60 seconds with... the Casualty Claims team24th May 2023
“I am proud to lead a team of talented claims professionals. It’s the variety of different challenges we deal with every day that makes our roles so interesting. We specialise in General Liability, Cyber and Directors & Officers claims and have over 150 years of experience between us, which means we are unique in our approach and can solve virtually any problem to best service our insureds."
Laura Flett, Casualty Claims Manager
What is the best part of your role as casualty claims manager?
Working with each team member, and collectively as a team, to find solutions to the most challenging claims across General Liability, Cyber and D&O – a varied mix of classes.
What skills will you bring back to your role as casualty claims manager now that you have been interim head of London Market claims?
A deeper understanding of what Casualty Claims can bring to the London Market business as a whole, and in turn what the business needs from Casualty Claims. I now also have a wider network of internal and external contacts who I can go to, to help solve problems for the team.
How would you describe the casualty claims team in three words?
Talented, experienced, dedicated
What does Hiscox London Market do best when it comes to handling claims?
For me it is the way that we really consider each and every claim on its’ own merits and we have monthly meetings with our underwriters and actuaries where we round table our more complex claims. A key strength of the Hiscox London Market claims team is the depth of expertise and experience that we have.
Tell us about your biggest achievement since joining Hiscox in 2009?
I have had some great experiences and achievements since joining Hiscox nearly 14 years ago, but for me for my biggest highlight has been the opportunity to work across various lines of the business. When I joined I was handling Professional Indemnity and Political Risk claims, but in 2017 we exited both of those classes and so when I returned from maternity leave in 2018 I began handling GL and Cyber claims. However in 2019 an exciting opportunity arose for me to take over the Product Recall claims and so I do that alongside my work on GL, Political Risk and Run Off claims. I love the variety that this gives me and no two days are ever the same.
How has the insurance industry changed since you first joined as a claims underwriter?
I would say that there seems to be a lot more awareness now of careers in the insurance industry which is resulting in a much more diverse pool of people working within it, which is great. It is also pleasing to see that there are a lot more females in the industry– during my first few years at Hiscox I would go to market meetings and I could often be the only female in the room.
What is the most interesting part of your role as a senior casualty claims underwriter?
The variety of claims that I get to deal with. My claims can arise from all sorts of events: from exploding pressure cookers to trains crashes and everything in between! I also really like that I get to collaborate with a range of different stakeholders, such as our counterparts at other insurers, lawyers, TPAs, the brokers and clients.
What claims have stuck with you most in your career?
This is probably quite depressing but it’s anything involving catastrophic and life-changing personal injuries. Unfortunately, having dealt with Healthcare Professional Liability claims in the past, and now General Liability claims, I’ve seen more than my fair share.
Have you seen any new trends in casualty claims over the past two years?
In General Liability in particular, we’ve seen social inflation impacting the value of claims. This is where the cost of our claims is being driven up by societal issues and attitudes. This means that on the one hand we’re dealing with more and more outsized settlement demands from (third-party) claimants and the potential for higher jury awards, and on the other we’re sometimes dealing with our own insureds panicking and wanting to pay far more than the claim is worth to resolve it. It can take a lot of diplomacy and to deal with these situations and a level head to make sure the numbers don’t run away with you!
What inspired you to move from being a Barrister to working in insurance?
I was already working in insurance whilst at law school and from speaking to mentors, it was clear to me that I would gain greater exposure to high value, complex and international claims if I chose a career within the Llyod’s & London Market. Looking back on my decade long experience, I can see that I made the right decision. I have been able to handle high profile claims in Europe, North America and the Middle East. I have been able to travel internationally and build relationships with a variety of brokers and Insureds.
What was the most unexpected skill that you picked up as a senior claims underwriter?
Without a doubt, I’d say it’s my knowledge of the business world. I’ve had to work closely with my Underwriters in marketing and business development and this has required me to learn more about the various industry sectors we operate. I’ve also had to regularly read economic forecasts and consider how they impact our customers.
How has the market changed since you first joined over a decade ago?
Two things: technology and diversity. The market has become more reliant on technology than when I first joined (with more video calls and electronic claims files). The market has also become more diverse. All around me I can see people of various ethnicities and nationalities working in the market and in my view this has improved the quality of services offered to our customers.
