For some people, their career path is clear before they even start upon it. From an early age, they have a strong aptitude, a keen interest, or a specific ability that sets them on a particular road. For most, however, that is not the case – in fact, often the first path you take is not necessarily in the right direction.
I graduated from the University of Southampton in 2013 with a BA Honours degree in Modern History and Politics. I did not have a fixed view on which industry I wanted to work in, however, both of my parents had worked in insurance at various points in their career and advised the industry offered many opportunities, however, I had reservations about a job that was primarily deskbound.
Crawford, however, offered something different. As an adjuster I would be out on the road, dealing directly with companies and their insureds. It was also a role where you could make a difference, helping restore lives, business and communities and bringing certainty to people at times of uncertainty – that resonated with me.
In July 2013, I became a graduate trainee adjuster and over the next two years was immersed in the adjusting world, from claims investigation and validation to report writing. 18 months into the role, however, I realised it was not the right path for me. Fortunately, Crawford as an organisation offers a multitude of different career paths.
Towards the end of my time as an adjuster, I was involved in the expert service delivery initiative which explored ways to refine processes to enhance client service and delivery. I found the London-based project very interesting and it provided an excellent way to network with people from across the organisation.
During this time a colleague was promoted to the role of client liaison manager for the Lloyd’s and London Market, which left a vacancy for a business analyst in the Global Client Development team. I was interviewed by two senior members of the team including Benedict Burke, chief client officer, Global Client Development, and was successful in receiving the role. For the next three years I supported the Global Client Development team with key projects, learned about multinational claims programs and managed my first accounts.
In November 2018, my colleague who had been our client liaison manager for the Lloyd’s and London Market decided to return to South Africa and, following an interview process, I was appointed to the role.
My new role is to manage, protect and grow Crawford’s relationships with Lloyd’s syndicates, coverholders and brokers on an all product and all territory basis. Lloyd’s is very much a face-to-face marketplace and the role involves a lot of direct contact with clients. I’ve reached the conclusion that if I’m at my desk too much I’m not doing my job well enough.
Moving from the adjusting world to client liaison is in many ways a paradigm shift. I moved from a highly technical role focused on a specific region to one which required an understanding of the full range of Crawford’s capabilities on a global basis. Throughout the transition, however, I have had the full support of my team colleagues, headed by Richard Day, vice president of Global Client Development, and the wider group.
My two years in the adjusting arena has also paid dividends. The technical adjusting experience I gained ensures that I bring a working knowledge of the services that we offer to the discussions we have and gives our clients an extra sense of reassurance that they are talking to someone who understands their claim needs.
It is an incredibly interesting time to move into a Lloyd’s focused role as it is a time of significant change which has included a new CEO for the corporation, the establishment of Lloyd’s Brussels, market modernisation including GEMINI and DA SATS and a market review. In many ways, it is the perfect opportunity to begin my career in the Lloyd’s market as I am learning what the market will be moving forward rather than what it has been in the past.