President's Message

Resilience:

The process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy or significant sources of stress… It means ‘bouncing back’ from difficult experiences.

When Julie Rayson-Flynn, Past President (2019/20), asked me if I would be interested in taking on the role of Deputy President from 2020/21 I think it is safe to say I had no idea what to expect!

2020 was the year that took us all by surprise and our industry came up against a challenge like never before. When lockdown struck and we all began working from home, (something many of us had not done before), companies had to adapt on an unimaginable scale, in a very short amount of time, allowing their customer service to continue unchanged and business to continue ‘as normal’ in the most ‘not normal’ times. In my opinion, companies made the impossible, possible – if this is not resilience, I don’t know what is.

I joined the Insurance Industry in 2013, as a Business Administration Apprentice at Oval, who were subsequently acquired by Gallagher, where I am to this day. I came across the role by total mistake when hunting for jobs late at night, after deciding University wasn’t for me. I wanted a career and I wanted it now. I knew pretty early on I was going to love the job, it was so varied day to day – we effectively have to be a master of all trades, what is not to love! Planes wouldn’t fly, houses would not be built, business couldn’t run… nothing happens without insurance.

I am sure some of my colleagues will laugh when reading the above, as they are well aware of my love for the job, so much so that I am often referred to as an ‘Insurance Nerd’.

My time with the IIL began in 2017 as the Next Generation Chair, and I remember my first council meeting like it was yesterday. Being part of the IIL, you are surrounded by the most knowledgeable, dedicated and just amazing professionals, who all have such passion for the industry. It is an honour to work alongside such great people, and I look forward to continue working closely with them.

As we emerge from lockdown and see the slow return (hopefully!) of face to face events, we will experience a change across the industry as we manage and merge the two worlds we have come to know - pre Covid 19 'normal', and the new, convenient, virtual 'normal' we have become accustomed to during the past 12 months – Not sure I can rock the joggers on bottom, shirt on top look when I return to the office though…

Over the next year one of my key objectives is focusing on increasing engagement from younger members – they are the future of the industry and we cannot wait for the generation gap to appear before we fill it! Alongside this, Kassim Ditta, the Next Generation Chair, and I hope to be able to continue to great work Sue Dexter started, in attending local school fairs and assemblies to promote the Insurance/PFS industry as a career option after leaving school.  We have already made a cracking start, welcoming on to council 3 new Next Generation members.

Inclusion, diversity & equality is very important to me and I will be sharing this message throughout my time as President, via social media, events and educational content. This year we have a newly appointed Inclusion & Diversity Officer, Ana Gomes-Freire, who is very excited to be taking on this role and I cannot wait to work closely with Ana on such an important matter.

Choosing a charity for the year was extremely tough, so many charities need and deserve our dedication, following a year of unforeseen events which will have impacted donations greatly. After much consideration I have chosen a cause close to my heart – Dementia UK.

As I follow on from a tough year, which Adrian Mee guided us through which such drive, I hope to carry on his brilliant work . With the amazing Sue Hull by my side as Deputy President, we will continue to adapt with the ever changing world and show how resilient we are as people, as an Institute, and as an industry.