Interview with Paul Berchtold, Branch Manager Zurich / Member of the Executive Management
Paul Berchtold has been the new Branch Manager Zurich and is part of the Verlingue family since 1 February. Before Verlingue, he worked for 15 years at Basler Versicherung and Zurich and most recently for 12 years at the broker AON.
In this short interview, he answers questions about his career and his goals. He also explains how he assesses the current broker landscape with its influences.
- Welcome to Verlingue and thank you for the interview. What is your first impression of the company?
In the first few days, I was able to get to know a great company with very competent and likeable colleagues.
For me, Verlingue is a top broker and has the potential to further establish itself among the leading brokers in Switzerland.
- What was your career like in the insurance industry and what added value do you bring to our clients?
I started with an insurance apprenticeship and then gradually developed on the job in various functions and companies. In addition, I completed various further training courses to consolidate my specialist knowledge theoretically as well. I am convinced that the experience I have gained over time will be an added value for our clients and Verlingue.
- After Basler, Zurich and the big broker Aon, now an SME. What was the decisive factor that made you say: “I’m switching to Verlingue”?
I missed the interaction with clients and customers, so I was looking for a new challenge. After several great years in a big company, I was looking for a more agile environment.
With Verlingue, I have found an employer and a field of activity where I have fast decision-making processes, responsibility and customer contact.
Furthermore, it is a top team and it is fun to continue to build up Verlingue in Switzerland and establish it as a first-class, family-run brokerage.
- The broker landscape is currently subject to many influences. Digitalisation is affecting the market with platforms and digital marketplaces. New and mutually influencing risks are affecting the companies. At the same time, we are seeing a great dynamic with a wave of consolidation. Many small brokers are joining the big ones. How do you assess the market and what are the arguments for continuing to have a broker?
We are in a hybrid world and cannot close ourselves off to digitalisation.
Our clients will always need risk advice. Insurance for companies is very complex and this is where we help them so that they can deal with risks in the best possible way. Pure premium comparisons can be made by computer, but it is difficult to match them in an overall concept and reconcile them with a client’s individual risk tolerance. Our goal is to enable our clients to concentrate on their actual business, in which we offer them relief in questions of risk advice.
Currently, the broker market is in a phase of consolidation, but this also represents an opportunity for Verlingue. There are currently around 1000 registered brokers in Switzerland, with many of them looking for succession solutions or administrative relief due to the increasing demands from clients or regulators.
I expect this situation to get worse in the coming years, as digital solutions are not cost-effective and a certain portfolio is needed to be profitable.
- What do you want to tackle first in your new position?
To get to know the Verlingue company better and, with my new team, to offer an excellent service to our customers.
- Now to your private life: What do you like to do in your free time?
My biggest passions besides my family are Qwan Ki Do Kung Fu and snowboarding.
- What philosophy would you like to pass on to the readers?
It was a great honour for me to meet Master Tong, the founder of Qwan Ki Do. He shared with me the following guiding principle, which is like a personal mantra to me: Defeats can be overcome through willpower and success is achieved through diligence and perseverance.
“The road to the goal is eternal – the roots along the way a bitter experience – but at the end of the road, the sweet fruits of success await.”
Mâitre Tong Qwan Ki Do
A big thank you to Paul for his insightful answers and all the best at Verlingue.