My other life: Derrick Potton, Hiscox, diver

Derrick Potton

When not busy as sales director at Hiscox UK & Ireland, Derrick Potton spends his time diving.

How did your interest in diving start?

I was very fortunate to grow up in Cornwall, which led to a very early passion for the sea. I was swimming and snorkeling in the sea from a young age and did my first scuba diving course when I was 18 years old.

My interest in marine life led me to study marine biology at Bangor and complete a Ph.D in marine biology at Royal Holloway.

Where is your favourita place to dive?

Unlike many divers who choose only to dive in warmer waters abroad I have always enjoyed the sense of adventure of diving in the colder waters around the UK, exploring ancient shipwrecks, reefs and occasionally collecting scallops or a lobster for dinner.

Two of my favourite dive destinations have been the Galapagos Islands and Cocos Island, which is off the coast of Costa Rica, both very remote destinations which attract a huge variety of marine life, especially sharks.

How did you build up your skills?

In more recent years I have developed and expanded on my diving skills and have qualified to dive with a rebreather. This is a specialised and sophisticated way of diving without making any bubbles. The carbon dioxide is cleaned from the exhaled breath and the same air is ‘re-breathed’ with a small amount of pure oxygen injected to replace the oxygen consumed by the body.

Any crossover between scuba diving and your insurance day job?

Learning to dive using a rebreather is demanding and challenging and pushed me beyond my comfort zone. It has served as a good reminder how it feels to be uncertain of your own ability and how your self-confidence can ebb and flow.

I try and remember this when I am coaching and mentoring people at Hiscox. As you become more senior in your careers it is all too easy to forget what it was like to be nervous before a broker meeting or doing a presentation. Being a student and learning again brings all this home.

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