What makes a great youth employer?


Tom Bartlett

Home Claims Manager, AA Insurance

After AA Insurance won the industry awards for Youth Insurance Professionals Employer in 2016, and was recognised as a finalist this year, Home Claims Manager Tom Bartlett reflects on what makes a great employer for those aged 35 and under.

I recently read an article that said over a 50-year working life, 35% of our waking hours will be spent at work.  I don’t know about you but I had never really thought about this before, but the more I do the more I come to realise how much impact having the right job with the right company has on your life. 

Some of us are just starting our working life while others are near the end of it. I’m closer to the start than the end, albeit not by much mind.  So it’ll be exciting to see what I can achieve in the next 30 years, but also a little daunting, especially as I work in the insurance industry. Oh, I hear you say, ‘that’s pretty boring and stale with not much changing in the future, right?’

Well, sorry, that’s not right. I, along with those who work in insurance, can hand on heart tell you that is not the case and the insurance industry can actually be quite exciting, challenging and dynamic, as well as open the doors to a great long-term career. 

I’ve been working in insurance for nearly 10 years and have only ever worked for AA Insurance, starting when I moved over from the UK at the age of 25. I know I came into the insurance game later than many of my fellow youth – which is 35 and under as categorised by the New Zealand Insurance Industry - but everyone else seems to fall into it in their late teens so I can’t even use the excuse of being young and naïve as to why I decided to get into insurance. But during that time I have had an amazing journey.  The passion and energy everyone has to help customers is something I have not witnessed in other industries I have worked in. However the thing that really has kept me at AA Insurance is the support and development I’ve received.  

Last weekend I was told by a friend, who’s a manager in a different industry, that when you train someone up you should only tell them most of what you know and not all of what you know because they’ll end up taking your job. I cannot disagree with that statement enough, and in fact told them so and then continued to share my belief that I want the people around me to know as much as I know and where possible push them to learn and know more than I do.  

It’s no good having one person who holds all the knowledge, with everyone else just following, as that’s a recipe for disaster when the key knowledge holder isn’t there.  Instead, when knowledge is shared and you develop and support others to not only rise to your level but to surpass it, is when you will experience a truly great working environment and company. 

This is what I believe we have at AA Insurance. If you think it’s important to develop staff, as I do, then it’s even more important to develop younger people who are starting their career and need to be driven and  shown what they are capable of.  I have had many great leaders at AA Insurance and it has now set the tone for my working life and is something I  try to do at every opportunity. 

This is not the reason why so many under 35-year-olds come to work for AA Insurance, however I believe it’s one of the main reasons why so many stay and thrive at AA Insurance. But you don’t have to take my word for it; the stats make it hard to deny!

  • 80% of our people under 35 are in operational roles, mainly Distribution, Claims and Underwriting
  • 20% of staff under 35 moved into new roles during the year
  • 10% of staff under 35 were promoted during the year
  • 16% of staff under 35 are in Team Leader, Specialist or Manager roles
  • Only 5% of our entire workforce is over 50

While this is the last year I can say I’m part of AA Insurance’s 35-and-under group, I’m proud of what we do to help develop, support and drive the future leaders of AA Insurance and the insurance industry. I believe that anyone looking to start a career in the financial industry will be hard pressed to find a more exciting and rewarding industry than insurance or a better company to help develop and succeed.


About AA Insurance

AA Insurance is an independently operated, New Zealand-based joint venture between the New Zealand Automobile Association (NZAA) and Vero Insurance New Zealand Limited (VINZL). Since 1994 we have demonstrated trusted expertise in home, contents and car insurance in New Zealand, and in 2018 introduced commercial small business insurance. We underwrite our own policies and sell direct to New Zealanders. Our more than 720 staff look after over 410,000 customers with around 800,000 policies.

We proudly partner with Eden Park, support youth charity Blue Light, and have been consistently recognised by: Reader’s Digest Most Trusted Brands (since 2011), IBM Kenexa Best Workplaces Survey (since 2008), Canstar Blue Most Satisfied Customers (2011-2018), and the Colmar Brunton Corporate Reputation Index (since 2015) that recognises New Zealand’s most successful companies.

AA Insurance has an A+ (Strong) Insurer Financial Strength Rating given by Standard and Poor’s (Australia) Pty Ltd. For further information visit aainsurance.co.nz.

For more information please contact:

Nicole Steven, Botica Butler Raudon Partners, (09) 303 3862, 021 025 31886 or email nicoles@botica.co.nz

Amanda Fifield, AA Insurance Limited, (09) 927 2085 or email Amanda_Fifield@aainsurance.co.nz

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