I started my career in Birmingham with Zurich in the 1970s and progressed very quickly from a year in the Motor underwriting team through claims and into the casualty team.
I spent 5 years under Reg Fellows in the casualty team dealing with Employers and Public/Products liability whilst looking after some International Brokers and developing some customer-facing skills.
I was looking for a role “in the field” at the end of this time and due mainly to a lack of opportunity at Zurich I moved on. This was well before the Zurich purchase of Eagle Star – Zurich were then a much smaller UK business.
I joined Mark Curwood’s team as an inspector/developer in Birmingham, taking an area that was known as a graveyard and one that had been stripped of all the high-producing brokers by other inspectors over the years.
Despite this and with some encouragement and help from others, I developed the area by doubling its production and was spotted at a Yealand Manor course by the Cardiff Branch Manager who took me away to Cardiff for two years as a City Inspector.
After 4 years with Provincial at a time when all the satellite offices were closing and the family who owned Provincial were clearly wanting to sell, I joined another family-owned business, JCB.
I joined JCB to help develop from scratch an insurance broking business aimed squarely at JCB customers in the groundworks, plant hire and general construction sectors.
I very quickly became a plant insurance specialist and spent 5 years developing new business, recruiting a sales team and managing the South of England and its customer base. In the end the specialism and the lack of future prospects drove me to find an alternative – but I always look back very fondly on this time.
Leaving JCB I joined the best insurance broker in the World, then known as Sedgwick UK Ltd.
This was actually the start of my insurance education and I spent 11 years at Sedgwick working with some of the brightest people in our industry and with some of the best British, European and Global clients across a variety of sectors from Pharmaceutical to Motor Trade and Publishing to Packaging.
This was a great time to be broking with Sedgwick and I progressed to Associate Director and part of the management team at Sedgwick Reading managing 55 staff. Subsequently Marsh bought Sedgwick and after 18 months I moved on.
I went back to Zurich in their public sector team to develop the education account using my direct client skills in the University, College and schools sectors.
I was responsible for some large wins (Exeter and Plymouth Universities, National Trust etc) but ultimately the seasonal nature of the business (common annual renewal dates) and the narrow focus wasn’t for me and when AIG came knocking on my door, I moved after a very short two and a half years at ZM.
I joined AIG Reading which was in a complete mess and I was somewhat shocked at the cultural and business issues that I needed to overcome to develop the branch. With an office move and a recruitment drive we managed to replace key staff and over the next three years doubled the branch income.
I had a great experience at AIG and again was working with some of the best in the industry and I felt I was both learning again and contributing. If JLT had not come to me with a proposition to manage one of their offices I would like to think I would still be at AIG now.
My time at JLT was a disappointment. Having walked into an environment where the branch was substantially behind budgeted income for the year and having to immediately cut costs to balance the books, the branch was stripped of half its revenue by a decision to move smaller income business to another centralised facility. This magnified the problem and despite pulling the branch back into profit in year two, there was no critical mass and the decision was taken to merge this and other offices with larger more established JLT businesses and I took a redundancy package.
After a period looking at a number of opportunities I joined Towergate Underwriting.
I am under covenants that expire in March 2012, but can simply say that I managed a team in the leisure sector selling and developing business with substantial clients.