Sat 21 Sep. 2019

President's Message - September 2019

Dear Members,

Well here we are, nearly at the end of September already. October is just around the corner and Autumn is beginning to make its presence known. But this coincides with one of the busiest times of the year for your Institute with multiple educational and social events filling up the calendar, as well as all the activities of our charity partners and friends. This month I’m also pleased to say that the wonderful “Day In the Life of…..” feature returns! This is shaping up to be quite a long message so grab a cuppa and take ten minutes if you can to read on and see where you can get involved.

This Council works for the benefit of our members and so we’re looking for your experiences to share on the theme of Accessibility. If you have a story you’d like to share with the Institute members, do get in touch with me at because I’d love to hear from you.

Very quickly before I tell you about all the great local events happening, the CII New Generation Broking Group of 2018/19 have released their survey focused on the importance of trust in the SME insurance sector. They are looking for input from our local institute, so if you can spare a couple of minutes to help them out, please click on the following link:

Chosen Charity – Lizzie’s Fund

My charity this year is Lizzie’s Fund, in honour of Lizzie Bramall. More information can be found here: and watch out for news on our fundraising events that we hope you will get involved with!

At the end of August myself and a few others took part in the Prettyfields Wine Run raising money for two charities, one of which was Lizzie’s Fund. There was the option of a 5k or 10k run across mixed terrain, or a 5k walking route. A great day, with the sun shining as we ran and walked, and found little wine and cheese tastings on the way! Our very own Lewis Spooner (who happens to be the star of our returning feature at the end of this message) came in 2nd on the 10k race! Well done to Mike Farrer representing Council on the much more civilised wine walk.

Lizzie’s mum Sally, one of our wonderful Council members and a past President of our Institute, and aunt Emma have taken on two endurance walks this summer. The first was a 50k walk through the Suffolk countryside, and most recently 50k along the Thames Path finishing at Henley-on-Thames. Huge congratulations to them both for completing both and raising over £12,000 in the process!

Coming up in the next couple of weeks is our Annual Charity Quiz, organised and hosted by our Young Professionals Group in association with the Willis Towers Watson Young Professionals Network. I am thrilled to say we are SOLD OUT! I’m looking forward to a night of fun; there will be a raffle with some great prizes on offer so do bring your spare change and help us raise as much as we can.

Educational Events

A quick reminder that next week is the Dive In Festival (24th – 26th September) and we are co-hosting with Willis Towers Watson the first Dive In event to be held in Ipswich!

We welcome Kelly Smith MBE to give a talk on The Power of Inclusion. Kelly has more than 100 caps for England and played for Team GB at the London Olympics. She has had two stints at Arsenal Ladies as well as playing in the USA for Boston Breakers and New Jersey Wildcats. She made her international debut in 1995 and retired from the international setup 20 years later after 117 caps and 46 goals, and we really look forward to welcoming her to Ipswich.

Sign up is via the Dive In website: note that you do have to register on the site first. Places are now very limited.

Since my last message our Education committee have been very busy organising and holding sessions on Cyber as well as an all-day training session for the R01 qualification.

Forthcoming Events:

Weds 2nd October 7.30am – Wellbeing Breakfast: Dementia

Thurs 3rd October 6pm – Quiz Night for Lizzie’s Fund SOLD OUT!

Thurs 10th October 12.30pm (1pm start) – Flood Implications and Risk Management Procedures

Tues 26th November 7.30am – Wellbeing Breakfast: Managing the Wellbeing of Lone & Remote Workers

Keep watch for our flyers detailing the upcoming events; our Education committee are working hard to bring our programme of events to life. We’re always keen to hear what you’d like to see more of, so do get in touch with any feedback or suggestions.

If any of your colleagues are CII members but do not receive our newsletters, it would be worth checking their communication preferences on the CII website – there is a specific section for Local Institute communications and think of all those CPD hours you can claim for the IDD requirements!

Happenings at Suffolk Mind

You may remember last month I mentioned how much money we had raised for Suffolk Mind ( during the last Presidential year. Well, we made it into last month’s CII The Journal! Always great to see word spread about our local community and charities.

Next week at Quay Place (Weds 25th September) sees Suffolk Mind holding an all-day “Return To Work” event. Specifically aimed at those who’ve taken a break from their career and are looking for some guidance, the FREE event runs from 10am-3pm and will have confidence workshops, CV and interview advice and much more.

Book your workshop places now at

I’ve also been given warning that very soon you will be able to register your commitment to RED January 2020! This great initiative aims to get you moving every single day, whether that’s running, yoga or even pole dancing (have a word with Suffolk Mind’s Jon Neal about that one). It’s a great way to focus during the cold and dark months following Christmas.

This month’s tip from Suffolk Mind (once again shamelessly stolen from their newsletter) is on Meaning & Purpose:

The Insurance Charities

I am also promoting the activities of the Insurance Charities this year, as both myself and the rest of our Council believe they are a valuable resource of help and support dedicated to our insurance community that are much underused.

