What is your role and what are your responsibilities?
I am delighted to have taken on the role of Head of Market for Public Services at Zurich Municipal. I am thrilled to be leading a team from across our business, focused exclusively on delivering for our local government, police and fire service customers. I occupy a general management role and will focus on setting direction, removing blockages, and providing the tools and frameworks our people need, and then ultimately letting the experts do what they do.
What is your background, expertise and/or specialism?
I’m not sure there’s any ‘conventional’ route into a role. I certainly didn’t see myself working in the world of risk and insurance, when as a young man I’d set out towards a career in medicine.
However, having recognised my discomfort with some of the more challenging elements of medicine I soon realised that I wasn’t cut out for it. I’d always harboured an interest in marketing and communications and reaching people. That culminated in a role as Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, leading large teams of experts. Soon after I had another epiphany, realising that what was firing me was building and leading teams. An opportunity to take on a general management role with Zurich Municipal and lead a diverse group of people across functions and disciplines presented itself. This was the best career decision I’ve ever made, as it has led to the best, and current role of my career to date.
I’m a humble chap by nature and would never be so bold as to consider myself an expert in anything, but I do passionately believe that gaining a breadth of career experience helps build great business leaders.
What else are you passionate about?
I’m a huge believer in coaching and developing people, taking risks on people (perhaps odd for a chap in the world of risk and insurance) and am a passionate advocate of the underdog and champion those who deserve a fair platform. I love being surprised by people.
Outside of work, my family are my number one passion and bring me great joy. I’m married to Amy and have two young daughters to whom I lose most of what little spare time I have. When I have time to myself I enjoy a round of golf, or releasing my inner ‘Titmarsh’ at my allotment (I’m behind schedule this year), and geeking it up with interest in all things STEM.
What are your immediate plans in your new role at Zurich Municipal?
My focus is on building on our heritage and relationships. My aim is for Zurich Municipal to be considered the best risk management and insurance partner for the sector, staffed by experts and delivering for our customers.
As such my immediate priorities are fairly straightforward: meet as many risk managers, insurance officers, procurement leads, directors of finance and chief executives as I can, to gain a comprehensive understanding of what we do well and what is needed. Oh, and to build the best team.
What do you see as the priority topics, threats and opportunities emerging for Zurich Municipal customers?
As always there is much negativity that surrounds the sector, but equally much to be proud of and inspired by. I have spent this week participating in judging for Council of the Year in association with the Local Government Chronicle. I am genuinely in awe of how those in the sector are responding to the range of challenges presented to them - the innovation on display; from approaches to tackling with unbudgeted inflation, to unplanned refugees, to responding to cost of living crisis and supporting citizens. The impact of local political changes, to staff retention and recruitment, to net zero transitions and pressures on children’s services to name but a few.
Wider macro-economic factors remain at the forefront as significant drivers, not just for public service organisations. Inflation remains stubbornly high adding pressure to budgets, and with interest rates continuing to rise for many this adds pressure to the cost of servicing debts - financial resilience is a key headline for all.