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March LMG Forum

Talent, Brexit and the TOM

This morning's LMG forum started off on different tack, one close to my heart.... talent acquisition. Criticism that we as an industry don't sell ourselves well, the show of hands when asked of those that chose a career in Insurance was dismally low amongst the audience.

Paul Jardine, CEO, XLGroup commented on the lack of inspiration we all have about our market, the sales pitch we could be making as the 48,000 practitioners go about their lives, many travelling the world, but even closer to home, why are the younger generations not choosing to join Insurance. One example he had experienced was a scholarship program that when it contained the word "insurance" in the title gained 9 applicants, changing that single word to "Risk" had over 100 applicants.

Alongside the issue of gaining new talent at the "bottom" there is, much like the housing industry in the UK, a lack of historic investment in talent, which is now fast catching up on us. The generation gap in Claims after years and years of this lack of investment shows a band of more mature, highly experienced individuals and a dearth of people following up behind to learn from them and take their place. But this market is still overwhelmingly white, middle class and male, although there is evidence of change in recent years, it still has a way to go. Taking the message into schools, making the industry an attractive option is essential and it takes time and imposition to help. But there is a long way to go.

Connecting with my own experience, a young man I am working with left school top of his year, great IT skills but left to drift with a lack of direction. He is wanting a chance to prove himself in an industry that interests him. To that end, he has started a number of days shadowing various individuals in our market. I'd like to thank Lloyd's TOM, Passle, Sequel Business Solutions and Charles Taylor InsureTech, along with Morning Data, of course, who have agreed to offer a day's work experience each to show what our market does. As well as some opportunities with Paul himself, and his team at XL Catlin will be possible too. But this is almost impossible to do without a contact inside our one square mile. It falls to us to open those doors, proactively ask, on their behalf, colleagues in the Market to step up and give a little of their time, not just to their in-house graduate scheme, but to think more out of the box

I'd like to see a far more open policy and welcoming open doors to shadowing, mentoring and buddy system to encourage the next generation to join us. Paul even cited reverse mentoring provided by a GenY twenty somethings to a more Mature Senior in the market to keep abreast of Apps and all things Technincal.

Chris Beazley CEO of the LMG followed Paul and summed up a review of the London Matters report and the recent activity. Although I wasn't left with much clarity as to what that was.

His football analogy of Chelsea FC as a brand, both inside the football industry but also as a brand in its own right was calling on the question about the London insurance brand. I would ask if the practioners feel they are part of the London Insurance Market more or less than that of their own Company, much like asking a 20 something in the Referendum, do you feel more English/British or more European? Apparantly, a brand strategy has been worked on for the London Insurance Industry and after 80 hours of interviews to answer "why London?" there were 10 outcomes, to be published soon. Can we can see this brand in the media, would outsiders identify with the London insurance, market in a brand image?

Either way is that the gloss on unprepared wood? Surely Paul's previous piece is a priority to bring the industry kicking and screaming into the 21st Century, the 48,000 people in the London Market, travelling the world and carrying with them this new London Market brand?

Malcolm Newman, CEO of Scor Paris-London Hub followed to convey the activities going around Brexit. "Initially perhaps we were a little bit in denial about what the country had voted for" and the realisation that we just wanted it to be the "same as before". There is now a panel of 20 MP's and Lords in the Houses of Parliament who are regularly in contact, enabling the Market to have a voice in government. If the Regulator is still focussing on the cleanliness of the behaviour, now we are 10 years past the financial crisis, isn't time to change the activities. We need to ensure we have a voice especially when the negotiations commence on leaving the EU. Its not just about passporting.

Malcolm impressed on the audience of the need for us to modernise and the need to not be viewed by others as likely to fail again. Paul had already mentioned that it is essential that carriers integrate into initiatives such as PPL, or else we will be back again where we have found ourselves so often, propping up our desks with reams of reports and the results of pilot initiatatives.

Next up was Adrian Thornicroft of the TOM - now this needs a separate post!

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