December 2015


A job like comfy shoes

By Kate Tilley, Editor, Resolve

For Frank Rose, being secretary of NZILA is like a comfortable pair of shoes.

Once he was in the job, he saw no reason to stop – and he’s now into his 20th year. “Once you get into the swing of it, it’s easier to keep going than to hand over to someone else,” he told Resolve.

He is very grateful for the excellent administrative support of Christina O’Connor, his personal assistant at Auckland law firm Keegan Alexander, where Frank is a partner.

Frank joined the NZILA committee in 1993 when the association was only two years old. It then had about 100 members. Today, in its 24th year, it has just over 400.

After graduating from Auckland University, Frank was a Crown Prosecutor for three years and then spent a year as a stockbroker in 1987. He says that was “an interesting experience, but not financially rewarding as world share markets crashed”.

In 1988, he joined Kensington Swan, a firm with a significant insurance practice, and moved to Keegan Alexander a decade later. He has been there ever since.

He sees building the membership as one of NZILA’s key achievements over the years. “We don’t actively recruit, it’s been a natural progression,” he said. Keeping the membership fee at $NZ30 a year has been popular: “It’s only the cost of a decent bottle of chardonnay.”

The calibre of NZILA’s annual conference is another drawcard. “It offers a very high standard of presentations for an economical registration fee.”

NZILA also offers regular seminars across three key locations – Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. It is now starting to offer seminars in regional centres.

NZILA is run by a dedicated band of volunteers, but Frank sees the association’s next likely step as appointing a part-time, paid secretariat. With numbers increasing at the annual conference and seminars, the workload has expanded commensurately.

Frank’s glad he selected insurance law as his specialist field because he enjoys the professionalism of the insurers he works with, the wide variety of claims, and the constant challenges. It can be an earthquake claim one day; finding out why a piece of electronic equipment has failed and caused a fire the next.

Outside work, Frank is learning to play golf, is a regular in the gym and at boxing training, goes paddle boarding, reads widely and attends the theatre, favouring plays and musicals.

He and his wife, Georgina, also a qualified lawyer, have a daughter, Olivia, 21, who has followed in her parents’ footsteps and is studying law at Auckland University. Their son, Harry, 17, is in secondary school, but Frank is certain the law will not be his career path. “He has a different skill set to us; it’s more design and technology,” he said.

With a dog and a cat rounding out the family, Frank jests that the Roses sound like a traditional nuclear family.

They own a “bach” at Hahei in the Coromandel Peninsula, east of Auckland, and that is Frank’s favoured holiday destination. When he spoke to Resolve, a case set for a three-week trial in February had just settled, making his forthcoming Christmas break all the more enjoyable.

While Frank’s happy to don conservative suits for his work attire, he has a penchant for floral and Hawaiian shirts for the casual look. He even describes his love of floral shirts as “a slight obsession”.

With his goatee and longish curly hair, Frank has been mistaken for an art critic and even for NZ movie director Peter Jackson. He laughs about the time he met an American couple in San Francisco who were convinced he really was the mastermind behind the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films and could not be persuaded otherwise—must have been the Kiwi accent.

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Resolve is the official publication of the Australian Insurance Law Association and
the New Zealand Insurance Law Association.