How did you start in the Insurance Industry?
I started my career in a secondary school as a maths teacher. I loved teaching but didn’t enjoy the politics behind the scenes and began to explore alternative opportunities. A friends dad worked at Willis, which led to a 6-week internship, I knew relatively little about insurance at the time. Six-weeks became three-months, and eventually led to a job as an Analyst. I later joined the sales team at FIS, an international FinTech company , before securing a position as an Account Executive at RMS. I had a great couple of years with RMS and learnt so much about insurance, reinsurance and modelling which was invaluable!
I worked at two start-ups between leaving RMS and joining Concirrus. I knew Mark Phillips, so Concirrus was on my radar. Mark brought me into the London office to meet Jo and to see the company’s digital platform, Quest. I could immediately see the benefits of the product and enjoyed the culture in place. Marine insurance is unlike any other type of insurance, it’s one of the oldest industries in the world and InsurTech’s like Concirrus will fundamentally transform it for the better.
Teaching gave me a head-start in sales. When you’ve taught maths to students who don’t want to be there pitching to CEO’s is a breeze!
What motivates you?
The fact that we consistently creating new opportunities. Our growth is incredible and as we start opening offices in other markets it’s a great motivator to think I could work there. It’s always been a dream of mine to work and live aboard and am fascinated by the culture in places like Singapore and Oslo. There is always a financial motivation when working in sales, however the prospect of learning and growing is just as exciting. Working in start-ups was chaotic due to the environment, but I got to learn an incredible amount in a short space of time. It’s amazing to think in 5 years’ time I could say I worked for Concirrus, know what change management looks like and apply it anywhere. Our reputation is testimony to the work we do and serves as a daily driver.
Describe your first few months at Concirrus?
I was doing sales pitches at the end of my first week, I went straight in at the deep end! This suited me though, as I believe taking responsibility early on is important. My first couple of months saw meetings in both New York and Zurich. Funny story about Zurich. We had a disastrous journey back, we were meant to land at Gatwick but were redirected to Liverpool and weren’t let off the plane for an hour. We then had to hire a car and drive back in the middle of the night, then in London I saw the flash of a speed camera! Luckily, it wasn’t for me though.
The last month has been slightly different with everyone working from home because of the coronavirus. It’s been an adjustment, but one we’ve taken on remarkably quickly.
Tell us what you get up to outside of work?
I love cycling! About 6 months ago I bought myself a new bike which was probably too expensive. I'm getting my money's worth now as I've been able to ride 3 or 4 times a week lately so that’s a positive to come out of the current climate. I have been cycling with one of my best mates Richard since we were 16. Last year his mum passed away of terminal lung Cancer. We wanted to do something to make a difference so challenged ourselves to ride the length of the UK together, we are hoping to find some nice local stops along the way and try the local beer as well! Taking 9 days to complete the ride we will be starting in Scotland at John O'Groats finishing on the last day at Lan’d End in Cornwall where our friends and family will meet us so we can ride together for the last day. We have set the target of raising £2000 for the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation . But we’re hoping to smash this. We were planning to do this in May but will have to push it back a few months because of the Coronavirus.
What’s the best part of about working within the sales team?
Problem-solving and meeting new people. Our product provides a solution to a number of issues that have been present in the market for a long time. As a client facing team, we need to understand what an organisation is looking to achieve. Is it a resolution to one specific issue or a new way of working? Seeing how our platform solves a multitude of scenarios is really interesting. Figuring this out requires a lot of contact with the client. Sitting down and talking to people is something I really enjoy. It’s a unique opportunity to get to know someone and build on relationships. Sales can have a reputation for being a very competitive environment. Our team is different, we’re heavily supportive of each other’s achievements and help whenever we can. It’s also amazing to seeing Pre-sales grow with Mita and Matt who are different in their approaches, but complement each other, which mirrors how we work as a team.
How is Quest different from any other platform you have sold before?
The platform can be used anywhere, at any time. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got teams in different countries or if there’s an unforeseen event, like Covid-19, it's still accessible so working from home it's not an issue. The insurance industry is slowly changing, and technologies like Quest are making it possible.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I don’t see our rate of growth slowing and in 5 years' time I can see Concirrus being established in multiple markets. I hope to be in Sales, but in more of a consultancy role helping companies innovate. I believe that working here and the opportunities it presents to us will completely change the trajectory of my career.
What would you say to your 18-year-old self?
In my late teens a lot of negative stuff happened in personal life. I let it get to me and by the time I was in my twenties I had learnt how to compartmentalise. I am by nature quite hard on myself, which is good as you’re always pushing yourself, however it can be counterproductive. I’d tell my 18-year-old self that life is about trial and error, you learn from your mistakes along the way. Don’t be too hard on yourself!
Donate to the Richard and Jacks just giving page here.