Lorraine Mackey

The Hiscox energy underwriter tells us about being stage struck as a child and how a job in insurance can break the ice at dinner parties.

What was your childhood dream job?

Growing up, I loved the idea of becoming an actor! It makes me cringe to think of it now, but I abandoned that idea and concentrated on something a little more realistic.

Unlike many of my peers who fell into insurance, I pursued it!


How did you get into insurance?

I attended the University of Limerick in Ireland and graduated with a degree in International Insurance and European Studies so, unlike many of my peers who fell into insurance, I pursued it!

After university, I started working for an international insurance company in Dublin, but I was drawn to London as it is the world’s hub for specialty insurance, so I decided to move here. I had already worked in the property, energy, marine, aviation and terrorism markets, and energy just stood out to me as being a really interesting sector.

I like the interaction I have with brokers here because you can get a lot more done in a shorter space of time. When I worked in Dublin all of our business was done via email or over the phone, but negotiating a deal that way was actually a much longer process than just sitting down at the Box and speaking to someone in person.


How would you describe your job to a stranger at a dinner party?

I find my job can actually be a conversation starter, rather than a conversation killer. Most people I meet think of insurance as it relates to their own experience – buying a policy for their home or car usually. So they’re intrigued when I tell them I insure offshore oil rigs all over the world, and they start to ask me questions about my job.

The oil price is having a real impact on our business, and will continue to do so for at least the rest of this year.


What would you say is the biggest risk facing your market over the next 12 months?

The oil price is having a real impact on our business, and will continue to do so for at least the rest of this year. Most companies aren’t taking a risk on drilling exploratory wells at the moment because of the low oil price, meaning that a lot of existing rigs are not being used. The combination of the falling value of rigs, plus competitive pricing means everyone in our sector is experiencing capacity and pricing issues.

For now, we are concentrating on the needs of our core clients and maintaining meaningful, longstanding relationships.


Diversity is a big issue in the London Market now. What’s your opinion on this? Have you experienced sexism?

The energy market is a male dominated one, but I can’t say that it’s ever been a problem for me, I knew that before I entered it. I’ve never been made to feel unequal to the people I work with. I think Inga Beale, the Lloyd’s CEO, is a great inspiration to women as the first female to hold that role. She’s also been very forthright about the need for London to embrace diversity and to be more inclusive. 

The energy market is a male dominated one, but I can’t say that it’s ever been a problem for me, I knew that before I entered it.


What do you do to relax?

My time away from work revolves around shopping, Netflix and a nice bottle of wine.


What’s your favourite film?

I’m quite a film buff, and my favourites would be The Matrix and Inception. I find them intriguing because they make you think outside the box.


What’s your favourite book?

To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, is one of my all-time favourites. Maeve Binchy, the Irish writer, is also one of my favourite authors and I have read a lot more of her books since I’ve moved to London.


Describe your ideal Saturday?

I love cooking and catching up with friends.


Tell us something about yourself that most people wouldn’t know?

I have a twin brother. He lives in Perth, in Western Australia.