Continuing with our quest to find the insurance industry's most prominent influencers Insurance Times in conjunction with the CII and SSP presents some of those tipped for success among insurers
Product development & marketing manager, Brit Insurance
Ben Buckton has four years under his belt in the insurance industry, having started at Allianz in the North after graduating from Manchester in business economics. In February, he started a new phase of his career at Brit Insurance, managing a diverse panel of brokers. He now runs the product development function, ensuring the successful delivery of general insurance products to the companies' UK division.
Buckton is a stalwart of Insurance Times' Young Professionals Panel and is a great proponent of promoting careers in insurance. Buckton himself is a good example of a graduate wanting to develop a career in financial services. He believes it is for individuals working in the industry to promote it as a rewarding career.
He is a keen traveller and has just completed a round the world trip. He achieved the ACII qualification in two years and is now studying for the Professional Diploma in Marketing.
Counter fraud controller, NFU Mutual
Allan Clare is well known in the general insurance market as a counter fraud specialist. He began his insurance career in 1994 when he joined McLarens Special Risks as a fraud investigator. He then joined Thomas Howell Group (now Crawford & Co) as a trainee loss adjuster and soon became investigation team leader for London and the South East.
In 2000 Clare joined GAB Robins as investigation services manager. In 2004 Clare joined NFU Mutual as counter fraud controller and has responsibility for general insurance claims fraud risk management including strategy, policy and operations.
He is an active supporter of Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters (Cila) and is a member of the London & Home Counties committee and the steering group of the property special interest group.
Clare obtained his ACII, FCII, ACILA and became a Certified Fraud Examiner all by the age of 33. He was instrumental in forming the Cila fraud special interest group and was its inaugural chairman. He also sits on the Insurance Times Young Professional Advisory Board. He is also a committee member of both the ABI Anti Fraud Committee and the Insurance Fraud Investigators Group.
Clare admits to having two vices in his life. In order these are his daughter Sophie and golf.
Darren Clayden, marketing officer, Groupama.
Darren Clayden has a natural flair for design technology and has already redesigned and relaunched the company website since joining in 1999. He quickly developed his IT skills and became part of the fledgling Groupama intranet development team before he was seconded to the marketing team to develop a commercial lines intranet site. His skills in this area led to a full time appointment as marketing officer (electronic media) in 2003.
Clayden is currently training the marketing team in the use of MAC design technology and is preparing to launch a company-wide staff magazine by the end of the year.
He began his insurance career as a claims handler with Royal & SunAlliance and has a first class honours degree in business information technology.
Motor manager, Chubb
Ashley is the brains behind Chubb's Masterpiece Motor product. He led the product to market in the late 1990s, and was responsible for all aspects of the product, including setting rates, writing the policy wording, IT implementation, marketing literature and claims handling.
Cole now leads a team of 10 and has seen Masterpiece Motor grow by more than 30% year-on-year.
He started his career as a broker with A-Plan and crossed the fence in 1997 to join Chubb as an underwriter. He took to underwriting immediately and his strong technical skills made his services immediately attractive to his former broker brethren.
The 36-year-old Ashley is now a key member of the Chubb Personal insurance management team and lives in Hampshire with his wife and daughter.
Regional HR manager, Equity.
At 6'1" Jane Cook can't help but stand out from the crowd, but what sets her apart in her working life is her commitment to taking a commercial, but empathetic, approach to what can be difficult HR situations.
She joined Equity in 2000 as a graduate trainee and has developed an impressive record of achievement in both her HR roles and in the implementation of key strategic projects.
She was appointed to her first HR management position at the age of 26, and at 28 has received five promotions in as many years. Her success was recognised in 2004 when she was announced joint winner of the Insurance Times Young Achiever of the Year award.
Cook is responsible for providing HR support to 1,000 employees within the underwriting, claims and central functions of Equity supported by her team of six HR professionals. She also has an MBA qualification and attained the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) qualification in 2003.
Head of speciality liability, Beazley
Adrian Cox graduated from Oxford with a first class honours degree in economics and history. He has carried on where he left off at Oxford reaching the heights of head of speciality liability, a portfolio of claims made, casualty treaty and programme business.
