Yes, you read that right. 46 years at IAG and we couldn’t be more proud to have Karl Armstrong as part of our team. In his 46 years of service, Karl has been across different senior roles at IAG companies. We chat to him about his recent ANZIIF Lifetime Achievement Award, career highlights, and what he does in his free time. He even dropped some career wisdom and you know it’s going to be good – he’s only had 46 years of experience behind him!
Hi Karl! Congratulations on your lifetime achievement award. How does it feel?
It feels great. To be acknowledged for doing my job is always good but to acknowledge a lifetime of work is pretty special. I feel very honoured to receive this.
Can you tell us more about your role with IAG? 46 years at IAG – wow! You must have some stories! In a nutshell, can you tell us about the roles you’ve been in and how you started?
I joined IAG from college in Nelson branch and was asked to participate in the UK training scheme. This was where 2 people each year were sent to the UK for 18 months as a major development opportunity. 18 months turned into 18 years as I met Jane, married and had 2 boys. My time in the UK saw me go to Birmingham and Leeds to run our branches there. That was just before General Accident in the UK bought NZI, both in Australia and New Zealand. I returned to NZ in 1994 as Wellington Broker Manager and quickly came to Auckland to set up the BONUS operation followed by CPF. In 1997 I was asked to set up the Accident Insurance division following the privatisation of ACC. This lasted for 1 year before a change of Government where it was re-nationalised. I then became EGM Underwriting and this was at the time we were purchased by IAG in 2002/3. In 2008 I took on the role of Head of NZI a position I held for 6 years to then move into the CRO role. Then back to the future running NZI.
At various stages I have been lucky enough to be offered development opportunities which took me to London Business School, Wharton Business School in Philadelphia a number of times. I also did several years looking after the Reinsurance with the chance to go to London, Paris and Bermuda.
What’s been a career highlight so far?
There are probably two career highlights that will always sit with me. Running NZI from 2008 to 2014 a company I joined as an office boy 37 years prior. More latterly becoming President of ANZIIF, the first time a kiwi has received this honour. It was my time to give back and what better way than to head the Industry body.
What keeps you busy outside of work?
I enjoy my family, my grandkids, my gardening, my wine and my cars. We have a beach house which is a great relaxing place to recharge.
Advice for young people starting out in the insurance industry or those wanting to get into it?
When you are given an opportunity to try something new, increase your knowledge, develop your capability then take it with both hands. Even if its not quite what you thought there will always be a learning from it. As most now in the Insurance profession it offers a tremendous range of variety and opportunity, spread the word.