Diary of an Insurer: Ecclesiastical’s Sarah Pearson

Diary of an insurer logo

Sarah Pearson, head of enterprise risk management at Ecclesiastical Insurance, kicks off the day with Special K, helps businesses to carry on and ends the week abseiling down Derby Cathedral to support Rainbows Children’s Hospice.

Sarah Pearson_Ecclesiastical Insurance


I wake up at 7am and go down for breakfast. They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I have been having the same breakfast as long as I can remember: Special K, seasonal fruit and semi-skimmed milk. I need to venture out of my comfort zone.

Today I spend the morning preparing for some work we are doing with a school on their business continuity management.

The focus of the work is to understand the key business continuity threats facing the school and agree what critical services they would want to protect during a disruption, the resources they would require to keep the show on the road and timelines for recovery.

This is a key part of the business continuity management cycle – often referred to as the business impact analysis.

I am so engrossed in my work that before I know it it’s mid-afternoon and I need to catch a train to Bristol to support a church customer first thing Tuesday morning.

I like travelling by train. It gives me the opportunity to catch my breath and gather my thoughts without the worry of driving. I arrive at Bristol, check into my hotel and Google if there is a nice Italian nearby – my favourite food.

Following my meal, it is an early night for me as I need to be fresh and on my game to facilitate an important workshop the following day.


Young woman traveling by train and using phone.
Maria Korneeva

I am up and ready to go this morning. I arrive at the customer site 30 minutes before the start of the workshop to ensure all the tech is up and running and ready to go.

The participants start to arrive, and it is great to meet such a cross section of people from the chief operating officer, finance director, the dean to the chair of their audit and risk committee.

Today was working with the group to identify the key risks and opportunities facing the organisation aligned to their priorities and plans moving forward.

The output was a refreshed strategic risk register.

The workshop went well, and I get this deep sense that I have added value – the best part of my job. I look at my watch and it’s back to the train station to head home.


Sliced cake on stand

It is an early start today as I am catching up with enterprise risk management colleagues in Australia. It is my 7am and their 6pm.

The purpose of these bi-weekly calls is to work together to develop our ERM proposition across our territories. They are always productive, a safe check and challenge forum, and good fun.

Then it is head down as I work on an exciting new development. We are looking to launch a new ERM self-assessment tool to support our customers. There has been so much planning behind the scenes, but we are now at the exciting part where we can see how the tool will look and feel – so watch this space.

After lunch I am drafting a paper that will be presented to the UK leadership team on how our ERM proposition will develop over the next three years – they say never stand still.

We are so proud of our offering and want to ensure our proposition stands strong against our competitors.

The day has gone so quickly, and it is not over yet. I have planned to drop into a local charity who support autistic children and carers and present them with their £1,000 Movement for Good award.

As part of the Benefact Group our purpose is to give all available profits back to charitable causes. The team were so grateful as £1,000 will go a long way.

I managed to get back home to catch the new Great British Bake Off series – easy watching – just what was needed.


Adult woman sitting in a lotus pose with her eyes closed, relaxing and meditating. Health at any size.

I cannot believe it’s Thursday already. Looking at my diary, it’s back-to-back meetings, which involves customer work, pipeline calls, looking at a cyber safety tool, working with colleagues to ensure our new ERM self-assessment tool is in line with Consumer Duty, and anything else that appears in my inbox.

I spend the last couple of hours finalising and going over my material for a webinar first thing on Friday morning, which is in partnership with AGBIS.

They support and advise governing bodies of schools in the independent sector on all aspects of governance, under the umbrella of the Independent Schools Council, and we work closely with them.  

The webinar is titled The Big Picture – To Your Picture and explores the need to innovate and maximise opportunities in a riskier landscape with a focus on independent schools.

Feeling prepared and ready for tomorrow, it is time to shut down and go to my yoga class at the local gym.



Where has the week gone? It has been extremely busy but productive.

After a few technical problems with Zoom, the webinar goes ahead as planned. It was great to speak to governors about a number of ‘big picture’ risks and how they will affect schools at a more local level.

The webinar focused on three key areas: economic (cost-of-living), environment (climate change), and technology, and how your strategic risk management approach can be used to support future scenario planning.

Webinar over and it’s back at my desk to look at the team’s performance metrics – we are getting to that time of the year when we need to be close to hitting or exceeding targets. I am feeling pretty upbeat as we are on track.

The last call of the day is with a member of the team preparing for a business continuity test with a client and developing a credible scenario to test. These are a fantastic way to check if the plan is fit for purpose and raise awareness around roles and responsibilities in a crisis. There is a lot of planning that goes into these assignments, but they are an extremely effective way of engaging people in the process.

Its 5pm and time to stop for the week. Friday evening is my favourite time, the malbec is at room temperature, and I have the whole weekend to look forward to catching up with family and friends.

I do however need to finish this article by saying on Saturday morning I will be joining a couple of work colleagues and we will be abseiling down Derby Cathedral to support Rainbows Children’s Hospice.

Whatever we raise, the Benefact Group will double it! I am not great with heights but who would not want to contribute to such a worthy cause?

Only users who have a paid subscription or are part of a corporate subscription are able to print or copy content.

To access these options, along with all other subscription benefits, please contact info@postonline.co.uk or view our subscription options here: http://subscriptions.postonline.co.uk/subscribe

You are currently unable to copy this content. Please contact info@postonline.co.uk to find out more.

Big Interview: Jason Storah, Aviva

In his first full profile interview since taking over as UK and Ireland General Insurance CEO at Aviva, Jason Storah sits down with Scott McGee to talk about the insurer's re-entry into Lloyd's, where else Aviva could yet expand, and the differences between the UK and Canadian insurance markets.

You need to sign in to use this feature. If you don’t have an Insurance Post account, please register for a trial.

Sign in
You are currently on corporate access.

To use this feature you will need an individual account. If you have one already please sign in.

Sign in.

Alternatively you can request an individual account here