Reflection on a decade: An interview with Naz Keshavarzi

This year marks 10 years for Naz Keshavarzi in her role as Head of Insurer Placement.

To celebrate this milestone, Naz took a moment to reflect on the last 10 years — how it started for her, her experience, and some key lessons she has learnt in her career.

Can you tell us about your background and role at The Insurance Octopus?

“My background has always been in sales, operations, and insurance broking. When I first started working at The Insurance Octopus, I actively worked on leads myself, whether that involved speaking to customers over the phone or in person if they were local.

At the time, we were trading in some good insurance markets, but we didn’t have the flexibility to do what the business wanted to. I encouraged the business to go direct to insurers before going to managing general agents (MGAs) earlier in the process. This helped us to establish a strong insurer network and meant we could use other insurers to accommodate businesses that wouldn’t otherwise have fitted with us.

Now, in essence, my role is to proactively build and maximise relationships with our insurer base. I make it my priority to ensure we have the right panel of insurers and product for any new customers that come to us.”

How has The Insurance Octopus changed throughout the years?

“We’ve developed and grown significantly over the past 10 years. We’ve gone from strength to strength, grown our product ranges and further established our insurer network.

We were acquired by the Verastar Group in 2016. This was a big change for us. It’s exciting to be a part of the Verastar Group – our products complement the wider group and being a part of the group has strengthened Verastar’s position as a multi-service provider, while helping us to grow.

The internal business teams have been restructured and we have seen significant growth in the number of colleagues. We now have around 100 colleagues across the business.”

In the last 10 years, what changes have you seen in the insurance industry?

“Over the past decade, the insurance market has become more digital and customer-centric, they increasingly face a variety of challenges in a more unpredictable environment. These trends have enabled the insurance market to attract diverse talent and create new opportunities for people.

I think the insurance industry has made some progress in being more inclusive. There is still a long way to go, but I am seeing positive changes at senior level within the industry.”

What are some of the key lessons you have learnt throughout your career?

“One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is how valuable connections with other people can be. Whether it’s with a professional colleague, friend, or family member, each relationship you develop can add another beam of support to what you’re building for yourself.”

What excites you the most about working at The Insurance Octopus?

“As a long-time colleague of The Insurance Octopus, it’s exciting to see our teams grow. The people who work here care about their jobs and are dedicated to making a positive impact. During the last decade, I’ve been fortunate to work with lots of talented people, some of whom have moved on to new roles and careers, while others remain part of The Insurance Octopus’ journey.”

What has been your biggest achievement?

“I’m proud to have been part of the growth of The Insurance Octopus and to have helped us get our name out in the market. It’s also been great to make connections with both major and niche insurers. We’ve received several awards for our success and it’s wonderful to hear people mention us at networking events.”

If you could go back in time, what’s one piece of advice you would give yourself 10 years ago?

“If I could go back in time, I would tell myself to keep calm and not let doubt get the best of me.

Don’t be afraid to try new things, even if there’s a chance of failure. As you approach challenges, you may make mistakes or experience setbacks. But don’t regret these missteps; instead, learn from them.

It’s about being curious and open to experiences. I like to follow the mantra: don’t regret what you do—only regret what you don’t do.”

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