Long-time work colleagues Rick Behague and Kerry McIntyre have stepped outside of the safety net of being employed to set up their own local insurance broker business.
Rick and Kerry have worked alongside each other in the insurance industry for 13 years, within large multinational firms and also a local independent broking company.
They always wanted to own a business and be in charge of their own destiny. 2018 appeared the perfect time to start establishing their business Insure Hawke’s Bay.
“It’s exciting times for us. In fact, there’s been a wide range of emotions and we’ve definitely stepped outside of our comfort zones, having been employed by other firms for many years,” says Rick.
Insure Hawke’s Bay will specialise in broking insurance for the business, residential and rural sectors. Its aim is to step away from the industry norm, modernise what is regarded as a very traditional sector, as well as up the game when it comes to client servicing.
“Insurance is often seen as a ‘grudge purchase’ or ‘necessary evil’, but we want to change that. We want to put some personality and fun into the transaction and not just tick the boxes when it comes to regulations. We want to be more relevant than that,” Rick says.
Kerry adds the duo complement each other both in regards to experience and knowledge. Kerry has a strong interest and vast experience insuring specialist heavy machinery such as earth moving equipment, excavators and diggers, or as he calls them, “big boys’ toys”.
Meanwhile, Rick has a background in insuring within the construction sector, from small trade businesses through to large construction firms.
“Just like good insurance, we cover each other in strengths and weaknesses. We have over 35 years’ combined experience in the industry. But if there is an area that we might need to find out more about, we have the support of the Insurance Advisernet and NZbrokers groups.”
As part of a wider network of brokers, Insure Hawke’s Bay has access to insurance products from well-respected insurers and business systems, as well as additional external expertise.
“It provides us with great buying power for insurance products, as well as the ability to design solutions that meet the needs of our clients. In other words, we’re not going to put our client in an off-the-shelf product, it’s going to be more tailored. Though cost is important, we put the emphasis on service and advice. This way our clients can make informed decisions,” Kerry adds.
Insure Hawke’s Bay sees the major difference of using a broker over going direct is that it will source the best cover and when the unfortunate time arises to make a claim, that the process is as smooth and stress-free as possible.
“One of the least understood parts of a broker’s role is the claims process, but to us it is the most important. We work for our clients,not the insurers.I t’s our job to get the most out of the policies should a claim occur,” Rick says.
As we went to print, Kerry and Rick had only been in business about a month but they’ve been thrilled with the response.
Both men are members of business referral network BNI and that has helped to quickly get the message out but also in utilising the skills of fellow members.
“We are local and I think that’s what gets lost by some of the larger insurance companies. We have made it a priority that wherever possible we will use local suppliers for our business.
“We are proud Hawke’s Bay residents and that was a key reason why we wanted to have the region’s name as part of our brand,” Kerry says.
Although the business is in its infancy, Kerry and Rick have big plans for growth.
“We might only be two brokers at the moment, but we want to be an employer of choice and we have ambitions to be a sizeable business. We want to attract great staff and know we can offer a fantastic working environment.
“We’ve hit the ground running and the response has been fantastic. Our aim is to lift the standard of client services to a new level. We have a stake in the ground with this being our own business and we want our clients to feel informed, secure and valued.”