This week Vivid Minds Vivid Futures interviews John Nash, the owner of Oracle Insurance Solutions. Oracle Insurance Solutions Pty Ltd find the best insurance cover at the most cost-effective premium for their clients and strive to be an advocate for their clients, especially when it comes to claims.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Although raised in Sydney, I had always had an interest in agriculture and studied Agricultural Economics and UNE. After graduating, I moved to Bellata and worked as a jackaroo, then back to Sydney where, after a short time in rural finance, I took up a position as an underwriter with Royal Insurance and then moved to broking, specialising in agricultural insurance. I have now been in the insurance industry for over 35 years. It’s been an excellent career which has taken me all over the world, including South America, China, North Korea and Thailand, to name a few. While living in Sydney I met my wife Fiona. We have been married for 32 years and have four children together.
What does Oracle Insurance Solutions do?
Oracle Insurance Solutions Pty Ltd is an insurance brokerage. Unlike an insurance agent who works for the insurance company, we are an agent for our clients. I know this is a subtle difference, but it is an important difference, particularly in both the scope of products and insurers I have access to, plus when it comes to claims, I am the clients’ advocate. I have access to the majority of domestic insurance as well as the international market, particularly in London, for hard to place risks.
I also offer life insurance through Oracle Life Solutions Pty Ltd, which complements the general insurance by giving a complete insurance solution to my clients.
When did you start your business?
Prior to moving to Armidale I had been working in Sydney first as a broker then as an underwriter with Allianz Insurance. Both Fiona and I had always been drawn to the country and in 2007 we eventually made the decision to move – but where? Armidale was a great choice for us as it has good transport links to Sydney and great school choices for our children. I had already lived here for a time when I studied at UNE and knew there were some good business opportunities, so took the plunge and started Oracle Insurance Solutions Pty Ltd from scratch.
I think it’s fascinating. It’s fascinating because I get an insight into a whole range of different businesses. Rarely do you get to see such a variety of businesses like I do. Offering both general and life insurance, you have an intimate knowledge of the operations of those small businesses. As an insurance broker, I find that I am also advising on risk management, business structure, contracts and cash flow, so it’s an all-encompassing role. When you put together an insurance program for a larger company and you must deal with reinsurance aspects as well, I find it fascinating. Home and contents insurance and motor insurance are pretty boring, but when you are dealing with management liability, general liability, it becomes fairly involved as you need to understand contracts and interpret the intention of policies and how they fit into a client’s business.
What have been some of your challenges in starting a business?
I suppose getting clients initially was a big challenge as I started from scratch. To do this I needed to understand what my point of difference was. Then it was a matter of getting my systems set up as well as fostering those all-important relationships with both clients and underwriters.
What do you like most about running your own business?
The need for self-motivation and making my own decisions plus the flexibility in life work mix it offers. There’s also the satisfaction of building something yourself. I particularly enjoy the interaction with so many interesting businesses.
What advice would you give a business just starting out?
Believe in yourself and understand what your product or service is. Understand your market, and what they want. Make sure you figure out the numbers straight away – you need to understand whether you can make a dollar from it.
What inspires you?
The fact that I am helping people. Clients are at their most vulnerable when they have had a loss and you get a good feeling when you know that you can provide them with the financial security they were seeking. It’s very satisfying when you see how grateful they are when things go well in a claim or you have got them a better deal with their insurance they never knew they could get.
What is your secret for success?
Being in touch with my clients, understanding them, and ensuring they know I am on their side. Supporting their business is key. Focus on my clients leads to both repeat business and referrals, which I am very grateful for.
What’s next for Oracle Insurance Solutions?
Over the next 5–10 years I want to consolidate the business and build it to a point where I know I can generate a reasonable income yet still offer the best service to my clients. I want to deal with clients to whom I know I can add value with my advice. Matching the range of insurance products with the ever-expanding style of businesses is a great challenge which I continue to enjoy.