Insurance Post

Penny speed meets... Matt Gifford, Elite, director of insurance

Matt Gifford - Elite

Being an insatiable socialite, Penny Black is always eager to probe the personalities behind the professional veneer of her industry friends. What better way to squeeze in and share as many intimate revelations as possible than her very own ‘speed meeting’ column? This week, it’s the turn of Elite’s Matt Gifford.

What was your first ever job — and were you any good at it? Underwriting – I think I’m starting to get the hang of it?

If an MP3 player could only hold three tunes, what would you select for the ultimate soundtrack to your life?
The Wild, the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle by Bruce Springsteen; The Promised Land by Bruce Springsteen; and Land of Hopes and Dreams by Bruce Springsteen – eclectic, eh?

Who was your top teenage pin-up?
Bruce... nah – Sarah Greene (Blue Peter)

My colleagues won’t know this about me but...
I once dressed and sang as Mika in a Stars In Their Eyes competition (for charity, of course)

Favourite book of all time?
A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry – beautifully written, giving a tremendous sense of place. I evangelise about this book

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
It’s no sin to be glad you’re alive

What would be your chosen superpower?
Knowing the right answer when being asked for an opinion on clothes or home furnishings

If you could be Prime Minister for the day, what change would you instigate and why?
I’d make all MPs be hooked up to lie detectors that administered electric shocks each time they told a porky

How would a typical school report about you read?
Easily distracted and appears disinterested – unless it’s sport, of course

My top tip for climbing the insurance career ladder is...
Be honest, do what you promise and lead by example

What’s the most annoying thing people do in your office?
Make a mess – put those files away

My last supper would comprise...
Shepherd’s pie with jam roly-poly and custard for pudding

Who has been the most influential person in your life?
Mrs Gifford without a doubt – 28 years together. She’s still got a lot of work to do on me, mind you

When I’m not working I like to...
Eat cereal while watching the football on TV

Last film you saw?
Frozen with the kids on Christmas Eve. I probably won’t be getting the DVD

If I wasn’t working in insurance I would probably be...
Assuming I would never make it as a musician or professional footballer, a Salvation Army officer or counsellor

Name your five ideal dinner party guests (dead or alive) noting what they bring to the party
CS Lewis for the intellectual chat; Jon Foreman (frontman of the band Switchfoot) for the music and because he is a fan of CS Lewis; Rob Bell for more theology and culture talk and because he would get on with Jon; Brian Blessed for the stories and ensuring no awkward silences; and my wife, as I really ought to take her out more

Career high point to date?
This is it – this interview, right here

What do you say when strangers at a social gathering ask what you do for a living? 
First things first, I’m not a banker, lawyer or estate agent...

If you could travel back in time, where would you go?
Israel, 2000 years ago – there’s someone I’d like to meet

Finish this sentence: Insurance is a great industry to work in because...
It’s still largely about people, and there are some really good people in insurance

Would you like to be probed by Penny on one of her speed meets? Get in touch via Mark Sands.

This article was published in the 30 January edition of Post magazine

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