What has been the most pivotal point in your career so far?
Joining Equitas in 1997 and being part of Reconstruction & Renewal of the Lloyd’s Market.
Who/ what inspired you to get your AIC qualification?
Whilst at Lloyd’s Claims Office, myself and several colleagues studied and passed the AIC qualification in a project led by one of our Senior Claims Handlers, Malcolm Bunn. At the time and for the majority of my career, I have handled North American claims and this seemed to be an appropriate qualification to achieve.
What do you enjoy most as a claims underwriter handling London Market claims?
I enjoy the variety of claims and risks that I see as well as meeting a lot of interesting people along the way and making some good friends throughout the market.
What inspired you to join the insurance industry after leaving sixth form?
The insurance industry appealed to me as I enjoyed Maths, having taken this for A-level and enjoyed collaborative working. Thankfully I was able to reach out to friends who were already in Insurance and they quickly assured me that it is a great industry to work in, they were definitely right and I haven’t looked back.
What is the most valuable skill you have learnt whilst being a part of the LMCC?
Whilst being in the LMCC the most valuable skill I learnt was the importance of clear communication. It became apparent quickly that a good claims service revolved around clear effective communication, whether that be internally or externally.
How have your responsibilities changed since joining Hiscox in 2018?
When I originally joined Hiscox, I was part of the Underwriting operations team. This offered me a fantastic opportunity to learn about a variety of different classes of business and a great introduction into insurance. After a year, I then moved across to claims as part of the new LMCC team, where my focus and responsibility was handling a variety of claims for different lines of business. As I have an established knowledge regarding other lines of business, my responsibility has changed in my new role to become a specialist in one area
How did you get into insurance – especially D&O insurance?
It was fairly random. Toward the end of college I wanted to find a job in the financial sector in NYC and interviewed with a number of employers. I hit it off with the recruiter from Chubb who led the D&O team for the NY office, so that sealed the deal.
What do you predict will be the top risks that your D&O clients will face in the next year?
It’s difficult to make these kind of predictions. But I would expect we’ll see more Securities Claims and Bankruptcy claims as the world economy works its way through the current slow-down, now complicated by the emerging banking crisis.
How has being a qualified US attorney help you progress with your career in insurance?
It has helped a lot. It helps me understand the complex coverage issues often in play in our claims as well as the intricacies of securities law, corporate law and US litigation.
What inspired you to join Hiscox on the graduate scheme?
I was really impressed with the rotational structure and the training provided throughout the course of the scheme. It was possible for me to gain insights into different functions and roles for which I am very grateful - I started my Hiscox journey as a graduate underwriter in our Hamburg office and now handle London Market casualty claims.
What do you think is the most important skill to have as a claims underwriter and why?
Analytical thinking and confident communication are very important skills to have, but in my opinion, Integrity is the truly indispensable one. We sometimes make difficult and unpopular decisions as claims underwriters that we need to justify to key internal and external stakeholders -this is also embodied in our Hiscox value “do the right thing however hard”.
What advice would you give someone wanting to get into insurance?
Gain work experience in the industry - it’s all about finding a company that you can identify with and a role that challenges you. And get yourself out there, there is a variety of networking opportunities and events that can help you build your network early on!
How would you describe your role in 3 words?
Helping mitigate crisis.
What do you enjoy most about working as a senior claims cyber underwriter?
How embedded we are in the business. We work alongside the underwriters, pricing actuaries, wording specialists and other functions to really get to grips with the risks and how to mitigate them. Understanding the various aspects of our own business really helps to understand the intricacies of our clients, and that we are joined up in what we deliver.
How has your history of being a solicitor made you a better claims underwriter?
Before joining Hiscox I spent nearly 10 years in private practice dealing with IT disputes and related issues, of which 5 of those years were acting as a breach coach and handling data breaches on behalf of clients, advising on how to prepare for them or recover from them. Having been in the board room and lived through the intense pressures of responding to a cyber incident, we can relate to the issues an insured is facing during the crisis response period and work to ease the recovery process as much as possible. We understand what needs to happen and how quickly.