• Unsung Insurance Hero of the Year
• Young Achiever of the Year
• Insurance Personality of the Year
• The Achievement Award
The four individual trophies at the British Insurance Awards were won by a quartet of professionals who each in their own ways represent what is great about the sector.
For years the BIAs rewarded the young achievers making strides in the market, while those with more storied careers could take home the achievement gong.
However, this year, a new award was introduced for the people who might never reach national recognition, but in their own way have contributed massively to their employer’s success, without ever basking in a similar limelight to their CEO or line manager.
In this vein, David Henderson, former regional manager at Hiscox was the worthy recipient of the Unsung Insurance Hero of the Year Award, for his achievements in both the short and long term. Having announced his intention to retire in 2015, David stepped back from the day-to-day management of the Birmingham branch he had built up almost from scratch.
He was given the project of delivering a quantum leap improvement in Hiscox UK and Ireland’s long-term relationship selling and sales leadership – a task he grasped with both hands, helping push Hiscox’s renewal retention to a best ever figure, with written premium and new business both up on the prior year.
David achieved this through a number of different approaches, including behavioural coaching to improve interactions and relationships with brokers. This strategy has seen the insurer’s net promoter score with intermediaries improve by 10 points in 2014 alone.
He also introduced a sales training programme, sales auditing and leadership coaching – the latter aimed at raising awareness of the behaviours demonstrated by ‘sales managers’ compared with ‘inspirational sales leaders’.
Bronek Masojada, CEO at Hiscox, said: “David has been a prime mover throughout his career at Hiscox in the development of our retail sales culture and he has significantly built on this in his current role as national sales leader.
“This passion for profitable sales and business development meant that whenever we had a new branch manager anywhere in the world who needed mentoring, the cry went out ‘Send for David!’ In recognition of his contribution both as a branch manager and his leadership beyond this, David was invited to become a Hiscox
partner in 2009.”
By contrast, Charlotte Lach of AIG, who won out in the hotly contested Young Achiever of the Year category, is at the beginning of her career.
However, in her four years since joining its professional associate scheme [in July 2011], she has certainly packed a lot in, not least playing a significant role in helping AIG winning Chartered Insurer status.
Her exposure to an array of risks, clients and brokers, as well as her desire for continual development when she began in the energy and construction risk division, meant she achieved her underwriting authority while still on the graduate programme, she was promoted to underwriter in less than two years.
Charlotte’s ability to add value at the highest level was recognised by her promotion to executive manager (chief of staff) to the UK managing director in June 2014, when she became an official member of the UK executive management team.
She is now part of AIG’s High Potential programme, having been selected from over 100 applicants. She achieved the ACII within 18 months of taking her first diploma exam, and achieved distinction in all advanced modules taken.
Thinking beyond her day job, role, Charlotte identified and pursued an opportunity to create an Employee Resource Group for Young Professionals to foster greater collaboration, increase awareness of both professional and personal development opportunities and enhance community engagement.
Jacqueline McNamee, managing director at AIG UK, commented: “Charlotte is one of the best prospects I have encountered in my career. Despite only being with us for three years, I selected her from 1400 potential candidates because she already stood out for her drive, influencing skills and business instinct.
“Not only is she highly personable, professional and energetic but her agility, focus, quality and speed of delivery, capacity for work and problem solving
The Insurance Personality of the Year Award is given to someone who has made a significant mark in the last 12-18 months. Our 2015 winner, Lloyd’s CEO Inga Beale, definitely fitted those criteria.
The first female boss of the 327-year-old market, Inga has made significant strides in supporting the market’s diversity campaign Inclusion At Lloyd’s, has spoken out about why an exit from the European Union would be bad for Britain and been a great advocate of modernisation within the market.
BIA judge and former CEO of Lloyd’s insurer Hardy, Barbara Merry said: “To my mind, Inga’s single biggest achievement is to be appointed, by merit, as the first female chief executive of Lloyd’s.
