25 Sep 2023
by Ruth Kydd
What is your role and what are your responsibilities? 

I am the Insurance Manager for the City of Edinburgh, Scottish Borders and East Lothian Councils, Edinburgh Trams (ETL) and associated ALEOs too. I have worked within the local government sector across five unitary authorities for over eight years in Scotland. 

I am honoured to have won the 2023 ALARM Professional of the Year Award which recognises outstanding professionals who demonstrate achievement, commitment, and enthusiasm in the promotion of risk management.  

My entry was based on the work I have undertaken in the previous two years since starting at the City of Edinburgh Council. I successfully promoted the importance of engaging with insurers at the outset of major capital projects, so that the sustainability objectives that Councils wish to deliver do not impact the overall insurability of the building. This has involved significant engagement with insurers and service areas across organisations to ensure compliance with insurance requirements as our building strategies evolve.  

As Chair of the ALARM Scotland Group I have helped develop the Scotland workstream. Our one day in-person in Hampden was our most successful yet and we are looking forward to the annual ALARM Scotland Conference in Stirling in October. Book your place now for two full days of learning, training, and networking.

What have been your biggest successes and achievements? What are you most proud of?  

Working with so many diverse organisations and individuals, it is hard to come up with only a few examples.  

Highlights over the last few years include: 

  • Insurance for The Event Complex Aberdeen (TECA).
    This was extremely challenging to place a few years ago (while I worked for Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City Councils) as it wasn’t just a building for major events but also two hotels, an energy centre and anaerobic digestion plant too! I learnt so much from this placement about the energy sector (risks and insurance) and contract clauses which has assisted me in subsequent projects. 
  • Market placement for Edinburgh Trams (including the Trams to Newhaven project).
    This was a really interesting placement which we presented directly to the London market in January 2023. Delighted to say that with colleagues in ETL, we were able to provide a full risk presentation which the market responded very positively to. My knowledge of light rail risks and challenges has increased hugely over the past couple of years working with highly experienced colleagues at ETL. 
  • Ongoing delivery of shared services.
    Continuing to deliver both internal and shared service external insurance and risk management advise to three separate councils is a challenge that I relish. This has been really rewarding and it is good for the team to have been recognised internally through our recent green audit around the work we deliver and the processes in place. Never one to sit on my laurels, I’m now planning how we can improve and automate processes to ensure our delivery continues to evolve. 
  • Being Chair of the ALARM Scotland Group has been a personal highlight for me.
    The Group is made up of colleagues from different public service organisations so creating content and identifying emerging risks which translate into meaningful sessions for our members has been very worthwhile. 
What are your next areas of focus? 

I have three organisations to take to market in the next year for their first post-COVID tenders so there is going to be a significant focus on market presentations and data gathering over the autumn/winter period. 

Given the propensity of lithium batteries in our lives, from vapes to electric scooters and cars, I’m working with services on the insurance and risk management on a large scale from a council perspective. From waste to fleet risks, we need to embrace our journey to net zero however be mindful of all the additional risks that can arise. 

What are your top tips for people thinking of entering the 2024 ALARM Risk Awards?  

I think that there are a lot of people working across the UK in risk and insurance roles who are delivering fantastic outcomes for their organisations. I had never entered before this year, however a chance discussion with someone who asked me why I’d never entered got me thinking about it. Whether you are nominated or nominate yourself, it’s important to highlight the work that we as risk professionals are doing as all of the nominees have great achievements. To be shortlisted with talented risk professionals, and then win on the night, was amazing! 

How does ALARM benefit you and your organisation?  

I have supported ALARM since I started in the sector in 2015 and been active within the Scotland Group since 2017. ALARM has been instrumental in my knowledge and awareness of insurance and risk management. The networking, knowledge and information sharing is second to none, and we are very fortunate to be supported so strongly by our sponsors. All of the knowledge that I gain is shared with my stakeholders, as I try to future proof the insurance arrangements with robust risk management inherent in each of the organisations I am responsible for.