March 2019


Award Ron Shorter's legacy

by Kate Tilley, Resolve Editor

AILA has unveiled its 2019 flagship public speaking competition for young professionals in the insurance industry, the Ron Shorter Public Speaking Award.

The award, which opened on 1 March, provides industry young professionals (YPs) with public speaking training and exposure to industry peers and luminaries. More than 300 YPs have benefited since the award began in 2012.

The competition is open to YPs (under 35 years of age) from all fields of  insurance and insurance law in all states and territories.

AILA National Treasurer Sue Vidler, the board member who oversees the award, said it was "a fantastic opportunity for YPs to further their skills". She urged all YPs, including unsuccessful applicants from prior years, to enter.

Applicants must nominate an insurance-related topic on which they will speak. Entries close on 3 May.

Successful applicants attend public speaking training workshops in Melbourne (27 May), Sydney (3 June), and Brisbane (17 June) at award sponsor Colin Biggers & Paisley's (CBP) offices.  A Perth workshop (24 June) is hosted by Kott Gunning.

Successful applicants in South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory join the workshops by video link.

Workshop participants receive intensive training from Polaris Coaching on key elements and nuances of public speaking and then give two-minute presentations on their topics. Three finalists in each location progress to the finals and receive additional training.

Participants are judged by panels comprising Polaris Coaching and AILA branch committee members.

At finals in Sydney (18 July), Melbourne (25 July), Brisbane (8 August), and Perth (15 August), competitors speak for 10 minutes on their topics and battle for the four regional awards before judging panels and audiences of industry professionals. They all speak without notes, lecterns or microphones.

The four winners each receive economy airfares, two nights' accommodation and registration for the AILA National Conference (31 October – 2 November 2019) in Hobart and deliver their winning speeches at the conference.

Finalists receive $250 gift cards.

Ron Shorter, after whom the award is named, died on 7 February 2012, after a lengthy battle with cancer.

From April 2007 to mid-2011 he was practice manager of CBP's Sydney Insurance Group.

Ron was well known in the Australian and New Zealand insurance industries.

He graduated with a Bachelor of Law degree from Auckland University in 1979 and practised as a solicitor in NZ until July 1983.

He moved to Australia and worked as a loss adjuster with MBS Loss Adjusters Ltd, a liability claims supervisor with Alexander Stenhouse Ltd, and spent 11 years with FAI General Insurance Co Ltd, where he was promoted to professional indemnity and national commercial claims manager in May 1998.

Ron left FAI when it was sold to HIH and became claims manager at Dexta Corporation Ltd.

He was then claims manager at LawCover, held a contract position with Marsh and, in April 2007, became practice manager at CBP.

His reputation, expertise and generosity of spirit in the insurance and legal community were highly regarded.

During his career Ron inspired and mentored many YPs. He recognised that confident public speaking was a vital skill for all insurance professionals and had instigated the award in Sydney, where it was launched in 2012. The award expanded to Victoria in 2015, Queensland in 2016, and WA in 2017.

Participants from other states and territories participate in one of the coaching sessions via video conferencing.

The award is sponsored nationally by CBP, Dever's List and a new sponsor, Sedgwick.

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