He also heads the underwriting management team for Specialty Lines, managing a team of seven, specialising in professional liability, healthcare, and claims made general liability. He has some 14 years experience in the insurance industry.
In order for clients to receive the best possible and tailored solutions that meet their often quickly changing and complex needs, Cox does two things that are particularly innovative.
First, he conducts detailed research and analysis of risks on an individual and class-wide basis. For example, he looks at systemic risk and the biggest exposures clients face across the class of business.
His work in this area sets benchmarks for expectations of clients and encourages competitors to deliver high standard of service and quality of underwriting.
And second, his team is structured with processes and protocols that ensure the most experienced underwriters are able to continue to use their expertise to write the risks rather than spend their time in management and administration.
Cox is a member of the Casualty Reinsurance Business Panel at Lloyd's and is due to be media trained.
Group company secretary, Equity
Victoria Cuggy recently won a major young achiever award, having previously been "highly commended" by the 2004 Insurance Times Awards in the same category.
Aged just 27, she was promoted to her current position reporting directly to the chief executive and is a member of Equity's senior management team.
She is responsible for the company secretarial department and its budget, and manages a company secretarial assistant and a PA.
As head of department, she has responsibility for legislative compliance for all group companies, and corporate governance and corporate and social responsibility.
Cuggy has a BA (Hons) in criminal justice and law, and qualified as a chartered secretary and gained associate status in 2003 of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators. She is now working towards a professional award in corporate governance, which she is due to finish in June 2007.
She believes that her young, enthusiastic approach to business and compliance issues, combined with her commercial awareness and being goal driven is what makes her stand out from the crowd.
Assistant general manager - professional risks, St. Paul Travelers
Jonathan has been at St Paul's for the whole of his professional career, having joined the insurer's graduate trainee scheme in 1993 after graduating in banking & international finance from City University.
Davies manages a team of 20 and is responsible for St Paul's professional indemnity (PI) account, worth £65m in gross GWP.
At the age of 35, he is the youngest member of the St Paul Travelers underwriting committee and is also a trustee of the staff pension scheme.
After helping found St Paul's PI account, Davies has seen it grow to encompass 30% of the insurer's total annual premiums and 50% of its profits last year.
Finance director, Norwich Union
Scott by name and a Scot by birth, Scott Egan joined Norwich Union General Insurance in 1995, moving from London to Norwich, after he had worked for Knight Ridder, an American financial information company.
Since then he has been a busy involving himself in demutualisation, the London & Edinburgh take-over and the CGU/NU merger in a variety of finance roles.
His role, prior to becoming finance director, was as director of finance business partners, providing commercial finance support across all the NUI functions. Egan is well qualified. He is an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and holds an MBA which he completed at the Cranfield School of Management.
He was born in Motherwell and is married to Lisa and has two children, Callum and Emma, aged 13 and 11 respectively. Ben Welsh, NU's corporate affairs director, gives Egan high praise indeed. He says: "Egan is someone whose opinions you instinctively want to know. He's insurance/business savvy, has a talent for asking the right questions, and the ability to do prodigious quantities of work."
First Action unit supervisor, personal injury department, Fortis Insurance
Antony Greensweig started his career at Fortis Insurance in 1986. During his 20 years with the company he has held various roles, all of which highlight his passion for good communication within both Fortis and the industry.
He currently manages and supervises a team of five in Fortis' First Action unit, responsible for personal injury claims management at the front line. Greensweig has used his extensive knowledge to train new starters and has showed great commitment to training.
A proactive member of staff, Greensweig helped establish Fortis' internal communications team in 2004 which has led to the introduction of a bi-monthly staff newsletter encouraging dialogue between the company's different departments and sites. He is also a member of the company's charity committee, which organises events and distributes money to the company's nominated charities. Greensweig is also active at both a local and national level. He was part of the CII project team looking at overhauling the local institute network and, in 2006, he was elected alternate to the management committee of the CII. He currently represents Fortis on the ABI's working party looking at care and compensation as well as on an ABI focus group for GTA (Credit Hire) claims.
