What do you do?
As I work in an insurance industry a lot of time is also spent negotiating renewals with underwriters on behalf of clients and trying to get the best coverage/price for their coverage taking into account the nature of the client's operations, claims record and the current climate in the marine insurance market. It is always hoped that the main outcome of my work is a happy client!
The thing I most enjoy about my job is travelling to meet the clients - particularly those based in Canada and Argentina. It is always good to see the operations in action as it gives everything perspective and helps with understanding the risks and then delivering good information to underwriters so that they can give the client the best deal. It is also good to get to know the clients personally as this helps you understand some of the challenges that they fact in their day to day working lives.
What does a typical day at work look like?
Inevitably there is a lot of time spent at the computer answering emails. Queries can range from mundane administrative/accounting issues to more challenging contractual/operational issues raised by clients which need to be reviewed from a legal liability perspective and in particular to ensure that their marine insurance cover is not prejudiced in any way.
I also liaise with colleagues in other offices in relation to the
development of new business - particularly in respect of UK ports and terminal
operators. My experience in the industry spans 30 years and I did chair the
Board of a local authority port in the UK for 13 years.
How did you get to where you are?
After my A levels I chose to travel and became a holiday rep working in the south of France, the Canary Islands, Greek Islands, French Alps, Austrian Alps and Tunisia. I stayed overseas for 5 years and then came home to seek my fortune using my languages working in London!
I started my career in the Marine Insurance industry via a recruitment agency in London and as I was working with 2 lawyers, decided that I would like to do a law degree. I did this part time at night school whilst working full time as an underwriter insuring ports and terminals. (Rather naively at the time, I thought the reason I wasn't paid as much as the men doing the same job as me was because I didn’t have a degree!)
I then moved back north to complete my Solicitor's finals and training contract at Hill Dickinson in Liverpool. I qualified as a solicitor in the marine department of Hill Dickinson and a couple of years after qualification I successfully got the job as in house counsel at the Port of Liverpool. This role was very wide and varied and gave me huge experience in the challenges faced in the port industry. After 5 years at the Port of Liverpool I was head hunted by Weightmans in Liverpool and went back into private practice to set up their marine department. I was also involved at that time in the establishment of Mersey Maritime which is now a hugely successful Maritime hub for the Merseyside region and beyond.
I moved further north again to Cumbria where I established a holiday cottage business and continued to do some consultancy work for both Weightmans and Hill Dickinson. At that time I became Chair of the Port of Workington Harbour Board (which role I held for 13 years) and was head hunted by James Fisher & Sons plc - a shipping and marine services company based in Cumbria - to be their Insurance and Risk Manager. My role there was to liaise with the marine superintendents in respect of the vessels (for both their P&I and Hull and Machinery insurance), and the wide ranging number of subsidiary companies which ranged from offshore equipment hire companies, rescue submarine/ROV companies, nuclear industry companies to fender manufacturing & ship to ship transfer companies. I then liaised with both marine & non-marine brokers/underwriters in order to explain what each of the companies did and then negotiate the best deals for insurance premium.
Following redundancy from this role, I was engaged by JLT as a consultant and then eventually became a full time employee (mainly working from home in Cumbria) to find myself doing a full circle and working back with former colleagues in the city of London in the marine insurance industry and indeed working with clients I worked with when I was an underwriter.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
My hobbies include skydiving, choral singing, Argentine Tango , swimming, walking, yoga and pilates.