- The Stephen Ball Memorial Award is presented to the Insurance Broker of the Year at the annual NIBA Convention
- For past winners Shelley Hymas and Lisa Carter, the award has raised their profiles and helped boost their businesses
- Entrants must be nominated; the closing date for 2021 nominations is 14 March.
To be formally recognised as the best in your industry is a hugely valuable accolade and honour.
In the world of insurance broking here in Australia, that accolade comes in the form of the QBE-sponsored NIBA Stephen Ball Memorial Award for Insurance Broker of the Year.
So what did it mean for past winners? For 2020 winner Shelley Hymas, Director of Phoenix Insurance Brokers in Como, Western Australia (on right), and 2019’s Broker of the Year Lisa Carter, Managing Director of Clear Insurance in Ascot, Queensland (on left), the award has been beneficial to their businesses. They also found networking opportunities increased and their reputation and profile grew within the industry and their own communities.
“It was incredibly humbling to have so many people reach out both personally and professionally to congratulate me on the win, which I really appreciated,” says Hymas.
“It has also elevated my profile within our industry and more locally in our community, which has been very positive.”
Carter, who in 2019 became the first woman to win the award, tells a similar story.
“It was a huge honour, and winning increased my perceived credibility and reputation. I’m continually asked to contribute to articles and news stories, and my profile’s certainly increased - to the benefit of my business.”
Celebrating the best
The award is named in memory of former NIBA President and JLT Chairman Stephen Ball, who suffered a sudden fatal heart attack in 2015, aged just 59.
It recognises the country’s best brokers; those who have demonstrated professionalism within the industry, as well as excellence in their day to day work.
In addition to claiming the illustrious title of broker of the year, the prize includes $20,000 to invest in professional development.
“Winning the award gave me the opportunity to do the ANZIIF reinsurance international study course, which gave me a lot of knowledge I otherwise wouldn’t have had,” says Carter.
Continuing professional development is a fundamental part of both Hymas’ and Carter’s approach, and ensures they continue to evolve and develop as professionals and business owners.
“Anyone advising customers should be committed to constantly improving their professional knowledge and development, and to have the prize money to invest in further study was fantastic and such a help,” says Carter.
While continually enhancing your knowledge in the industry is important, so is the quality of the relationships you develop.
“As a broker, our clients are at the centre of everything we do,” says Hymas.
“Winning the award gave my profile an added boost and helped me grow and develop relationships. Maintaining strong working relationships with insurers ensures that we provide the best outcomes for our clients, whether that’s in the initial placement stage or when needing to make a claim.”
The importance of taking part
The nomination and judging process for the award, which consists of five individual regional awards and one national award, is also an opportunity to get a different perspective on your business.
“The process I went through – the interviews, networking and judging – was enjoyable too,” says Carter.
“I met lots of fantastic people and it pushed me out of my comfort zone. I learnt so much from the experience.”
So what can you do to stand out from other nominees? According to Carter, it’s all about being yourself and not being afraid to share who you are and why you love being a broker.
“Consider talking about yourself outside of being a broker, share what community and personal interests drive you,” says Carter.
Brokers need to be nominated for the award, and entries for this year’s Stephen Ball Memorial Award – which will be presented at the NIBA Convention on 11 – 12 October – close on 14 March.
If you know a stand-out broker who deserves to be recognised, don’t hesitate in nominating.