The Insurance Charities can provide support for current and former insurance employees and their dependents in the UK and Ireland, experiencing difficult life events. Whether it’s one-off help you need or ongoing support, get in touch and see how they can help.

The Insurance Charities are currently supporting two particular initiatives which I’d like to draw your attention to.

The first is their innovative partnership with the Alzheimers Society which they launched this year. Any insurance employee who has been diagnosed with dementia or has a loved one who has, can now contact their Welfare Team who will refer them directly to a specialist dementia adviser to access a range of support.

Find out more here:

The second is their partnership with The Silver Line ( The Insurance Charities offers their older beneficiaries a weekly phone call or letter from Silver Line. The charity urgently needs volunteers for a variety of rewarding roles to support the organisation and help transform the lives of lonely and isolated older people. The Insurance Charities can facilitate this so anyone interested should get in touch with them directly.

A Day in the Life of.... Lewis Spooner

Now the moment you’ve all been waiting for; the return of this much-loved feature. To kick off this round, we welcome Lewis Spooner, an integral part of our Communications Team and second finisher at the Prettyfields 10k Wine Run!

""Having finished Sixth Form in the summer of 2012 I was faced with the difficult decision of what I wanted to do next. I wasn’t clear what I aspired to do for my future career path other than the fact that it must involve business, a topic that completely captivated me. At a complete impasse whether to go to University or jump into the world of work I was weighing up my options heavily. After striking up a conversation with a lady whilst working at a supermarket, one of the three part time jobs I carried out alongside studying, I found myself being interviewed by her husband and my future business partner a couple of days later. This consequently kick-started my career at NFU Mutual and my journey into insurance; whilst admittedly part of me was thinking “if it doesn’t work out I will go to University next year”.

When starting out with NFU Mutual Colchester in September 2012 I was given the opportunity to be involved with new business acquisition on the corporate side of the business as a Commercial Account Executive. The early days involved learning the basics of insurance (my only prior interaction with insurance was taking out car insurance) and working closely with other members of the team, many of which I am lucky enough to still work alongside now, who I’ve learnt a lot from both personally and professionally.

After a few years I joined the partnership in February 2017, taking an increased role within the business allowing me to expand my responsibilities beyond acquiring new business and dealing with my clients to also include managing & growing the business, networking and compliance; to name but a few. I thoroughly enjoy the variety of activities of the role which makes the time spent engaging and dealing with my corporate clients provides a fascinating insight into businesses of varying trades and sizes, which caters for my genuine interest of wanting to understand the ways in which different businesses and people operate in this space.

So what does a typical ‘day in the life’ primarily consist of for a Partner at NFU Mutual?

  • Visiting existing corporate clients at their premises to review the insurance programme we hold for them. This involves ensuring that the cover continues to be suitable for their needs, recommending additional covers and products to meet emerging requirements along with reviewing any claims.
  • Coordinating and working with our commercial team in respect of new business generation and acquisition.
  • Overseeing and advocating the integration of our risk reduction to our clients
  • Management of performance and activities across the multiple areas of the business.

Fortunately I am lucky enough to have a talented and capable team who support us on a daily basis.

Now a few years into my time in the insurance industry I can honestly say I am having a great time and looking forward to where it may take me in the future. We are engaged in an industry which is diverse and full of opportunities and I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending a career in insurance to others. I’d particularly suggest working for a company that is supportive of learning, development and putting their policyholders and staff at the forefront of what they do.

My involvement in Insurance hasn’t just stopped at my current role. In July 2018, as a result of being introduced to the Local Institute President by a Past President after a few drinks at the Annual Dinner, I was subsequently invited to attend a Council Meeting of The Insurance Institute of Ipswich, Suffolk & North Essex. Sometimes when opportunities like this arise it’s often far too easy to make up an excuse to not take up such offers when they take you outside your comfort zone. However, I’m very glad this wasn’t the case as my involvement in the CII Council has already offered a great platform for furthering my knowledge of the industry, networking and meeting some fantastic new people; even if it did mean I quickly needed to get my Cert CII as I felt like a bit of a fraud not having it and going to meetings.

I am looking forward to continuing to integrate myself within the local CII, having recently taken on the role of Comms Ambassador and studying towards my Diploma. I would also encourage people to actively follow the activities of their local institute and support the huge amount of work behind the scenes to deliver the events they organise (see website and sign up to emails for upcoming events…).

When I’m not at work I focus on spending my time with friends and family which varies greatly from socialising down the pub after 5-a-sde to going wild camping and ‘roughing it’ for a few days away from all the emails and the day-to-day."

Well that's all for this month!

I hope to see you soon at some of our events; please do come and say hello.

Until next time,


Sarah Deacon