“In that context she will be the most visible role model of this era, inspiring young women everywhere, but especially those currently in the Lloyd’s market and those who might consider it as their workplace in the future. Her appointment also symbolises Lloyd’s commitment to change, diversity and inclusion.”
The chair of the BIA judges, Julia Graham, continued: “Inga has injected a breath of fresh air into the corridors of Lloyds. Her personality has made a material contribution to creating a more modern and relevant image of Lloyd’s.
“Inga has quickly established herself as a great ambassador for the market and its important role in the London and global marketplace, blazing a trail for our profession and for the value of diversity – on which she is a leader by example and a true role model.”
“For me Inga has made an outstanding start to her leading role in the market. She has bought a freshness, open outlook and dynamism to the role and has quickly gained both creditability and respect,” agreed fellow judge Chris Hanks, who is now a non-executive director of Liberty Syndicates, adding: “In a male dominated world her authority is unquestioned and has set about tackling the enormous challenges with consumate skill and focus. Lloyds feels a better place
with her around.”
Finally, judge Sian Fisher concluded: “I had a chuckle listening to the radio [on the] morning [of the BIA] when the Sports Minister for Jersey was trying to explain how he ended up in Budapest instead of Bucharest for the World Dance championships.
“I thought how that would make Inga roll her eyes over the level of parochialism which still exists in a supposedly global market. She has also been clear on the role Lloyd’s needs to play in leading innovation in difficult, crucial new areas of risk like cyber.”
Finally, the last award on the night – The Achievement Award – was great recognition for the work that David Hertzell has done with important bodies such as the Association of Insurance and Risk Managers, the Chartered Insurance Institute, the British Insurance Law Association and most recently the government’s fraud taskforce.
But it is the work he carried out between 2007 and 2014 in overseeing the reform of insurance contract law for which has received most praise.
The director general of the Association of British Insurers Huw Evans said: “David is a lawyer of great distinction whose work at the Law Commission was characterised by rigorous intellect and patient stakeholder engagement, leading to long overdue reforms of the highest quality.
“David always remembers there is a customer, whether retail or commercial, in every insurance contract and has brought this same focus to his work as chair of the Insurance Fraud Taskforce established by the Lord Chancellor. This award is thoroughly well deserved.”
British Insurance Brokers’ Association CEO Steve White continued: “As Law Commissioner [David] updated insurance law, both for consumers and businesses, through a transparent and inclusive process and with a personal style. His calm and authoritative manner earned him praise and plaudits from all those who engaged with him in the process of overseeing insurance law.”
Graham commented: “It may have taken a century, but the UK’s Insurance Act is now on the Statute books and will replace the Marine Insurance Act of 1906 at the end of August 2016. David is not quite old enough to take the blame for the Marine Act, but he can certainly take much of the credit for the Insurance Act.
“His energy, passion, commitment and central role helped steer through this ground-breaking reform. Throughout David [was] the ultimate professional, a pleasure to work with and a very unassuming and modest man when asked to accept recognition of his achievements.”
Terry Renouf, a partner at BLM, a firm with whom David is now involved, concluded by saying: “To have changed legislation that had been the bedrock of a successful industry for 100 years and to do so by pulling together so many diverse views and achieving a consensus across the whole sector is a remarkable achievement demonstrating shrewd and skilful leadership.
“The legislation now in place for all customers, whether it’s the Consumer Insurance (Disclosure and Representations) Act for personal lines or Insurance Act for commercial, is law that is fit for the 21st century. It will assist the industry in discussing and providing a product that meets the needs of all its customers – both domestically and internationally.
“For the insurance industry the hard work of implementation of the Insurance Act starts now but this award is an appreciation by the sector of the opportunity that a “fit for purpose” law offers. In many years’ time we will come to see ‘Hertzell’s Law’ as an even more significant achievement than we do now.”
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