPs), Australia & New Zealand Inc., to focus on the next stage of his career as an insurance broker with JLT.
YIPs are pleased to announce that James’ successor in the role of President will be current Australasian Vice President, Katie Stephenson, of Marsh, who was voted into the position during an AGM on 25 September 2018.
James Smorthwaite - Former President, YIPs Australia & New Zealand Inc.
Leading YIPs over the past 14 months has been an exceptionally rewarding experience, both professionally and personally. It has been my pleasure and privilege to work alongside the talented and ambitious young professionals that comprise our branch and Australasian committees.
The significant progress and growth we have achieved over the last year would not have been possible without the support of our generous sponsors, the hard work of our 11 YIPs committees across Australia & New Zealand, and the continued engagement of our vibrant membership. I would urge any young insurance professionals with an interest in developing their leadership skills, to apply for a position on their local branch committee.
I am delighted that Katie will be taking on the role of President; having been a part of our Australasian Committee for 5 years as Treasurer and then Vice President. Katie has demonstrated dedication, vision and passion for the organisation and its goals.
I wish Katie, YIPs, and all members the very best in future.
Katie Stephenson - President, YIPs Australia and New Zealand Inc.
These past 12 months has been a time of professional and personal growth for me and the decision to put myself forward for the role of President was not taken lightly.
Our organisation is powered by hundreds of volunteers who dedicate their time to give back to our industry. YIPs has grown from grass roots to now being the largest, not-for-profit insurance organisation for young professionals in Australia and New Zealand – something we are very proud to have achieved in 7 years.
As we close 2018 and enter a new year, we will continue to benefit our industry with new and exciting initiatives delivered with the same passion we are well known for. I am thrilled to be announced as the new President and look forward to continuing our success and prosperity throughout the market.
Young Insurance Professionals (YIPs) Australia and New Zealand Inc is the largest, independent and non-profit organisation for young insurance professionals in Australia & New Zealand. YIPs provides educational and networking opportunities for young professionals; to attract and retain talent by demonstrating how diverse, stimulating and sociable the insurance industry can be. Membership of YIPs is free.
Sydney, 28th July 2017 – Throughout the months of July and August, YIPs branches across Australia and New Zealand will hold events to welcome the 2018 Financial Year. The YIPs End of Financial Year events gave Young Professionals an opportunity to engage in an evening of networking drinks and canapés with their colleagues from various areas of the insurance industry.
Tickets for the events drew great interest, and in many cases sold out within weeks, if not days of release. The EOFY functions are keystone events in the YIPs calendar and are hotly anticipated by Young Professionals each year. The events have been a great success, with some branches still to hold their events in early August.
Sydney, 6th July 2017 – Effective from 1st July 2017, Andrew Shepherd will be retiring from his role as President of YIPs Australia and New Zealand as he pursues an exciting promotion in a leadership position within the Client Operations Division of Marsh. He wishes to focus his efforts on this new endeavour that will bring new responsibilities and demands to his role. Andrew will be succeeded by current Australasian Vice President and Sponsorship Officer James Smorthwaite of JLT Sydney, who was unanimously nominated and voted into the position last week by the YIPs Australasian Management Committee.
Andrew Shepherd, Former President, YIPs Australia and New Zealand
“During my 3 years in the management committee of YIPs and especially in my last year as President, we have achieved so much. We now have branches in Tasmania and Canberra as well as having forged connections with organisations in Canada and London under the International Young Insurance Professionals Network. I have also increased our management committee significantly to enable us to manage the organisation more effectively. In addition, we have devolved more funds to local branches to enable them to put on the best events for our members as well as creating a development fund to attract graduates and school leavers into the industry. I have led an overhaul of our website and branding which you will be seeing in the coming weeks.
I am personally delighted that James will be taking over at the helm, he has proved an excellent Sponsorship Officer and Vice President and passionately shares in my vision for the future direction of YIPs. I wish James and the team well.”
James Smorthwaite, President, YIPs Australia and New Zealand
We wish to sincerely thank Andrew for his keen support and dedication in leading YIPs over the past three years. I hope to continue to realise his vision of turning YIPs into the premier advocate for young professionals in insurance, and to undertake new initiatives to attract and retain fresh talent in our industry. We wish Andrew all the best in his new position.
Sydney, 31 March 2017 – On Wednesday night, the YIPs NSW branch hosted the inaugural ‘Fireside Chat’ event; an exclusive opportunity for a limited number of YIPs members to hear from a highly successful industry representative to gain insights into their experiences and career pathway. A limited ticket release saw approximately 60 people attend last nights’ event.
Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance (BHSI) proudly supported this Fireside Chat featuring Peter Eastwood, Global President and Chief Executive Officer on his visit from Boston, USA. Chris Colahan, BHSI President Australasia, joined Mr Eastwood to ask several questions around his 26 year journey in the global insurance industry, including his career at AIG and Lexington, through to then launching Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance.
A Q&A session followed giving the attending YIPs members the opportunity to ask Mr Eastwood questions about his early insurance career, his leadership style, finding work/life balance and his insights into opportunities for the industry over the next few years.
Drinks and canapés followed the Q&A session for attendees to network with their peers, Mr Eastwood, Mr Colahan and other BHSI employees that were present for the event.
As YIPs continues to see astonishing growth across all ten branches, a search was launched to further expand the YIPs Australasian Management Committee. The committee is composed of talented and ambitious individuals from around Australia and New Zealand that work tirelessly to ensure that YIPs is providing distinguished opportunities for young professionals in the industry.
