Meet the team: Broker Relations

Mark Shaw Head of Broker Relations +44 (0) 207 448 6582 mark.shaw@hiscox.com

How did you get into insurance?
Like most people, insurance was an accident for me. I needed an office job and started in the motor claims team at RSA in Manchester in 1997, after I finished university in York. I had a brief stint at AXA in the insurance hotbed that is Bolton, then headed to London and started at Hiscox on the 8th January 2000. I think I am in my eighth role at Hiscox, having previously worked in claims, underwriting, sales and at both the insurance company and syndicate.

How would you describe your job to a stranger?
I’ve tried to describe to my dad what I do many times and he still doesn’t get it. People have described me as a peace envoy, a matchmaker, or an internal broker. But I would say that our team is here to give our underwriters the best possible advantage in their trading relationships with our brokers. We sell the Hiscox London Market brand to our key broking partners at all levels, and our role evolves constantly. I would describe it as being a very enjoyable job and is an increasingly pivotal role between insurers and brokers, which is all about communication and influence.  

How has the relationship between London Market insurers and brokers changed in recent years?
The London Market is heavily focused on personal relationships, which is a great strength but some of these haven’t always been that effective for business. I’ve seen more honest feedback from both sides, and the growth of performance data has lifted some of the smokescreen both sides had previously used to give them an easier life.

Are facilities the death of underwriting, as some have argued?
Facilities are not a new thing. They have evolved and grown, but they do not really remove the need for strong markets to lead risks – that’s where underwriting is as important as ever. The biggest challenge has been how both insurers and brokers have failed to capitalise on the efficiency savings that facilities should bring.

Which companies do you most admire? Why?
The rise of Ambev is definitely the most inspiring case study for any business on what’s possible through great leadership. Formerly Brahma, it was the joint biggest brewery in Brazil, acquired its biggest rival, became InBev when it merged with Interbrew in 2004, which bought Anheuser-Busch in 2008 and then finally merged with SAB Miller in 2015. Shame Brahma beer actually tastes awful. 

What do you do to relax?
I support Everton, although that isn’t exactly relaxing. Neither is running, which is actually rather painful. But, I’ve got into walking now, which is perhaps a sign of my age. A long walk is best when it ends with a long lunch, which is definitely the best way to relax.

What was the last book you read?
I’m going to be completely honest here: for Christmas I was bought Star Wars, Year by Year, A Visual History. I was very impressed by it, which demonstrates my true geek credentials. 

Richard Turner Strategic Account Executive +44 (0) 20 3321 5661 richard.turner@hiscox.com

How did you get into insurance?
I grew up in a military family, so have lived all over the place. I studied Economics at the University of Exeter and really enjoyed it, and was made aware of a potential career in commercial insurance through a Marsh stand at the university careers fair. I did some research, then applied to some graduate trainee schemes and landed a job at Aon doing carrier management. I spent two and a half years there until moving to Hiscox in Oct 2016.

How would you describe your job to a stranger?
That’s a tough one. Few outsiders have a firm grasp of commercial insurance or of how Lloyd’s works. So I say to most quizzical individuals that it’s my job to drive profitable growth with our biggest suppliers. If they haven’t switched off by then, I occasionally elaborate.

How has the relationship between London Market insurers and brokers changed in recent years?
Brokers and insurers are seeing their revenues squeezed and are only protecting their share. The industry is heavily influenced by market relationships, and the soft market cycle can often put pressure on those. As long as claims get paid, brokers should respect the value insurers bring to the table.

Are facilities the death of underwriting, as some have argued?
No, they’ve been around for a while. They just change the focus for the insurer. Facilities have evolved a lot since they were first conceived. Now, they are much more sophisticated, and are driven by the volume of data that is now available.

Which company do you most admire? Why?
Exeter Chiefs – my beloved rugby team. They have a brilliant group of players, with a solid business foundation, great academy players and loyal, chirpy fans. Through a great brand of rugby and targeted marketing they have captured the South West and made it their own.

What do you do to relax?
I like to gaze at contemporary art, predominantly from the post-war era.

What was the last book you read?
The Devil’s Alternative by Frederick Forsyth – it was really good actually. It a thriller set in the ‘80s, when the Soviets are copping it from all angles and they’re in a constant standoff with the US. In the middle of it all are a couple of Georgian blokes who fancy taking down the Kremlin on their own and fomenting domestic social unrest through famine. It all gets very tense and then in typical fashion the plucky Brits sneak in and save the day by accident. Lloyd’s get a mention in it too.

Oliver Triston Business Development Assistant +44 (0) 20 7614 5280 oliver.triston@hiscox.com

How did you get into insurance?
I already knew I didn’t want to go university, so I initially got an internship working for a commercial law firm. After that finished I worked in retail for a bit until the apprentice applications for the financial sector came around in spring. After attending the Hiscox interview day, insurance seemed the most interesting area of the financial sector.

How would you describe your job to a stranger?
Unfortunately, not many people outside of insurance understand the way the London Market works, or even insurance in general, let alone the importance of maintaining and driving productive relationships with brokers. Most people assume I'm just cold calling all day, so when I explain my role to them I often relate it to a job they do understood, like business development or a data analyst.

How has the relationship between London Market insurers and brokers changed in recent years?
I can’t offer much of an insight as to what they were like before, as I’ve only worked in the industry for a short time. I can definitely say however, from what I've seen so far, that the insurer and broker do collaborate to help each other grow. 

Which other companies do you most admire? Why?
It has to be the New England Patriots American football team. It is run on the motto “Do Your Job”, and I admire everything, from the players’ work ethic, to the coaching staff’s ability to know the strengths and weaknesses of each player and position. I think the reason it is so dominant is because of the culture of the club: players want to play for the team and fans are proud to support them. 

What do you do to relax?
I like to play my guitar and write music. I also like to go for hikes through some of the forests near me.

What was the last book you read?
Spoken From The Front, which is a book about pilots’, medics’ and soldiers’ experiences of combat in Afghanistan, edited by Andy McNab. It is compiled of detailed snapshots of front line life, and does a compelling job of portraying the hardships these brave men and women face.