Sponsored by Gold Seal, AIMS and Steadfast

Supported by Lloyds

AIMS, Gold Seal and the Steadfast Group were delighted to announce the winner of the Valerie Baker Memorial Award at a special event hosted by Lloyd’s on 11 September in Sydney attended by senior executives and leading lights from throughout the industry. The Valerie Baker Memorial Award recognises excellence in professional practice in the General Insurance Intermediary sector across Australia and New Zealand.

The winner is James Dunk of Dunk Insurance in regional NSW.

Regional New South Wales gave us this year’s winner, with the judges being impressed by James’ track record and commitment to his local community around Young, NSW. His core values of honesty, integrity, caring, respect and commitment combined with his attitude, enthusiasm and entrepreneurial spirit have earnt him the respect and admiration of his peers, customers and insurance providers.

He frequently goes above and beyond to help his community including borrowing a motorbike to move cattle from toxic spillage, spending all night sweeping water from shops after a storm and using a front loader to remove fallen water tanks from rooftops. After one particular storm, he was to be found walking the streets of a remote township lodging claims for residents regardless of their Insurer or intermediary.

The other highly commended finalists were:

Amanda Morris
Amanda is a director of ARMA Insurance Group, and an AR of Community Broker Network. Her passion for insurance is evident and her commitment to leadership is unquestionable. She also has a stated aim to “assist, inspire and educate women in the industry to be market leading”. A remarkable example of hard work and true grit.

Fintan Magee
Fintan has 25+ years in the insurance industry. He has an extensive background in the insurance industry and co-founded the Gallivan Magee brokerage. Eventually, selling the business to Steadfast, he then joined Network Brokers in Melbourne. Currently, he occupies the General Manager role there and continues to impress clients and Insurers alike with his knowledge of his clients’ businesses and technical understanding of Broking in all its aspects.

Kim Matthews
Kim is a successful Insurance Broker with 30+ years in the insurance industry. In 2007, Kim founded Rothbury’s Hawkes Bay (NZ) branch which she has led to become their most successful and highly awarded branch. She is a respected mentor to her team and colleagues and a longstanding contributor to both her employer and her community.

Rocco Pirrello
Rocco is the Marketing and Communications Executive at GSA Insurance Brokers and the Platform Lead at insuresME and Cost Cover. Whilst he has had substantial experience in an underwriting role at Brooklyn, he quickly branched his career into the business aspects of the industry and it is there his main interest lies.

James will receive a career enhancing opportunity to see first-hand how the London Market operates, including:

  • Expenses-paid trip to London – business class air fares and accommodation
  • An education experience tailored to the winner’s special interests
  • Career enhancing meetings and networking with key underwriters and brokers
  • Thorough familiarisation of Lloyd’s of London and meeting with senior managers

In addition, Rocco will also be going to London, courtesy of GSA (his employer), and Lloyd’s, where he will also attend the Lloyd’s Global Development Centre on one of their Emerging Risks programmes. GSA’s Chief Executive Officer, Paul Hines, agreed with the judges in wanting to recognise Rocco’s talent and initiative in the industry to date and encourage his career development.

Kim Matthews, our first finalist from NZ, will also be provided with development opportunities whilst in Sydney for the Award presentation through coaching and mentoring from Lloyd’s Australia and Steadfast.

Sheila Baker, Managing Director Gold Seal said, “I like to think we’re creating a sort of “alumnus”, of Award winners and finalists who will gain access to career enhancing opportunities. So, even if they don’t win the main Award, they still gain significant advantages for their efforts.”

“I know James and Rocco will be standard bearers for our industry in London. I can’t wait to see what they will bring back to help their businesses and community from their time over there. The finalists, and indeed all the nominees, this year represented all the things that are good about Australian and New Zealand intermediaries. It’s a good news story in these difficult times for the industry and I find their achievements quite humbling.” Baker added.

Award nominations were shortlisted and the finalists interviewed by the judging panel. The panel consisted of Chris Mackinnon, General Representative Lloyd’s Australia, Jim Rudkin, Chairman of Steadfast Insurance Brokers Pty Ltd and Steadfast Underwriting Agencies Pty Ltd, representing the Steadfast Group, Martin McAvenna, representing the AIMS Group and Sheila Baker, Managing Director of Gold Seal.

Recognising the judges, Ms Baker stated, “This cross-industry award is only possible due to the support from AIMS and Steadfast as well as Lloyd’s. The judges have again been very giving of their time and industry knowledge.”

The nominees were judged on criteria that centred around – ethics and values, business success, client relationships, teamwork, innovation, entrepreneurship, and industry contribution.