Diary of an Insurer: Zurich’s Amy Brettell

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Amy Brettell, managing director of Zurich Municipal, brings together people from underwriting, claims, risk, finance, and the market to identify the actions that need to be taken due to emerging themes.

Zurich's Amy Brettell

Monday

Anyone who knows me well knows that I am definitely not a morning person.

I did however manage to start the week well and drag myself out of bed for an early morning workout.

The working week also got off to a fantastic start as I spent the morning talking all things customer in Zurich’s UK customer committee, with a focus on making sure that we continue to deliver in line with the Financial Conduct Authority’s new Consumer Duty regime.

Our team in Farnborough will soon have a new home so after the committee meeting, I spent some time looking at the logistics for our office move.

We’re really focused on sustainability in the new space, which will have loads of great features like hedgehog houses and birdfeeders, and of course we want to make the new office as vibrant as possible.

It’s a similar sustainability theme to our newly built office in Swindon, which has been a huge success.

After this I joined a weekly catch-up call with my executive colleagues, which was a great chance for us to share what’s going on in each of our areas.

I’m really proud to co-sponsor Zurich’s Cultural Awareness Network, alongside our chief underwriting officer, Caroline Dunn.

After my catch-up call, I spent some time with the network planning an upcoming event to help celebrate Black History Month.

Tuesday

meeting

Tuesday morning was spent in a face-to-face meeting with members of my own team looking at our performance for the year so far, as well as some of the trends we are seeing in the market.

We call this group our “virtuous circle” – it brings together people from underwriting, claims, risk, finance, and the market.

The discussions mainly focused on the emerging themes we’re seeing and the actions we need to take as a result.

One of my favourite parts of being a leader is helping others be the very best they can be so it was lovely to have a people focused afternoon.

I spent time in one-to-one career development chats with team members, before meeting a colleague involved in Lead 25.

This is a fantastic development programme for all senior leaders in Zurich UK, so it was great to chat through how we’re going to continue to shape this going forward.

Finally, I finished the day by spending some time with a colleague who has recently left the Armed Forces and had joined us for an eight-week placement as part of the Lloyd’s of London Military Placement Scheme.

He was coming to the end of his placement, so we had a good chat about how he had found it, and I was delighted to hear that it had confirmed his thoughts about pursuing a career in our wonderful industry.

Wednesday

Senior colleague mentoring a young employee in the office
Photo: Michele Pevide

I spent Wednesday morning with members of our team presenting to our chief executive Tim Bailey and some of my executive colleagues, on the current state of play in Zurich Municipal, and the progress we’ve made on delivering our strategy.

In the afternoon I took part in what we call a “close the loop call”, which is a chance to talk to customers who have made complaints.

While I never like to hear that someone feels let down by us, what is really important is that we understand what’s happened and learn from the situation to ensure we take action to improve.

The rest of the day was spent in one-to-one mentoring sessions with people from outside of Zurich Municipal.

I benefitted so much from great mentors in my early career, and still do, so I am passionate about paying this forward and invest as much time in this as I possibly can.

Thursday

Multiracial business team having a meeting in a coffee shop
Photo: PixelsEffect

Thursday morning was set aside to review a number of board and committee papers.

A big part of my job is to bring challenge and understand the breadth of what’s going on at Zurich, so making sure that I have quality time to think is crucial.

It was nice to get out of the office and catch-up with an external colleague over some lunch.

We had a fantastic and enlightening conversation covering everything from politics to diversity, and even started to dream up a potential talent swap programme.

Thursday was also the day the Zurich Group announced its half-year results, so I spent some of my time reviewing these.

We also had the opportunity to highlight how the UK had supported the result and to thank colleagues for their contributions on an all-employee call.

Friday

A group of people sitting in a social club enjoying an alcoholic drink while playing a game of bingo together in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. They are all marking numbers off their bingo cards.
SolStock

Friday morning was slightly quieter than the rest of the week, so I got to spend some time catching up on emails.

I’m really honoured to be a trustee for Zurich Community Trust, Zurich’s charitable arm, which has been supporting communities and helping to improve the lives of vulnerable people for 50 years.

My afternoon was spent in a board meeting where we had a wide-ranging discussion on how the charity is doing.

Dementia UK, one of our multi-year partners, presented to the group – like so many of us this is a topic close to home for me, and so it was wonderful to hear about the amazing work they are doing.

The evening was spent catching up with one of my very best friends, who I met in university but now (selfishly!) lives in Singapore.

We share a love of puzzles and games, so after grabbing some food we headed into town to try our luck at bingo. Despite not taking home any winnings it was a lovely end to another busy and varied week.

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