Proposition development manager, Groupama.
Lynn Harris joined Groupama within its sales and distribution team in 2005 after a stint at Lumley where she led a team responsible for marketing, product development and e-commerce.
She began her insurance career with Norwich Union, as a key account manager, before moving to Marsh in the mid-1990s and working in the affinity schemes division, building relationships in the motor sector.
Since joining Groupama last year Harris has assumed responsibility for all aspects of proposition development including product development from design through to implementation and driving forward the company's approach to the Treating Customers Fairly principle within sales and distribution.
Sales and marketing director, Highway Insurance
Extreme sport fanatic Lawrence has spent his entire career focused on improving the trading environment of Highway Insurance and the broker only motor insurance sector as a whole. Since joining Highway in 1990 Lawrence has moved around the business and undertaken a wide range of roles.
The majority of these roles have focused on establishing new functions or introducing modern trading methods, culminating in his appointment as sales and marketing director in August 2005.
In his current position he manages a team of 11 across two departments and is responsible for the management and development of Highway's 2,500 strong broker panel as well as all of the company's marketing activities.
The overall aim is to assist the company to achieve its objectives through a professional, value-added integrated sales and marketing strategy that sits at the heart of the business and is a strong brand within the industry.
Always an enthusiastic self-starter, Lawrence has led numerous projects and market-leading initiatives within Highway with the aim of growing the business while maintaining a low operational cost base.
Chief actuary, Markel International
At the age of 33, Nick Line is already a key figure in the actuarial world. He regularly speaks at industry conferences — most recently at the Best Practice Approaches to Quantifying and Reporting Reserve Estimates in General Insurance event.
He is a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries and a member of the Committee of Actuaries in the Lloyd's Market.
Line has 12 years' experience as an actuary and is the youngest chief actuary in the market. He is responsible for reserving analysis, commutations, pricing, capital modelling and communication with London and US management.
His commitment to professional development is evidenced by his Cycle Survival Kit paper that he presented at the Institute of Actuaries annual conference in 2003 — the paper is now a recommended text for those studying for their actuarial exams.
He says that he would find it hard to sit back and not get involved in trying to improve best practice in his profession.
Customer services director, Norwich Union
David McMillan transformed Norwich Union's (NU) corporate partners channel in his previous role at NU of partnerships director by securing key contracts with Barclays, HSBC and Asda. He has now set his sights on the insurer's customer relations, supplier services and claims as customer services director.
McMillan was instrumental in changing the perception of NU from being viewed not merely as an underwriting provider, but as a trusted corporate partner capable of representing client brands with understanding and professionalism.
McMillan's background is in management consultancy. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and holds an MBA from the University of Chicago.
After completing an undergraduate degree in finance and computer science at Heriot Watt University, McMillan initially worked for
Hewlett-Packard before spending 12 years at PricewaterhouseCoopers.
He then joined Barclays Bank as finance director of wealth management in 1998.
And it's no surprise to discover the Arbroath-born McMillan is a keen golfer.
Senior underwriter of contingency and event cancellation risks, Beazley
Chris Rackcliffe has brought a wealth of experience to Beazley from his nine-year tenure as managing director at ASU International's London operation.
At ASU, he helped establish the first Lloyd's consortium to be managed by a third-party agency.
He joined Beazley last year and has already established himself as a quick-witted and innovative thinker. His skills at underwriting risks on a risk by risk, product by product, client by client basis have helped the insurer retain the business of some of the world's most high profile sporting and entertainment brands.
Rackcliffe manages a team of three in his role as senior underwriter of contingency and event cancellation risks.
Business manager, Royal & SunAlliance
Previously working in the commercial operation, Kevin Roberts took on the role of business manager - brand brokers, in 2005 to boost this business area and bring together different functions across Royal & SunAlliance (R&SA).
He has rebuilt relationships with key brand brokers, and in ther first quarter of this year, helped to secure inclusion on six major panels including Swinton and Budget.
