Before Brokers Ireland there was IBA and PIBA and needless to say both organisations would keep a watchful eye on each other. In the latter days we collaborated on many things, indeed the original Brokers Ireland was a collaborative forum of the two associations however, in other ways we were rivals. Our membership base crossed in parts, despite both organisations being quite distinct, however we largely served the same constituent. So it is of no great surprise that when one association stole a march with a particular initiative, eyebrows would be raised in the other.
Having come from PIBA I distinctly recall becoming aware of the LPI Awards and thinking the other side had struck gold. This thought was confirmed on attending the inaugural event. Having attended the 2018 LPIs, the events fifth iteration, just recently, I hold the same opinion today.
With fear of being accused of nurturing hubris, I think our profession needs to celebrate itself. After all an industry dominated by middle-aged men in dark suits is unlikely to be celebrated by anyone else… but that’s to miss the point. We provide a genuine social service. Let us step back for a minute and think of the service we provide both in the insurance and financial service business. Think of the value we add as expert advisers to our clients in matters that are both complex and of enormous importance to them. In a claim situation, having cover in place for a business will often be a matter of that business continuing and all the implications that has to the broader economy, to the people employed and in turn its suppliers and customers. To an individual, having proper provision may be the difference between someone keeping their home or losing it, to being comfortable in later life or struggling. This is big stuff, we may all do it ‘for a living’ but when you get past the commercialism, we provide a deeply valuable social service. In brokerage we for the most part deliver this at community level. Whether this is the SME financial broker serving those in their locality or the corporate broker serving a particular industry with specific expertise and competence, it is hard to imagine functional and fair society without our stock and trade… and that’s to be celebrated.
Awards foster high performance. Nominees are assessed by esteemed members of their peer group, not on the basis of commercial performance but on a broad qualitative basis. Peer review is perhaps the highest bar; you’re scrutinised by those who can not only see and hypothesise but also actually genuinely understand. There is a reason why peer review sets the bar in academia. High performance is not something you can slap out of people or businesses for that matter, you cannot dictate, legislate or regulate for high performance. Sure you can set standards, impose regulations and these things have distinct merit but high performance demands more. You have to want it. It’s driven by analysis and competition. It’s set by me looking at you and deciding to be better, it’s about me understanding what you do and analysing how you do it and moving past that. In business, high performance is nurtured by competition and competition is driven by recognition. So here’s high praise for those who stepped forward to be scrutinised by their peers and said ‘I am’, said ‘look at me’ and said ‘I’m doing it better.’ What the LPIs fosters is pretty special; it drives the type of positive and progressive culture we should all embrace.
So to the award winners, well done, to the nominees well done and keep striving, it’s you guys with vision and drive that push beyond the norm and make us all strive to be better. This event is covered in detail on pages 12 and 13 of this issue.