SAMOAN OWNED - JASON VENU, EXPERIENCED INSURANCE INDEPENDENT ADVISOR
Jason Venu ironically started his journey in the insurance industry because of debt.
“When I started university, I made the mistake of getting myself more than one credit-card” he laughs. “Six months down the line and the bills started piling.” To pay off his debt, Jason left university for a call centre role at AA insurance.
Today, he runs his own insurance agency, offering and helping arrange insurance policies in Life, Health, House, Car, Contents and Commercial. Born in Wellington and raised in Auckland, Jason is of Samoan descent. His father is from the village of Faleula while his mother is from Levi Saleimoa. Married and a father of two, Jason Venu is a proud family man.
After nine years with AA Insurance, Jason left his role as a Motor Claims Customer Manager. He had earned and moved up key positions with good guidance in the company from his managers and CEO. He then moved to PIC Brokers as a Domestic Broker where he formed strong relationships with managers and brokers that he still has to this day. Jason is grateful for PIC who have supported him on his mission to reach the uninsured as well as helping to educate and protect more families.
By 2018, Jason decided to branch out on his own. While he is grateful for his time at PIC, Jason says that he wanted to explore new opportunities that would better align his career goals to his personal goals. “I realised that I needed to prioritise time with my family, especially my son at the time.”
Looking back, he acknowledges the support of his family, “My dad covered our mortgage for the first month so I could get things started.” He reveals that it’s challenging starting your own business, but having a strong support system does make things easier. Jason set up office at the Pacific Business Hub in July 2019.
Venturing on his own has surely given Jason more than just quality time with his now two sons. Jason shares that it has also given him opportunities to contribute and give back to the community. With thirteen years’ experience in the reputable corporate ranks of the insurance industry, Jason describes his new venture as enabling him to bring reputable insurance providers to Pacific people in New Zealand.
He has brought in insurers like Partners Life, Fidelity, One Path and more to connect with businesses at the hub. He admits of rarely dealing with Pacific people in corporate insurance space, realising now the need for inclusion of pacific islanders and vice versa. “You don’t know until you’re in it. Being here now, it’s a need I feel is necessary and crucial”.
Additionally, he adds that Pacific communities and businesses deserve quality insurers. “We want to elevate them to the best”, he says. Jason believes that many clients feel intimidated by and not worthy of higher tiered insurance companies, highlighting the need for better information and education about insurance for our people.
Some key initiatives have already been established, such as financial literacy programs for Pacific and Maori students and school scholarships. Jason is also partnering with other businesses to execute these programs.
When asked about what it means to be Pacific owned, Jason mentions that it’s something he is proud of. “What makes it worthwhile is when your parents are really proud of you, especially helping pacific people and communities.”
Looking ahead, Jason is excited about the future. “We have bigger goals in the New Year and want to expand our agency. At the moment, our main target is the uninsured. We hope to leverage that through our community programs and reaching out to our people.” In addition, he highlights that it has taken a long time and hard work to earn the trust of his clients, especially pacific people. “We don’t sell to our clients, we educate and earn them. We make sure our people are taken care of, and we hope they see that we genuinely want to help.”
Jason’s advice to other young entrepreneurs is to speak to the right people. “If you speak to the right people, they will get you connected and will put you in the right direction.” He encourages that the Pacific Business Hub is a great place to start. “Laura is one of those people”, he says. Jason reassures that in starting your business, you will go far if you take away fear and doubt.
An advocate for the Pacific Business Hub, Jason reflects that Laura really encouraged him to get his business started. He has also joined the Samoa Business Network, seeing that there was an active support for businesses at the hub. Jason promotes that the Pacific Business Hub is a practical learning and thriving environment for pacific businesses.