Craig Knightley

Hiscox London Market’s new CFO on swapping pensions for insurance and why he’ll be avoiding long haul travel for the foreseeable future.

What was your childhood dream job?

I wanted to be a footballer – Luton Town was my childhood team. Then a magician: I used to make good money as a balloon modeller at children’s parties when I was as a young teenager, so it seemed like it could be a profitable profession.


How did you get into insurance?

After a degree in maths, statistics and economics at Warwick University, I joined PwC and began training as a pensions actuary. But, with many final salary schemes closing I realised that the future was limited, and by that time I had begun to see general insurance as a more diverse and exciting sector. After PwC, I joined Jubilee syndicate to head up their capital modelling before joining Hiscox five years ago. Something clearly went wrong in my childhood as I genuinely do love insurance.


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

I tell people my role is to make sure all the numbers add up and to help make Hiscox as much money as possible.


What would you say is the biggest risk facing the London Market over the next 12 months?

Lloyd’s needs to innovate and differentiate itself. Businesses must have a compelling reason to come to Lloyd’s to buy insurance. We must offer something that other markets don’t. It’s important that we look at risks from a customer’s perspective and deliver what they want rather than expect them to simply buy what we offer.

Munich Re, one of the biggest insurers in the world, has a motto of ‘not if, but how’. Bigger, volatile and more complex risks like cyber are a perfect opportunity for London. Anything that makes us sleep slightly uncomfortably at night should be the sort of opportunity we relish.

I tell people my role is to make sure all the numbers add up and to help make Hiscox as much money as possible.


What do you do to relax?

I have two young children so my spare time is often spent keeping them amused. I spend a surprising amount of time in tunnels in soft play centres. I’m also a keen footballer, playing over 40 games a season. I run hard, try hard, never give up and am full of enthusiasm, but am maybe not as skilful as I’d like.


Which actor would you pick to play you in a film about your life?

Well, given my previous answer on my sporting endeavours, can I choose Tom Hanks in his Forrest Gump guise?

Bigger, volatile and more complex risks like cyber are a perfect opportunity for London. Anything that makes us sleep slightly uncomfortably at night should be the sort of opportunity we relish.


Where are you spending your summer holidays?

I made the mistake of going to Thailand in January. As you’d expect from someone focused on the figures, I bargained a hard deal on the flights which saw us spend an unscheduled 10 hour delay in Abu Dhabi airport on the way. When we got there, after a 24 hour journey, we had another internal flight to Chang Mai in northern Thailand. I now realise that travel with two children under three should be restricted to the UK, so it’s Cornwall for us for the next five years.


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

Wasn’t the balloon modelling revelation enough? I did get to the final stage of interviews to appear on ’The Apprentice‘, but unfortunately didn’t make it through to experience Lord Sugar’s displeasure.