New Zealand

Delta New Zealand graduate underwriter Kate Murray says she’s still a bit shocked being named by Insurance Business New Zealand magazine as one of its 28 “Rising Stars” in 2022. “I feel honoured to be among such a talented group.”

Kate joined Delta’s Singapore-based underwriter Jasper Hartono, who moved to Singapore from the New Zealand office, on the list of stars, which is open to young insurance professionals 35 years or under.

Kate joined Delta in 2020 encouraged by her father, an insurance broker himself, to enter the industry. “At high school I studied accounting and I started an accounting degree at university but realised halfway through that I wasn’t all that great at it and found pure accounting a bit dull. But I ended up focusing on management accounting and commercial law – and really enjoyed the commercial law side.”

“When it came to a career I didn’t want to go into accounting – but it was suggested I give insurance a go and Delta was singled out as the place to try for. I managed to get an internship here and loved it. Had I not had that awareness of the insurance industry and how it can be such a rewarding career, though, I might not have ended up here. I think universities should promote it more as a valid career for commerce graduates, in addition to banking and accounting.”

“For me the attraction is the variety within insurance. There’s a lot more to it than many people imagine. I’m never bored. You get out to meet brokers and clients, travel a fair bit – when there aren’t the COVID restrictions – and with underwriting you get to learn about so many different businesses and different sorts of business risk. You really hone your problem-solving skills.”

Kate says her accounting training has been very useful in her Delta role. “I think a knowledge of accounting and commercial law helps a lot in insurance – we often have to look over financial statements and understand how a business works.”

One of the highlights of her time at Delta so far was being asked by the management team to prepare a White Paper on medical malpractice risk and insurance in 2020, says Kate. “It was right up my alley; I love researching, and being able to put that together and publish it was something I’m really proud of. It was an awesome experience.”

Kate also joined the Young Insurance Professionals (YIPs) Australia and New Zealand committee. She came on in August 2021 as a committee member and was recently given the role as Head of Communications for the Auckland chapter. Kate is passionate about changing the so called ‘boring’ narrative of the insurance industry. “I think insurance can be an exciting career path for graduates and through YIPs I can help broadcast that”

Kate is looking forward to working her way into a more senior role at Delta and possibly travelling overseas to one of the Group’s offshore offices in the future. She would encourage young women to look at insurance as a career. “It’s an industry that women are really excelling in, after it has been a bit male-dominated in the past. There are some super-inspiring women in insurance.”

“It can still be a bit overwhelming and intimidating when you’re in a meeting and you’re the only woman there and maybe the youngest. But I think if you have the knowledge, you shouldn’t be afraid to speak up in meetings like that.”

Outside of the day job, Kate takes a clean break from the world of risk and finances, citing movies and reading – “I love fantasy novels” – as her favourite interests. She also has a passion for baking, even running a baking themed Instagram account.