Broker of the Year finalist for the Women in Insurance Awards Jaime James started her mortgage and insurance journey dealing with claims at EQC, before moving to work with a major insurance provider for approximately 13 months.
She then made the decision to go out on her own and build a brokerage, and thus SuperCity Mortgages & Insurance was born. The business has now grown into a team of seventeen, and advises on home loans and a range of family, asset and business protection plans. However, like most advisers, James never counted on making her career in the financial advice sector – something she thinks needs to change, starting with education in schools.
“I think a lot of people, and especially women, would do really well in this industry,” James told Insurance Business, sister publication of NZ Adviser. “But it’s not something that you’re taught about in school, so why would you have any reason to think “I want to go and be a financial adviser!”
“It really starts with the education we get at school,” she continued. “We get taught maths, science and how to get a job, but not how to manage money. Those fundamental things like the banking system, taxes, mortgages and insurance – these are life skills which should be taught, because once a child leaves school, there are so many things that they don’t know about, or they rely on parents to tell them how to navigate them.”
When it comes to working in financial advice, James says the role is so much more than what it first appears to be. With communication, rapport building and understanding at the core of an adviser’s job, James says the role is the perfect amalgamation for someone who is passionate about utilising all of those skills.
“I love communicating with people, meeting people and hearing their stories, and I just love to help people out,” James said. “That’s something that’s innate in me, and insurance happens to be a huge vehicle where I get to do all of these things. It’s also creative because you can’t cookie-cut clients, and you have to really build rapport and connect with people.”
“We’re all humans at the end of the day, and absolutely everybody has got a story,” she concluded. “That’s why I love doing what I do – everyone has different challenges and aspirations, and I get to help safeguard that.”