At the end of 2005, Roberts was the winner of an internal R&SA performance award. He loves to travel and has amusingly been nicknamed 'Judith Chalmers' by colleagues, as he is always jetting off to some destination. He names his favourite city as Rio de Janeiro.
Underwriting director, Anglo Pacific Consultants
Ian Russell has surprised colleagues, contacts and loved ones with his rapid success in insurance given the potential implications it has on his true love of carp fishing.
With unknowing wit, he describes himself as "hooked" on angling, but this belies a man who has been a driving force behind one of the insurance industry's most notable SME underwriters.
Russell joined his father Brian at Anglo Pacific Consultants straight after school. Earlier this year, at the age of 27, he was appointed a board director - one of the youngest in the industry. He manages an underwriting team of 10 and has delivered consistently impressive targets over the past five years.
On top of that, Russell plays a pivotal role in business development, and is recognised as the brainchild behind QuoteMac, APC's proprietary software which allows its network of UK provincial brokers to produce a vast array of instant quotations for commercial insurance.
He continues to develop QuoteMac on a weekly basis, notably its latest innovation that allows brokers to 'white label' the system under their own brand name.
European claims supply chain director, Zurich Financial Services
Peter Tart has amassed a wealth of experience in claims during his 18 years in the industry. He joined Zurich in 2003 as head of professional services and has been quickly promoted to the position of UK claims supply director and is now Zurich's European claims supply chain director.
Since joining Zurich Tart has been focused on developing the procurement competence, governance and 'best practice' of the claims supply team.
This culminated in the publication of a comprehensive Claims Supply Handbook in early 2003 that defined all aspects of procurement best practice. This has been become 'best practice' for supplier selection and management across Europe.
Tart now heads Zurich's European claims supply team that manages all claims suppliers across eight European business units that include the UK, Ireland, Spain, Germany, Portugal, Italy, Austria and Switzerland. Tart is also a member of the global vendor management team that is focused on identifying and implementing global procurement claims contracts with global vendors.
He is also responsible for developing a business plan to drive claims supplier utilisation from $1.3bn to $3bn in 36 months.
He has an MBA in strategy and procurement management from the University of Birmingham and is an ACII and a member of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply.
Chief underwriting officer at Evolution Underwriting
When not offering tips or counting the cost of his love of horse racing, Paul Upton, 35, is a board director, co-founder and the driving force behind broker-only SME underwriter Evolution. On the back of Upton's energy and business acumen, the company has grown significantly since its launch in March 2004.
Upton leads a team of 12 and is responsible for all executive functions relating to underwriting, product development, liaison with risk-capital providers, sales and marketing, claims. You name it, Upton's involved.
His staff refer to his tireless energy and are assured that brokers across the country acknowledge his professionalism and the critical role he has played in the success of the business.
Evolution was created to change the way commercial insurance is transacted in the UK broker market. It issues 100% of its policy documentation online and operates a single location Underwriting centre of excellence.
Distribution development manager, AXA
Richard Walker joined AXA graduate training programme in 2002 after achieving a MA in Economics from St Andrews University. During his first two years with the company, he spent time working across the business in a number of different of roles in personal lines distribution as an account manager, claims and finance, and also as an account executive on the Thomas Cook account.
Walker's first managerial role was as a project manager where he oversaw the design and implementation of a revolutionary new claims system.
In September 2005 he joined the distribution development team and has a number of responsibilities including the development and implementation of AXA's partner propositions and support services, and the management and strategy of AXA's non-risk income business.
In 2005, he was highly commended in the Claims Club Young Professional of the Year award.
Director, enterprise - small business, Royal & SunAlliance
Liverpool supporter Chris Wallace has worked in a variety of roles across sales, surveying, underwriting, strategy, development and relationship management since joining Royal & SunAlliance (R&SA) in 1993.
He has experience on a global scale, including a South American secondment to develop a new business strategy.
Wallace joined the small business division in September 2005 to lead the underwriting and customer strategy, and within two months was given the opportunity to lead small business itself, with 450 staff across five sites.
His role is to lead and drive change, creating a proactive business model. This entails refining product and distribution routes to market, and evolving small business into a sales driven world. He has three children, two of whom ironically support other football teams - Arsenal and Manchester United.
