Andrea Petrocco with her husband, Tony, son, Adam, and their beloved dog Bailey.
Grandfather’s wish fulfilled
If you’re brought up in a close-knit, traditional Italian family and your grandfather’s advice is to study law, you study law.
That’s how it worked in AILA Victoria President Andrea Petrocco’s family, but she has no regrets.
“My Nonno said ‘you’re always up for an argument, you should study law’, and that’s why I did it,” Andrea told Resolve.
Her beloved grandfather died not long before she graduated but, on his deathbed, asked his only granddaughter to promise she would finish the degree, which she was studying part-time while working fulltime, and she did.
After graduating, she went to his grave in her cap and gown, took a bottle of his favourite wine, and toasted Nonno as a thank you for all the valuable lessons he had taught her.
Andrea’s Italian-born grandfather had arrived in post-war Australia with his bride, Elda, and not much more than a suitcase, intending to transit on to New York. But he fell in love with the sunburnt country and stayed, building a profitable business and raising a family.
Andrea’s varied career includes being team liaison officer for the Italian men’s basketball team at the 2000 Olympic Games, to law firms then the finance, beverage, media and finally insurance industries.
She has just celebrated 10 years with IAG, where she enjoys her current role as Manager, Regulatory Response & Projects in Group Risk.
The role includes overseeing and project managing the insurer’s regulatory notices and regulatory and compliance investigations; and maintaining regulatory and compliance systems and data to ensure they remain up to date.
Andrea was encouraged to join AILA three years ago by an IAG colleague and was soon enlisted as a Victorian branch committee member. Then National President Cameron Roberts asked her to step up to the Victorian President’s position. She was reticent, but recalls Cameron saying, “You can do it, you have a positive attitude”.
Andrea emailed her fellow committee members for advice and they were 100% supportive, so she took up the mantle and, immediately afterwards, the Covid-19 pandemic hit. She was an acting manager at the time and had started home schooling her son Adam.
It was a steep learning curve, but she was backed by a great committee. “It’s not about me. I have a really good crew; everyone on the committee is a superstar. They all pull their weight and they’re passionate,” she told Resolve.
Andrea’s dedication to AILA stems from the ability to study law. “A lot of people [in the insurance industry] haven’t studied law. That opportunity is a gift; we need to give back because we have had the benefit of that education.”
Being president has “opened doors and I’ve met some really cool people”.
Andrea is a board member for Victorian aged care service provider the Mayflower Group. She is passionate about improving the quality of aged care, because her Nonno’s death followed a blood infection caused by inadequate care in a nursing facility.
Legal training was an advantage when Andrea held hold those responsible to account, forcing the provider to change policies and procedures so no other family endured a death in such circumstances.
Andrea’s love for family is so strong that she and her husband, Tony, bought her grandparents’ former Melbourne home so no strangers would live there. She is adamant the home will always be family owned and Adam, 8, will eventually inherit it.
Andrea acknowledges she was born into “an excessively loving Italian family”, who all live close to each other and wander in and out of each other’s homes at will. But she wouldn’t have it any other way.
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Resolve is the official publication of the Australian Insurance Law Association and