Mary Francis, director general of the ABI, spurned the stethoscope and the tutu in favour of the insurance industry

What newspaper do you read?
The Financial Times (and all the others through press cuttings.)

What career did you want to have when you were a child?
A doctor or a dancer.

What was the worst business decision you have ever made?
Putting off a difficult staff issue which had to be resolved in the end anyway.

What do you like best about insurance?
It's about life in every aspect.

What would you do tomorrow if you left the insurance industry?
Look for another job – I'm certainly not ready to retire.

On dress down Friday, what do you wear?
We don't have a dress down Friday policy, but the ABI is not too formal an organisation anyway.

What is the biggest insurance claim you have ever made?
Too sad to discuss – but brilliantly handled by the insurance company.

Who do you most admire?
Alan Greenspan – an outstandingly successful manager of the US economy, or very lucky.

Do you have an unfulfilled ambition?

How many people have you sacked?
That's between me and the individuals concerned.

How do you relax if you do not play golf?
Swimming and walking.

What is your favourite quote?
“Life is not a dress rehearsal.”

What is your most over-used phrase?
“Yes – but”.

What keeps you awake at night?

What advice would you give someone starting in insurance today?
Get a professional qualification.

What was your first job?
Research assistant to the Gladstone professor of government and public administration in the University of Oxford.

Where did you grow up?
Petts Wood, Kent.

What was your education?
An all-girls school and Cambridge University.

What is your favourite film?
Some Like It Hot.

What is your favourite book?
It's always the same answer – the latest Robert Parker.

What is your favourite tea?
English Breakfast.

What is your favourite joke?
Unprintable - ask me in the bar one evening.

How often do you use public transport?
Twice a day – the Circle Line.

Who do you vote for?
That's between me and the ballot box.

Are you in the favour of the Euro? Yes/No?