Our People

Our people are some of New Zealand’s most experienced broking staff with a wealth of knowledge and experience.

Executive and Management Team

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John Chandler

CEO & Managing Director

BBS (Management)

Post Grad Dip in Business & Admin (Management)

Snr Assoc ANZIIF

Qualified Coach

I joined BWRS as CEO in December 2019, having held a number of Executive roles across some of New Zealand’s leading broking companies and insurance brands. I am responsible for leading BWRS’ 150 staff across the branch and associate business network. 

 

Bringing over 20 years’ experience in roles that were integral in designing and implementing insurance products and services, post-earthquake disaster recovery, acquisition and merging of major insurance companies, directorship of risk management companies, and providing leadership to teams in excess of 300 people, I bring a broad range of practical skills and a pragmatic approach to leadership.

 

I have a firm focus on the right outcomes for BWRS clients, strongly promoting the central tenet of our approach – Choice and Advice. This means that the team at BWRS are relentlessly focused on working with their clients to understand their business, then designing an insurance and risk management solution that is right for them from providers right across the market.

 

Having three daughters keeps me on my toes, and I love spending time with family and friends. I enjoy getting outdoors and competing in triathlons to stay fit. 

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Sophie Gundesen

Head of People & Culture

BSc (Hons) Human Psychology

Leadership Master Coach

I am a Senior HR Executive and International Coach, specialising in transformation & change, strategy, leadership and influencing. I am results-focussed and passionate about developing leadership capability in order to effectively drive business performance and transformation, through culture and engagement.

 

I thrive on supporting and enabling individuals and businesses to reach their full potential. I have held a number of executive roles across different industries before joining BWRS in July 2020. I also run a successful coaching business, working with executives around the globe to become effortless and impactful leaders. 

 

I enjoy the high pressure, fast-paced commercial environment, balanced with time spent at home with my family and miniature menagerie, or on the water. One of my greatest moments was catching a 193.4kg blue marlin in early 2020.

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Jill Comley-Forbes

Chief Broking Officer

Qualified Practicing Insurance Broker,  Associate Corporation of Insurance Brokers 

Associate of the Australian and NZ Insurance Institute 

Leadership Master Coach

I started my insurance career over 30 years ago and am a passionate, driven insurance professional and inspirational leader, who is a recognised industry leader with an outstanding ability and proven track record in risk management and risk solutions. I have held numerous senior broking and executive roles throughout my career with international broking houses.  My experience across agricultural, SME and corporate clients has given me a broad understanding of these client’s businesses and risk exposures, and I bring these skills to the management of BWRS’s teams and into our approach with clients.

 

I am responsible for the BWRS branch network, ensuring we deliver exceptional service and insurance solutions to our clients, as well as driving growth and innovation throughout our business.  I maintain a close relationship with our business partners in AUB Group, (both New Zealand and Australia) and the NZbrokers group, enabling BWRS clients to benefit from the wealth of expertise our Group offers both onshore and offshore.

 

I am a proud “insurance nerd” who, when not at work, enjoy spending time with my family and friends, and wrangling the variety of animals on my Christchurch lifestyle block.

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Michael Harrow

Regional Manager - Auckland

ANZIIF Diploma of Financial Services (Gen Ins)

I joined BWRS in early 2022 after more than 20 years in positions across the insurance broking sector. During this time, I have gained expertise working in the Commercial and Corporate, and SME markets. I have translated this experience into a high standard of service and technically lead solutions for my clients.

 

Not only am I able to deliver for my clients, I also extend this knowledge to my colleagues and team members providing results from leadership and mentorship.

 

My broad knowledge and enthusiastic approach to leadership goes hand in hand with the BWRS mentality of providing insurance service you can trust.

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Robert Huggins

Regional Manager - Bay of Plenty

Practising Insurance Broker

I have been working in the insurance industry for over 20 years – originally in a call centre in Northampton, England. Since then I have worked for insurers as well as running my own insurance brokerage. My experience runs to both general insurance and life and health insurance.

 

I am passionate about giving our clients great advice and helping them when the need is greatest. 

 

I enjoy most sports – playing and watching. I have recently taken up playing snooker again, and can also be found on the golf course, riding my push bike, my motorbike, and occasionally out on the boat in the beautiful waters of the Bay of Plenty.
 

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Bevan Ellison

Regional Manager - Manawatu

Diploma in Insurance Broking (ANZIIF)

I have been in the Insurance Industry for close to a decade, working across both Aotearoa and Australia in broking and management roles.

 

I have a passion for the industry and love the varied nature of each day, no two risks are the same; and having the opportunity to share in a client’s business story is amazing.  

 

I love working with teams: developing and empowering them to give their best to our clients and in turn grow their own passion for the industry and all the opportunities it can provide. To hear my staff talk with pride about their roles has been the best reward in my career.

 

Away from work I can be found playing soccer, getting out into the great outdoors, or enjoying a good beer.

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Sian Joyce

National Claims Manager

ANZIIF Diploma
L5 Certificate in General Insurance
CPIT Management Certificate
Diploma in Accounting

I have been in the insurance industry for 20 + years, working for both insurers and brokers. I am a passionate claims advocate and have a very talented and experienced claims team across the country.

 

With qualifications in insurance, accounting and being part way through a law degree, I have the knowledge and experience to manage complex commercial claims, successfully argue contentious liability claims, and ensure insurance policies are being interpreted and applied correctly in our clients’ favour.

 

I was awarded an IBNZ Young Gun award in 2019 for my contribution to the industry.

 

I am based in the Waikato and have two young children who keep me extremely busy. I enjoy travelling around NZ and hope to travel overseas again soon. I love being outdoors, staying fit, and have a love of all genres of music.