As a child, what job did you dream of doing when you grew up?
Not insurance. My real dream would have been to do something related to sport – I loved playing football, cricket, tennis and golf during my school years. But a perk of this job is access to some great sports: at this year’s RIMS conference, I was able to get to play a round of golf with a broker at San Diego’s world famous Torrey Pines course.
No one knows it all, but experience is very valuable in this class.
How did you get into insurance?
I left education after A Levels and, living in Billericay with a stockbroker father, the City was the obvious destination. I got a job with the Bank of America but, after there was a reshuffle at the bank, I decided that I wanted to try something else. Serendipitously, while at a dinner party my mother overheard someone saying they needed a ‘young lad’ for their business in Lloyd’s. I applied and was taken on as an underwriting assistant on the cargo and specie account for CH Ford syndicate 710.
Lloyd’s fascinated me from the start. It wasn’t like banking: there was much more face-to-face activity and less picking up the phone. All these different companies in one place with no signage telling you who was who...
How would you describe your job to a stranger at a dinner party?
Usually I’d say marine insurance and when they say boats, I’ll say no, the cargo in the boats. If they’re interested they might ask what’s in the cargo.
What do you like best and least about your job?
Best: the variety. I’m always learning with no two risks the same. No one knows it all, but experience is very valuable in this class.
Least: the variety. There’s no easy day in cargo underwriting and the job can be very intense. There is also a bewildering level of rules and regulations.
What’s the oddest risk you’ve seen?
We were once asked to insure a piece of equipment that gets hauled up mountainsides and delivers a sonic boom to trigger ‘controlled avalanches’.
If you weren’t underwriting marine cargo, what other risks appeal to you as an underwriter?
Event cancellation looks interesting and ties in nicely with my sporting interests.
Would you rather score the winning goal in this year’s Euro 2016 football championships, or outrun Usain Bolt in this summer’s 2016 Rio Olympics?
It would have to be the Euros. I prefer to do something as a team. But, if I can’t be there, I’d prefer Hodgson to play Vardy up front rather than Wayne Rooney.
What’s your favourite book?
Well, he’s not so fashionable any more but I did like Jeffrey Archer’s Kane and Abel. I love a good rags-to-riches story.
The most recent film you saw?
On the plane back from RIMS I saw “The Big Short”, a great film about how some saw the property crash coming and took full advantage at the banks’ expense.
Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know?
I ran a marathon around Loch Ness in 2015. My time was quicker than the time I did for the London marathon in 2005. I’m looking forward to getting even faster in another 10 years.