Diary of an Insurer: Pool Re’s Jonathan Gray

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Jonathan Gray, chief underwriting officer of Pool Re, is careful about cyber security while working on the train and considers how to protect the UK’s publicly accessible locations from terrorist attacks.

Jonathan Gray

Monday

A busy week starts with my usual train journey into London. It’s two hours door to door but is a useful time to think ahead through the coming day and week to prepare mentally for key meetings and tasks.

Once in our offices by London Bridge, it’s straight into a meeting with our Pool Re Solutions team.

We go through the latest UK threat levels, discuss their analysis, and go over materials that we will be distributing to our members through our monthly threat report and discuss the next episode of their podcast called Totally Terrorism.

Being an “arm’s length” government body reinforces our credentials as a trusted partner; one that can give our members genuine insights into current situations.

Today’s meeting focuses particularly on what’s coming down the track regarding Martyn’s Law.

The forthcoming legislation will play an important part in enhancing the protection of the UK’s publicly accessible locations from terrorist attacks.

We’re supporting the government on this legislation, and it is also important that we assist the insurance industry by providing information and education regarding what businesses and organisations need to do to prepare for its introduction – it will be quite a change for SMEs, in particular in terms of what they should be aware of.

Tuesday

London

Today I have a meeting with the British Insurance Brokers’ Association property committee, for which I head over to the BIBA London offices, but am talking to several people online all over the country from London to Manchester via Tamworth.

It is a good opportunity to talk to them about what’s coming in terms of Martyn’s Law and also the Transforming Treaty programme we are proposing for Pool Re.

Until now, our conversations have largely been with our members, but we are now beginning to talk more with brokers about Transforming Treaty, which is going to have a substantial impact on the way the scheme is run.

It will modernise and better reflect the way that commercial insurance is transacted, at the same time giving greater flexibility to our members about how much risk they choose to retain, and hopefully also offering brokers more opportunities for distribution.

We hope the changes will make terror cover more cost effective and easier to obtain, particularly for businesses outside the capital.

We’ve seen via events such as Salisbury and Manchester that unfortunately even the side effects of an attack can seriously affect businesses – particularly SMEs – far beyond London.

Wednesday

Female businesswoman working on laptop on an aeroplane

In the past month I have met 10 chief underwriting officers from across our member organisations and today is the next in that series. These meetings are really important for us – as a mutual, regular dialogue with our members is obviously critical.

My counterpart has some excellent questions about how the treaty transformation will work, as well as an update on what they are seeing in the market, and we have a very fruitful discussion.

After that meeting, I’m able to pop into an internal regulatory training lunch to hear more about cyber security, which – given the sensitive nature of our business – is a hot topic for us. It reminds me to be very careful about not working on a laptop on the train – or that’s my excuse, anyway.

Thursday

Cllr Jonathan Gray, District Councillor, Kimbolton Conservative Group Leader - HDC

The big focus today is a meeting with our members advisory group.

Today, I am sharing advanced details about where we’ve got to with the treaty transformation programme and letting them know the timeline of indicative pricing, for which a draft will be coming out in mid-November, just before our big market event of the year, being held on 30 November.

With that meeting done, there is time for a bit more conversation around the office and meetings with some of my direct reports catching up on the day to day.

I’m passionate about talent and team development, and about enabling people to enjoy both their current roles and develop their ongoing careers. Most people now don’t spend their whole lives in one job, so I believe it’s important to help them develop their skills for the next stage of their career.

Part of that is encouraging my reports in their management roles to be great leaders. Our internal “Be Epic” programme focuses on bringing our corporate values (bold, excellent, ESG-centric, personable, innovative and collaborative) to life and I like to encourage that as much as possible. I’m the executive sponsor for innovative – no pressure there.

I leave the office in good time today as I’m rounding things off with a different kind of meeting. I serve the community by volunteering as a district councillor in my home area, so I head straight off the train to that and enjoy debating some different but equally challenging issues.

Friday

working from home

Today I’m working from home. The quiet time of working from home one day a week, which I try to vary across the days of the week, gives me the chance to catch up on emails and paperwork.

I love the interaction being in the office brings, but I must admit that sometimes it’s good to get my head down to work alone. By the end of the afternoon, I’m ready for a relaxing weekend.

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