President's Message

Dear Members,

I am very honoured and excited to be taking on the role of President of the Insurance Institute of Ipswich, Suffolk and North Essex. Serving a member of the institute’s council has been an incredibly eye-opening experience for me. I joined with a desire to expand my knowledge of both insurance and the local Ipswich community. I had always been in awe of how some of my more senior colleagues just seemed to know everyone, and seemed to have such a broad knowledge of every aspect of insurance. My hope upon joining was that I would have access to more training, CPD and the opportunity to network and socialise with great people beyond just the people within my company and immediate sphere.

That desire could not have been better fulfilled. Our council is packed with a diverse and impressive mix of people, who I am chuffed to have gotten to know, worked with and very much leaned from. It’s also been great to see our council membership continue to grow and change with some member fantastic people joining and contributing. I very much want to give my all to the role of President and continue along the great pathway that the president’s before me have laid out.

Speaking of the presidents before me, I just want to pay tribute to our outgoing president Laura Blyth. Her stewardship over the last two incredibly difficult years has been exactly what all of us on council have needed, she has kept us all on track and consistently made council a fun and rewarding place to be.  To take on the leadership of an insurance-dominated group as a PFS member and still have all eyes looking to you for the answers and steer, is a testament to her leadership. I also want to thank Laura for making me her deputy last year and her guidance in getting me ready for the role of President.

Just before looking ahead, I want to also express my wider gratitude to everyone on council, I’ve been lucky enough to take part in most committees in my whistle stop tour of council, and I genuinely believe that we have a standout council that I fully plan to shout about to the wider CII. Our YPG is vibrant and mixed, fully of unique and every changing idea. The communications committee, is something that many other institutes do not even have, but they achieved fantastic results in terms of reaching out to chartered firms, our newsletters, social media engagement and just letting people know that we’re here. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have an amazing Education committee, with such a wide experience and contacts to call on for CPD speakers, topics, event formats, going forward I am certain we can continue to present an ever more attractive CPD program. To the members who have near single handily taken on an officer’s role, I salute and thank you all. The roles of secretary, regional officer and treasurer for instance are incredibly challenging roles for a person to manage on their own, but we are lucky as an institute to have great people who rise to the challenge. We also have council members who wear multiple hats and yet still do an amazing job, be it around diversity, membership management, prize secretary and dinner secretary. On these last two, I have recently attended amazing prize ceremonies and really enjoyed our annual dinner at the end of April, it was great to all be back together and celebrating after some difficulty years.

While recognising members who have managed roles on their own, I just want to say thank you and goodbye to Phil Rawlings after a very impressive 15 years on council, most recently as officer for the insurance charities is now stepping down. I am sorry to see Phil go, but very grateful to him and wish him all the best. My thanks to all of the council members stepping up and taking new roles this year as well. I am very much standing on the backs of giants going forward. I am also lucky enough to be joined by a fantastic deputy president whom has given 200 percent to the institute every year since joining, Oliver Watson.

Looking to the year ahead now. In some ways, I have it easy, in that my path is quite clear. We are, hopefully, on the other side of the pandemic, which means getting back out in front of people, more networking, more face to face events, more opportunities to tell engage with people. We still need to take into account some of the important lessons we have learned in the two years, there are some things that we will continue, regional CPD for instance, flexibility in terms of where we as a council meet. In that respect, in terms of a path, I do perhaps have it easy, but at the same time, there’s a degree of unpredictability to the future in terms of what challenges may come next, both in terms of factors way beyond our control but also in terms of what the central CII proposition looks like and evolves into, undoubtedly, we will all need to work together to navigate that path.

It’s working together and cooperation, that really forms the bedrock of theme for this year which focuses on Insurance as a community, not just and industry. Everyone knows insurance can be a very interconnected place, everyone seems to know everyone, many people have worked together before. Let’s build cooperation and understanding of the insurance community in Ipswich, Suffolk and North Essex to maximise chances to work together, collaborate and build relationships.

Our charity focus for this year will be St Elizabeth Hospice. This Suffolk charity cares for thousands of patients and their families throughout Suffolk. These are people living with a progressive or life limiting illness. I’ve first hand witnessed the incredible care they offered to a most important and vibrant member of my family at the end of her life. Those final days would not have been the same without the hospice.

I look forward to working as President for the next year and hope to engage with as many local members as possible. The local institute is what we as members wish it to be, so get involved and influence it to fit your needs.