60 seconds with… the Product Recall team
“I am so proud to lead the Hiscox product recall team. The team are made up of underwriters who combine hard work, industry expertise and innovation with a client service ethos that is second to none. We are a diverse team when it comes to age and experience, but we all have the same drive to keep pushing the product recall class on. We also have a lot of fun working together which makes it very rewarding to be here. I hope you enjoy reading our 60 seconds and if you’d like to find out more about product recall please don’t hesitate to get in touch.”
David Burke – Product Recall Line Underwriter
How did you get into insurance?
Like many people I fell into insurance! A friend that I played rugby with worked at a Lloyd’s broker called Greig Fester and he mentioned they had some vacancies, so I applied and 35 years later I am still here.
How has the insurance industry changed since you joined 35 years ago?
At heart it’s still a people business where deals are there to be done. What has changed is that technology has made the day-to-day way we work change beyond all recognition. When I joined the industry e-mailing didn’t exist, we used telex to correspond with our clients abroad and all placing slips were typed by secretaries. If you had told me 35 years ago that today I would be agreeing placements on PPL and had a phone in my pocket that could run all aspects of my life I would have thought you were crazy!
What inspired your move to go from broking to underwriting?
I was on the broking side for 18 years and then moved to underwriting for the past 17 years. I loved broking but always thought in the back of my mind that underwriting suited my skill sets better. I found it quite an easy move as being in such a niche class as product recall meant I had a lot of transferable skills and knowledge. The biggest change that I had to get used to was that my worry only just started when I put a line down as an underwriter while when I was a placing broker at that same stage my job was basically done.
How did your earlier career in manufacturing inspire you to get into insurance?
Well, there is an obvious joke about how it made me averse to hard work. I can’t say it inspired me to get into insurance, but it has certainly helped me in my role as a recall underwriter. A lot of what I used to do on a day-to-day basis is directly related to what we now cover.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
For me, it was playing a part in building a book of business from the ground up at Hiscox. It was a first for me and presented a lot of new challenges with quite a few bumps in the road. To go from $0 to where we are now as a team has been quite an achievement.
What do you predict will be the biggest threats that your clients will face in 3-5 years?
In no particular order; supply chain disruption, cyber-security, inflation, the rising cost of raw materials and commodities and an increase in the frequency and severity of product recalls both because of the aforementioned issues and independent of them.
Why did you choose to work in insurance?
Like many people, I fell into the industry and never left. After completing a degree in Cinematography, I did some work experience in the Lloyd’s market and it opened my eyes to the world of insurance. It fascinated me how relevant every line of business was to events around the world, and every front page of the news could be related to in some way. I found it to be a career, not just a job.
What advice would you give to someone who would like to get into insurance?
Be inquisitive and open to all opportunities. Try out different lines of business to find one that best suits you.
What's your favourite thing about working in the London insurance market?
I like how social the London Market is and how much you can learn about other industries we insure besides our own. I also like the breadth of domestic and international business there can be, allowing you to come across people from all walks of life.
How did you get into insurance?
Growing up in Bermuda, everyone worked in insurance and had a good work-life balance, so I thought I might as well try it out myself! I did my master’s in Risk Management at the University of Southampton and wanted to stay in the UK, so I thought it was an excellent opportunity to get into the London Market.
What 3 words would you use to describe the Hiscox London Market Product Recall team?
Loyal, Luxurious, Leaders.
You recently became a product recall underwriter; how have you found the transition from the operations team?
Starting in the ops team at Hiscox gave me a great foundation into underwriting; the diverse role allowed me to learn various skills, which I have been able to transfer to this new role. It showed me how the business works as a whole and see which Business Areas interested me. This has made the transition into underwriting much easier, and the recall team has put a great training plan in place!