01 Dec 2022
by Amy Brettell
What is your role and what are your responsibilities?

I am honoured to have been appointed Managing Director for Zurich Municipal in October 2022. I’m proud to lead a team that advocate for our customers every single day, and who truly care about supporting such an integral part of our society. My job is to set our direction, create frameworks, and then simply get out of people’s way and allow them to do what they do best!

What is your background, expertise and/or specialism?

At university I did an economics degree because I saw it as a practical application of maths, a subject I’ve always really loved. Towards the end of my degree, I started to consider a career as an actuary, something that is also all about using maths skills to solve real world problems. I was offered a place on Zurich’s actuarial graduate programme and started my career here.

After a time, however, I realised this wasn't the career path I wanted to take. With the support of Zurich, I’ve had the opportunity to find and follow a totally different but hugely rewarding path. The roles I’ve had since have allowed me to diversify my career and have given me such a variety of experiences. As such, I don’t have a clear specialism, but what I am hugely passionate about is people and I care deeply about the colleagues I work alongside and the customers we serve as a business.

What else are you passionate about?

At work, the roles I've gravitated towards, and really loved, have all had a strong external, customer lens. I am naturally curious, so I also look for roles that allow me to find solutions to problems. Working to solve problems in this market is hugely rewarding because I fundamentally believe that insurance is a social product. Fundamentally we are here to help people and organisations get back on their feet in difficult and often life-changing situations. Sometimes, we have to be able to take a leap of faith, and insurance helps us do that. It allows people and organisations to take risk, which I believe helps move forward economies and communities.

Outside of work, I am equally passionate about having a positive impact on the world and championing community and sustainability. My aspiration is to leave the world in a more positive place than when I entered it. I have to also admit to being an avid fan of gin, penguins and puzzles!

What are your immediate plans for your new role at Zurich Municipal?

Zurich Municipal is where I began my career, and I’m delighted to be returning, but I also don’t want to make any assumptions on what I do or don’t know. The public and voluntary sectors are facing rapidly evolving risks, not to mention the changes in our own internal landscape in the six or so years since I last worked here.

My immediate focus is all about learning and listening, with a particular focus on understanding our customers’ experiences and the challenges they face right now. This is really important to me as I want to make sure we shape our products and services with these things at their heart. On that note, it’s been great to get to speak to some of our customers face-to-face at recent events and I look forward to getting to know more of you over the coming months.

What do you see as the priority topics, threats and opportunities emerging for Zurich Municipal customers?

Last time I was in the sector things were really tough for our customers; now they are arguably even tougher. This is an incredibly challenging time for the public and voluntary sectors and so it is hard to narrow it down to just a few. I am very mindful of the sector feeling squeezed between an increasing demand for its services, against a more limited supply of funding and resources.

Councils and partners also play an essential role in driving local climate action, which will continue to be a priority as we look to achieve our target of net zero emissions. Equal attention needs to be paid to building resilience to extreme weather conditions. The future of mobility is another area of focus, whether that’s the transport of people and goods, or being able to embrace new innovation and technology.

Of course, to be able to stay agile and keep pace with the modern world we must all ensure there is a pipeline of diverse talent ready to challenge us and drive us forwards. Upskilling and inclusion are certainly topics that resonate across the public and private sectors alike.

Our customers understand the needs of their communities best, so if anyone is best placed to respond to these challenges and stay optimistic, it is them. What is important to me that, alongside partners like ALARM, we’re able to support them as they navigate the emerging risk environment.

What are your long-term ambitions for Zurich Municipal?

We are committed to helping protect and build resilient communities, and we have done so for many years. Indeed, in 2023 we celebrate our 30th birthday. Customers are at the heart of so much of what we do at Zurich Municipal. I’m focused on ensuring we protect that by evolving alongside our customers, supporting them as they serve their communities, and continuing to be a long-term partner to the sector.