12 May 2022
Natalie Freeman of Elders Insurance Tablelands in Malanda, Queensland, is fondly nicknamed the ‘Encyclopedia of Insurance’ by her colleagues – and with good reason, too.
Natalie – the winner of the Elders Insurance SSO of the Year Award for 2021 – has been with the company for more than 20 years and is particularly admired for her generosity in coaching and mentoring her peers.
“She has a lot of patience for all of us,” says Dee Cuda, the business’s marketing manager and authorised representative.
“She’s a very busy lady but will stop to help anyone on anything. She’s brilliant.”
Natalie has worked alongside agent Jeanette Suffield for her whole career, moving with her when Jeanette bought the local Elders Insurance business in 2001.
And job satisfaction is high on Natalie’s reasons for remaining loyal to both Jeanette and Elders Insurance for more than two decades.
“I do get a lot of job satisfaction from working for Elders Insurance,” says Natalie.
“When I think back to 20 years ago, the things I didn’t know – it’s amazing how much I just know now, and can just answer a question when someone asks me.
“At the start, there were just two of us, and four years in, we went through a catastrophe when we had Cyclone Larry. Both Jeanette and I were thrown into the deep end, and it was a huge learning experience.”
The value of a good boss
A primary reason for Natalie’s longevity in the business, which now employs eight people, is the presence of Jeanette – who Natalie describes as ‘a very good boss’.
“I was 21 when I started working with Jeanette and, since then, I’ve had three children. Jeanette’s always been very accommodating. I’m not sure you would get that in a lot of places. She’s really enabled me to have a professional career while raising a young family.
“We’ve always had a really good relationship and a mutual respect, and it’s like coming into a family environment when you come into this office - it’s not like going to work.”
A community approach
That approach to business radiates out to the Elders Insurance clients, too. While Natalie specialises in business insurance, she does work across all areas of insurance and loves working with her clients.
“We’ve got lots of great clients, and we get a lot of referral business. I think that’s because of the way we treat people – we do a good job of explaining things to them and guiding them through the process, and they appreciate that.
“People like the fact they’re not dealing with a call centre. They can pick up the phone and speak to the person they usually speak to or call in and talk face-to-face. For a lot of people, that’s invaluable.”
And it’s not just through their day-to-day dealings that Natalie and the Elders Insurance Tablelands team delight the community. Movie nights are regularly held, with up to 200 customers frequently gathering to watch the latest releases, while the sponsorship of local events is a common occurrence.
Their success is truly a team effort, however, as Natalie stresses.
“I honestly couldn’t do my job properly if I didn’t have my colleagues. While I have been named the winner of the SSO award, I feel that it is really a reflection on our entire office.”
If you live or work on the Tablelands area and would like to discuss your insurance needs with Natalie, you can contact her by emailing email@example.com