President's Message

  • Oliver Watson
  • President

Dear Members,

It is an honour to be taking on the role of President of the Insurance Institute of Ipswich, Suffolk and North Essex for the 2024/2025 year. Our institute is widely seen as a strong producer of educational content, top quality events and fundraising. This would not be possible without the hard work and efforts of the dynamic team of volunteers that is our local institute Council. Furthermore, I would like to thank these Council members, as they go above and beyond their daily roles to develop and host these events.

In addition, I would also like to say a big thank you to the immediate past President Nathan Harvey for his hard work and kind encouragement throughout the last two years. There is no doubt that the Insurance Institute of Ipswich, Suffolk and North Essex has seen another excellent couple of years under his leadership and it has been wonderful to see!

Moreover, he leaves behind some very big shoes to fill as he has worked tirelessly to provide the best for our members. I also believe Nathan’s theme of “Membership” remains a brilliant choice and reflects how we all benefit in being members of our institute and the CII overall.

On top of this, I would also like to give kudos to all of our Council members for the fantastic educational and social events held over the past year. It is my firm belief that our local institute is a flagship for our region and this is thanks to the hard work and efforts of our Council members.

Furthermore, it is notably impressive that our Council members provide their time voluntarily. This hard work often goes on behind the scenes to ensure that a full calendar of excellent events are available to members throughout the year.

In particular, it was brilliant to see so many friendly faces at our Annual Dinner on Friday the 19th of April. I would like to give my sincere thanks to our Annual Dinner Secretary Cassie Watts and our Annual Dinner Committee Jo Mulley, Dave Hamer, Sophie Godbold, Ellie Harrison and our wider Council for such an excellent evening. A big thank you to our sponsors: WTW, McLarens, HCR Law, Hawkins & Associates , Miller Insurance Services LLP, AXA XL, Gallagher Re and Employment Specialists Ltd.

In addition, I would also like to give a big thank you to Richard Brame, Luke Brame and Yasmin Van Der Veen for our recent Charity Firewalking event, which drew a large crowd and raised over £4,000! This was an excellent evening and it was brilliant to see such a hot event happen!

Moreover, I would also like to quickly plug our upcoming Annual Conference, “The Future Is Coming”, which is due to take place on Tuesday the 14th of May at The Hold in Ipswich. This will no doubt be an excellent day and I would also just like to thank Jason Baston, Andy Keane, Jo Mulley, Paul Sturges, Mike Farrer and Nathan Harvey for their hard work in putting this together!

I also want to give a special shout out and congratulations to Paul Sturges on his retirement! I am very pleased that he has received the position of honorary lifetime Vice President of our Institute. This is well deserved for the many hours of hard work that he has put into our Council!

Turning to the year ahead, I can confirm that I have chosen the concept of “Mentorship” for my Presidential theme. In particular, I see Nathan and our wider Council as mentors, through the brilliant support and guidance that they provide. Therefore, I believe that we can all benefit from the virtuous circle that mentoring and being a mentee provides.

Furthermore, my chosen charity for this year is Suffolk Mind. It is well known that the long hours and stress that is often present in our industry can impact us all at times. Therefore, I am keen to support the essential work that Suffolk Mind conducts in order to provide vital assistance to those in need. Thus, I hope you will join us in raising funds and awareness for mental health in the forthcoming year.

In addition, I am very pleased that Yasmin Van Der Veen has agreed to be our Deputy President for this year. There is no doubt that she is a rising star within our industry and I believe she will do a fantastic job.  

I also just wanted to shine the spotlight our local Council members. A lot of hard work is put in to creating excellent networking, educational and social events for Chartered Insurance Institute members to enjoy all year round.

It is often not widely known that these are created and hosted by a dynamic team of volunteers who go above and beyond their daily role to develop and host these. Therefore, I would like to give a shout out to our Council members:

  • Nathan Harvey
  • Yasmin Van Der Veen
  • Cassie Watts
  • Johanna Mulley
  • Paul Sturges
  • Andy Keane
  • Richard Brame
  • Luke Brame
  • Sophie Godbold
  • Eleanor Harrison
  • Mike Farrer
  • Jason Baston
  • Jessica Jay
  • Dave Hamer
  • Jess Addison
  • Callum Batt
  • Matthew McEvoy

If you would like to learn more about our Council or get involved, please reach out to us via our LinkedIn page or send us an e-mail to: 

Finally, I would like to thank Nathan and our Council members for enabling me to step into the role as President. I am excited for the upcoming year and the events it will bring. I am also certain that this will be another brilliant year, which will be made possible by our excellent local institute Council, who are a superb team and go the extra mile!