Focus on Insurance

I've been working recruitment for eight years now. So, most of that work has been UK based but I've also worked in Europe as well. But all my experience has been within insurance. That's covering the London and Lloyds market, broking, underwriting and also into the life and pensions piece and to the GI market as well. If you're looking to grow across into a different geography or if you're looking at regulatory programs, or you're looking at changing the way your company works then people come to me and say, "Look, I'm looking for this particular new skill set," or, "I'm looking for these individuals." That's what they come to me for. Those, as I say could be regulatory. They could be people-driven. They could be change focused. They could just be looking at, you know, what do we do and how could we do it better and the sort of specialists I know in the market would be the sort of people that have done that before. I deal with insurance but also financial services.

 

I like the people I work with in insurance. They're straightforward. They're direct. I find them very loyal and trustworthy as well. The insurance market, you build up in relationships in insurance over a very, very long time. Insurance is a relationship-driven industry, hence the reason when brokers or underwriters move from one area to or from one company to another, it's often, [inaudible 00:01:16] the results in the broker business actually moving with them because those relationships are built up over time. It's not subject to the markets in the same way that the banking space is. You know retail banking could be very, very heavily hit as when there are issues or fluxes in the market. We don't have that in insurance. It's much of a constant. It's one of those things that companies have to have or individuals have to have. We all got insurance in some way shape or form and we are all open to that, so I like it for that reason. But yeah, I do like the fact that once you've built a relationship and you deliver and they know you, and they know you to be good, they will continue to work with you for the future.

 

The main challenges, I mean obviously there's regulatory change, which is always a challenge as when it comes up. Main challenges are looking at new areas of business and changing the products within that market, but I think a lot of the products out there are quite complicated and I think the insurance market really needs to change. I think that's one of the major issues it has at this point in time. It could be seen sometimes, again, it's quite dusty in comparison to some of the faster moving areas. I think change within the insurance industry is probably quite long overdue. If we look at some of the sectors such as life and pensions, the products are often rather complicated and you know, generation Y, generation X, probably want a simpler, a cleaner, easier to access product and I think we'll see a lot of change in the market and the market does need to look at what it's doing within that space.

 

Over to the large scale integration of two very, very large insurance companies, so at that point in time they were looking at putting together two organizations and it was as much a merger as you are ever going to get. Of course, most of the work within that space would be takeovers [inaudible 00:02:45] where one very large company buys a smaller one. This was two very, very similar-sized organizations. One based in Europe and one based in the UK, mainly in London, and what we looked at there was putting in a Global Change Director to actually bring those two organisations together to see how we could actually up that capability there and to realistically introduce a change function to a company that hadn't really been changed mature before. So as I say, this was their first piece of integration work and they went at it from actually buying a company just as big as them but not just the size of the organisation, but also the cultural aspects of that as well.

 

It was introducing new lines of business to a business. It was introducing cultural change as well. Just to say because the organisation was European, it's how you're going to integrate those two companies? How you're going to make it work? So, we did a lot of work there as I said with a change director who we placed to actually then build up the capability underneath that and, realistically, we probably placed about 40 or 50 people in that organisation to introduce a new change function which purely was interim to bring those two companies together, which was very, very successful. I think it's very, very difficult to say that anything I do is typical and I wouldn't want it to be because it's the different aspects of this job that I like so much.