Distribution development director, AXA
Former Insurance Times Young Achiever of the Year award winner 2004, Jillian Watt entered the insurance industry in 2001 with AXA, first in business finance.
The 31-year-old moved to distribution in 2004, before being promoted in March 2006 to the role of distribution development director - the youngest ever member of AXA's distribution executive.
High flying Watt was honoured at the Insurance Times awards as a result of her focus on using financial analysis and management information to improve business performance and planning within the commercial business.
Over the past 18 months, she has focused on profitability enhancement and operational efficiency in the business, and is responsible for implementing far reaching change programmes across the commercial branch network and internal functions.
She provides decisive and insightful analysis to AXA's leadership, based on clear thinking, a thorough understanding of financial performance drivers and a pragmatic, commercial approach to problem-solving.
European e-commerce manager, Ace
Mark Whitehead joined Ace as its European e-commerce manager in November 2005, having previously spent four years as UK operations director at lastminute.com.
Prior to that, Whitehead worked for Andersen Consulting and Arthur D Little in consulting and e-commerce roles.
Whitehead is a great believer in giving brokers choice by moving to multi-platform distribution, and in nine months he has significantly advanced Ace's e-commerce strategy from the extranet-focused plans that were initially in place.
Whitehead has been instrumental in Ace's new partnership with Imarket, with professional indemnity going live in September and directors' & officers' later in 2006. He has also instigated innovative deals with a number of broker software houses, delivering auto-rated quote/accept/renewal products to the users of Acturis, SectorNet and Sirius systems.
He is also an advocate of giving brokers full online control — covering quotation, acceptance, adjustment and renewal — and has transformed Ace's approach to electronic commerce.
Business analyst, Equity
Kerry Williams joined Equity in April 2003 in the underwriting finance department and has already been promoted three times. Previous to her current role she managed the market research and creative design functions.
At the moment she is spearheading the new business development plan for Equity's highly competitive breakdown business, Autonational.
A key part of her role is managing executive projects including mergers, acquisitions and disposals, and she provides business analysis and project management support to the CEO, Neil Utley.
She created the 'ExecCover' scheme, offering a tailored and personalised insurance of high value vehicles and multi-vehicle polices to employees of major financial institutions such as investment banks, including Lehman Brothers in Canary Wharf.
Williams has a BSc (Hons) in law and business and is currently undertaking a post-graduate diploma in management studies
CFO, QBE European Operations
David Winkett has responsibility for almost 300 staff across finance, IT, legal, company secretarial, internal audit and corporate development teams.
Since joining QBE, Winkett has coordinated mergers & acquisitions activity in Europe, encompassing over a dozen buy and sell-side deals. Recent acquisitions include Ensign, MBP (Minibus Plus), Greenhill and British Marine.
Winkett was also responsible for the development of the first capital markets contingent capital solution for funds at Lloyd's. During 2004, Winkett oversaw the integration activities of QBE's European business covering legal and management structure, corporate governance, IT and finance.
In 2005, he engineered the merger of the two licensed insurance entities, using a Part VII FSMA to create QBE Insurance (Europe) with gross written premium and net assets of over £1bn at 31 December 2005.
Winkett managed QBE's acquisition of Limit in 2000 which was QBE's first public takeover deal. He was also responsible for the successful post-deal integration of Limit with QBE's European division. Following the merger of QBE's Lloyd's and company divisions in 2004, Winkett was promoted to chief financial officer for QBE European Operations. During 2004, Winkett oversaw the integration activities of QBE's European business covering legal and management structure, corporate governance, IT and finance.
Then in 2005, he engineered the merger of the two main licensed insurance entities, using a Part VII FSMA to create QBE Insurance (Europe) Ltd with gross written premium and net assets of over £1bn at 31 December 2005.
In 2005 Winkett was also responsible for the negotiation and planning of QBE's largest property project, Plantation Place, EC3. Plantation Place now accommodates over 800 QBE staff. Winkett is a member of the Lloyd's Market Association finance Committee and capital sub-committee. IT