Congratulations to Sarah Baker, who was recently appointed Head of Crawford Forensic Accounting Services in the UK as well as being the very deserving winner of the Claims Professional of the Year award at the Women in Insurance Awards on 16 November.
A specialist in large and complex international business interruption (BI) claims with nearly 30 years’ adjusting experience, Sarah is one of the most respected experts in the industry.
Her varied career has seen her complete overseas catastrophe assignments in the Cayman Islands, Bahamas and most recently Bangkok. She was even a consultant to the United Nations in the early 2000s on the ‘F3’ Government Claims in Kuwait following the Iraqi aggression.
“When major events occur, Sarah’s clear and consistent approach to managing the clients’ needs inspires trust, and any claims are managed with the utmost professionalism,”
says Benedict Burke, Crawford’s Chief Client Officer, Global Client Development.
These skills came to the fore as Sarah played a central role in coordinating Crawford’s recent response to the pandemic, which Benedict says put Crawford’s BI team to the test.
“Sarah led them through all the disruption with an indisputable level of expertise and confidence. She is a considerate and knowledgeable leader, and in such a challenging year, she has shown great empathy and understanding for both clients and colleagues.”
Sarah admits the pandemic tested relationships, calling on adjusters to combine technology with compassion due to the personal and financial challenges many clients have faced.
“I believe loss adjusting is a business which involves building relationships, gaining trust and support to ensure a collaborative approach between all stakeholders to claims resolution. The last year challenged that,”
Sarah’s combination of people skills and technical expertise have made her a firm favourite with clients, who lined up to endorse her award nomination.
One senior figure from an international insurer described Sarah as “unflustered and unflappable” during the COVID-related BI claim surge, adding that her “astute awareness of the varying stakeholder needs on a large claim” makes her the first person to call when the company receives a large international business interruption claim.
Another leading claims figure for a major UK-based insurer, who has worked alongside Sarah for close to 20 years, described Sarah as their ‘go-to’ expert adjuster for complex business interruption claims.
They described her as “highly accomplished” when managing and resolving business interruption claims of “the highest magnitude” and highlighted her willingness to devote the time necessary to work alongside customers “and bring a claim to a mutually acceptable solution – and to do so in a way which leaves the customer feeling supported and not disappointed”.
This was illustrated by a risk manager of a major retail group who praised Sarah for her collaborative approach and professionalism in helping the company resolve a highly complex claim following a major fire at one of its retail locations, which was complicated by seasonal trading variability and the displacement of sales to other stores within the portfolio.
Sarah was also commended by several people for her willingness to share her knowledge to enhance the skills and confidence of colleagues.
“Sarah is generous in giving her time to help others progress,” says Benedict Burke. “As one of our most prominent women leaders, Sarah has proven to be an excellent role model to all.”
Sarah was the first female UK Director of what was at the time called Crawford-THG, and is no stranger to accolades, having previously won the CILA Institute Prize.
“When I joined loss adjusting, there were few women in the role,” she says. “I hope my experiences demonstrate that there are no barriers for women within the claims arena and smarter working practices now mean even greater opportunities.”