A competitive recruitment campaign has resulted in 6 new professionals being welcomed into the YIPs Australasian Management Committee. The new recruits hold various roles within the insurance industry, and each bring their own unique ideas and skills to the table with the goal of continually enhancing the experience for over 6,500 YIPs members.
The Australasian President of YIPs Andrew Shepherd has shared his excitement about the newest additions to the management committee and what’s in store for 2017:
“I am delighted to have such an infusion of fresh talent and thinking into the strategic running of YIPs. An enlarged presence of loss adjusters and brokers as well as increased representation from both NSW and QLD at this level of the organisation are vital to support the organic growth YIPs has enjoyed in recent times. I am thrilled to work with our new recruits on some exciting projects, namely an overhaul of our website, creating presence in the graduate careers space and developing the YIPs brand internationally”.
We asked each of our newest Australasian Management Committee members to describe why they think YIPs is beneficial to the industry, and where they hope to contribute in their new roles.
Alex White (Technology Officer) – Hostsure Underwriting, QLD
YIPs unify the new generation that are entering this great industry and provides them with the opportunity to connect with the industry’s established professionals. This committee helps create a platform for the new generation to pave a future for themselves and establish themselves within the field. Being the IT officer allows me to bring new and exciting networking elements whereby young individuals (and those young at heart) can explore new career options and help bring together the different groups within the industry.
Chris Smith (Communications & Social Media Officer) – Cunningham Lindsay, QLD
The insurance industry is expansive in scope and includes a vast number of disciplines. From my experience, these are under-represented and young professionals often miss out on exciting insurance-based career paths through a lack of promotion by its existing fraternities. YIPs is a perfect platform in which to open up to young professionals and help them explore what the industry can offer: professionally, academically and socially.
Jackson McDonald (PR & External Media Officer) – GSA Insurance Brokers, NSW
The insurance industry has such a magnetic young professional culture, the innovation and hunger that young generations bring is truly exciting. YIPs fosters that potential and encourages the success of its members through leading education and networking facilitations. My goal is to demonstrate to post-grads and other professionals outside the industry that a career in insurance can be terrifically rewarding.
Kasun Jayarante (Communications & Social Media Officer) – AON, NSW
The insurance industry is not traditionally seen as a natural pathway for many young people. However, professionals in the industry frequently comment on how both professionally and personally rewarding their career has been and YIPs community provides a great way to build a collegiate culture between young people in the industry. I look forward to fostering further engagement between the YIPs and the industry to promote insurance as a vibrant career path for talented young professionals.
Maddie Zali (Events & Engagement Officer) – Brooklyn Underwriting, NSW
Just like a multitude of my Insurance Industry counterparts the (excessively used) statement ‘I fell into Insurance’ applies to me perfectly. However what I noticed in the last few years is that similar to myself there is a plethora of University graduates every year that ‘discover’ the Insurance Industry during their quest for a career in an Industry they deem to be more desirable. My goal for getting involved with young professionals via the well-established platform created by YIPs is to work towards changing the mindset of future young professionals. I would like for the future generation in this Industry to move away from thinking Insurance is just a means to an end or a fallback career and instead actively want to work in the Industry because of how diverse, rewarding and exciting it is!
Sylvia Quang (Communications & Social Media Officer) – HWL Ebsworth Lawyers, NSW
There is always a variety of roles available in the insurance industry and it is constantly evolving. However despite its diversity, the insurance community continually maintains an open collegiate environment which supports career development, business networking and up to date education. YIPs provides access to experience and know-how from a group of like-minded young professionals which can be instrumental to personal and professional growth. My aim is to facilitate easier and faster engagement between YIPs and its members to ensure we are keeping up with our members' needs and continuing to grow as a young professionals' industry body.
Following a successful 2016, YIPs has big plans to offer further education and networking opportunities for its members throughout Australia and New Zealand with the opening of two new branches. The ACT and Tasmania now have local committee representation, which results in YIPs having a presence in every Australian state and territory. YIPs is proud to introduce Lara Douglas as the ACT Branch President and Declan McShane as the Tasmanian Branch President. Both Lara and Declan, as well as the new local committees, are enthusiastic about providing professionals the networking and education benefits other YIPs members have enjoyed around Australia and New Zealand. Lara and Declan share some insight into the founding of the two newest branches, as well as the exciting prospects to come in 2017.
Lara Douglas, Australian Capital Territory Branch President
I’ve been a member of YIPs in NSW for a number of years when working as a claims officer. Upon moving to Canberra, I found there was a gap in the insurance industry that a YIPs ACT branch could fill. I approached the YIPs Australasian Committee in November 2016 for approval and support to found an ACT branch and the Australasian committee gave its approval. We’ve since approached Lisa Sherman, (HWL Ebsworth) and Alison Robertson (Allianz) to form a committee. New members joined the committee in early 2017, including Tennille Jorgensen (Aon); Emily-Rose Clark (Allianz); and, Karina Grimshaw (CGU). The committee organised for me to speak at the annual Insurance Dinner held at Hotel Realm earlier in February. Following the Insurance Dinner, YIPs ACT gained many members and the committee welcomed Andrew Shepherd of Rehabilitation Services by Altius. The YIPs ACT Committee is now preparing for its launch event in July 2017 – stay tuned!
Declan McShane, Tasmania Branch President
I attended a YIPs function in Melbourne where I spoke to Andrew about opening up a branch in Tasmania. He then followed me up and started to put the wheels in motion to get it up and running. I then approached others to organise the committee. My main hope is that it generates a large interest and promotes the insurance industry as a great career choice for other young people who might not know the career options available. For the coming year I would like to hold an event each quarter and to gain more traction with each event to boost numbers. I really want to set the foundations for the branch so it can be a success in the state for years to come.