THE INSURANCE APPRENTICE WINNER IS...
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
[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.