Derek Cherry talks about making the most of Suncorp's career opportunities

9 May 2019

Derek’s career in insurance is a compelling example of the variety and opportunities that can come from a career in insurance.

When Derek Cherry started with Suncorp New Zealand (then AMP General) straight out of high school, it was meant to just be a gap-year job to earn some savings before heading off to university. Thirty years later he has built a career and gone to university, all while with Suncorp.

“My mother actually applied for the job for me without my knowledge and only told me on the weekend before the Monday interview,” Derek said. “It worked out well because the insurance industry has many facets and it is a good place to find out what your calling might be.”

From his first role in a customer service and domestic underwriting position, with Suncorp’s help, he gained qualifications and experience which enabled him to take on more senior technical insurance roles, such as Customer Service Operations Manager and National Claims Manager.

“Taking advantage of learning opportunities and development programs, I made a deliberate decision to pursue management positions,” Derek said. “I’m grateful to Suncorp for helping me with time, money and incentives to complete a Bachelor of Commerce and Administration at Victoria University, and my postgraduate Honours degree from The University of Auckland in Commercial Law.”

Today, Derek is five months into a secondment in Suncorp’s People Experience (human resources) team, as the Executive Manager, PX Strategic Advice. The role is an opportunity which arose from the senior management talent review process and involves working closely with Suncorp New Zealand’s senior leadership team to support strategies around inspiring our people.

“I was attracted to working more closely with our senior leadership team, which filled a development need for me personally that had been identified during our normal performance review process,” Derek said. “As I have moved on in my career, it has been significant for me to get many opportunities to learn and grow which has seen me move on from being a technical insurance specialist to someone with broad management skills and experience that can be transported with me wherever I go. “

“Suncorp is a great place to work,” Derek said. “There’s a wide variety of opportunities provided, plenty of support to achieve your personal and work goals, and you work with some really great people.  I may have entered the insurance industry by chance, but I stayed by choice. I have been able to build a career, work with interesting people and have plenty of opportunities along the way.”

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