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5 minutes with Elders Insurance Leongatha’s Black Jacket Award winners, Debra Wightman and Jamie Hutchison

12 May 2022

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For Debra Wightman and Jamie Hutchison, winners of Elders Insurance’s Black Jacket Award for 2021, exceptional customer service isn’t just a corporate buzzword – it’s something they live and breathe each and every day.

 “We believe our customer service really sets us apart from every other insurance company around,” says Debra, who purchased the business in 2018. She joined Elders Insurance Leongatha in 2016 after 20 years of insurance experience in both Australia and the UK.

 “The relationships we have with our clients are so important – we speak to them regularly, we’re out on-site, and we’re always there when they need us in times of claims.”

 The clients Debra and Jamie manage, with the help of five other team members (to who the pair attribute a large part of the business's success), range from dairy farmers to local tradies.

 And their commitment to being there for the clients was perfectly demonstrated one evening when a call was received to say a client’s laundromat was on fire.

 “Our client rang in a panic, so I went straight out there – it was 9pm on a Friday night – and we were able to talk him through the process, what we were going to have to do,” says Jamie, who joined the business as an SSO in 2017 after more than a decade in insurance, before becoming an agent and director in 2021.

 “Having that face-to-face conversation there and then had an immediate calming effect on them, and we were then able to navigate them through the claims process.”

 Supporting the local community

 As well as looking after its clients through exceptional customer service and above-and-beyond support at claims time, Elders Insurance Leongatha plays a prominent role in looking after its community, too.

 The business supports five local football and netball teams and each year holds a charity golf day to raise money for a local cause. This year, for example, money is being raised to help support the family of an 11-month old baby who has been diagnosed with leukemia.

 “We’re also active participants in the local business association, and we volunteer a lot of time helping them get community projects underway,” says Debra.

 The secret to their success…

 The approach to business that Debra, Jamie and the Elders Insurance Leongatha team has is one of continual improvement – change is readily embraced as they collectively strive to ensure they move forward constantly. For example, they volunteered to be ‘the testers’ when Salesforce came into the business and have reaped the benefits of improving business processes and practices.

 “We’re always changing, looking to do things better, and we’re not afraid to change the way we do things,” says Jamie.

 “If we don’t adapt and we don’t listen to our customers’ needs and requirements, then we’re not doing our job. We’ve got to stay on top of everything.”

Having won the Black Jacket Award, the team at Elders Insurance Leongatha could be forgiven for resting on their laurels – but there’s absolutely no chance of that happening here.

 With a fervent commitment to their clients, a constant drive for improvement and a newly-opened office on Phillip Island, the coming months and years could well be even more successful than the few that have come before.

 If you live or work in the Leongatha area and would like to discuss your insurance needs, email Debra at debra.wightman@elders.com.au or Jamie at jamie.hutchison@elders.com.au.

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