• Elrene Koch

THE INSURANCE APPRENTICE WINNER IS...


The 2021 Insurance Apprentice Winner : Fiona Fitzpatrick

A big congratulations to Fiona Fitzpatrick, who was announced as the 2021 Insurance Apprentice on Thursday, 19 August 2021!


The IIWC met with Fiona to discuss the experience.


[IIWC] You have an impressive resumé. Starting as an Admin Assistant at Hospitality and

Leisure and then working your way up to be the Managing Director at your own

Brokerage – IF Administrators. Tell us about your journey to get to where you are

now?


[FF] My formal working experience came from the start-up of H&L which occurred at the

same time that I finished school. Working for a small business in a start-up phase

really fuelled my love for the launch phase of a business or perpetual ‘launch

mode’. Although this was my formal introduction to the workplace – this is not my

first experience with business or the insurance industry.


I am fortunate to have grown up in an insurance-driven environment and with this,

I’ve been lucky to have my dad, John Fitzpatrick as a role model business mentor.

For those that do not know my Dad, John - he has been involved in various aspects

of short-term insurance in the South African market for longer than I’ve been alive

and, for the latter part of his career, he has been involved in setting up various

successful underwriting managers – one of which he is still involved in today. I hope

I carry some of John’s business acumen in all that I do.


After I left H&L, I moved from underwriter to broker at a specialist bloodstock

broker in Cape Town called Kuda. Whilst I was there, I had countless calls from

brokers who I used to work within the underwriting environment that needed

assistance or a home for their business and that was the catalyst to launch IF, which

is a non-life brokerage focussing on specialist business insurance.


The future is here and change is always on the horizon but I have no doubt

whatever direction I take it will be still an all-encompassing journey into developing

myself and furthering my career in insurance whilst changing many lives along the

way – those that work with me and those clients that we serve.

 

[IIWC] This is always a question I must ask (and the answer is mostly the same) – Did you

choose Insurance or did Insurance choose you?


[FF] It’s safe to say that I chose insurance when I started my own business within the

insurance industry. There were times when I was younger that I teetered on the

edge of not pursuing this as a career and I wasn’t sure I didn’t want to do this for a

living. I always feel that you go back to your roots when you are not sure and my

roots are definitely firmly rooted in the industry, considering I did homework on

boardroom tables of corporate insurance companies.


I believe that the ultimate decision was to start IF, put my money where my mouth

is and make a commitment to my craft and make the perpetual mark on the

industry which has ultimately always been my life by venturing into the business

owner space and really committing to making a change.

 

[IIWC] Due to our challenging COVID times, the Insurance Apprentice was done virtually

this season. Do you feel any of the excitement was lost? Do you feel you have

managed to get the same experience as you would have if we were able to do

things the good old way – face to face?



[FF] Many people have asked me this – and I don’t really know because I haven’t

experienced it in person. The amazing thing about the virtual environment was that

everyone was very respectful of each other, even in the heated preparation time. If

someone was talking, no one spoke over them. Considering that there were some

very anxious, excited and nervous contestants – I do believe if we were in person

that there would have been some talking over each other which could have created

some personality clashes, but for the most part – I truly believe that it was an

incredible way for the show to be put together. It would have been awesome to

meet the contestants and to be able to say a proper goodbye rather than just

losing someone when they got dismissed – but overall, I think it came together the

way it was intended. When I watched the production, I was so surprised that it

didn’t feel like one long virtual meeting.

 

[IIWC] What made you decide to enter the Insurance Apprentice?


[FF] A few gentle nudges from my business coach as well as a few industry colleagues –

I ultimately thought I don’t have anything to lose and I feel I know a few things

about what I do, so it was time to try and test that knowledge in a practical way.

 

[IIWC] Where to from here? What other goals do you have planned for your career?

[FF] I’ve been so fortunate to have won so many incredible prizes, so thanks to the

sponsors of the show I will be dusting off my textbooks and hit them hard to up

level my skill set and knowledge.


I have a feeling the future will hold a new venture, as I’ve said, I love a challenge so

perhaps another start-up but one day and one business at a time… I will hopefully

change the world in my own little way.

 




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