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Rising Stars 2022

Today’s talent, tomorrow’s leaders

The war for talent continues. In the insurance industry, there’s a race to recruit and retain young workers to replace the millions of Baby Boomers becoming pensioners every year. Luckily, the career advantages of the industry tend to align with the top five criteria that UK employees are seeking from work: job security, vacation and time-off policies, pension and retirement options, flexible working arrangements, and competitiveness of pay and rewards, according to Mercer. Another stroke of fortune for the industry is that there’s no lack of young stars willing to help bridge the talent gap.  

Insurance Business UK’s Rising Stars in 2022 are standouts in the profession. How did the IBUK team discover them? Earlier this year, we requested nominations for exceptional employees aged 35 and under. We reviewed their roles, achievements, goals and contributions, as well as recommendations from their supervisors. Then, our independent panel of industry leaders determined the winners who represent today’s great talent and tomorrow’s thought leaders, CEOs, and board chairs.  

“In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take, relationships we were too busy to build, and the decisions we waited too long to make”
Joanne Healy, Markel

 

Overview of market conditions

If Joanne Healy, one of the 2022 Rising Stars, was to characterise the market conditions over the past couple of years in one word, she would describe it as “resilient”. The underwriter in professional indemnity and telecommunications, media and technology for Markel was impressed with how the industry went from dealing with the longest soft market in living memory – and the pressures on profitability – to the COVID-19 pandemic and then to the war between Russia and Ukraine. 

“The insurance industry is often seen as slow to change compared to our peers in financial services; however, I’m proud of the way the industry has embraced change and I feel it has driven forward the speed of innovation,” says Healy. “There is still a huge scope for technology to shake up our industry and that is where I see it going in the near future. I feel the rewards for those that embrace technology and change will be significant.” 

The broking director and co-owner of Sioma, Jordan Marks is another Rising Star this year. Marks believes one cannot describe the market without referring to the pandemic. While it has influenced everything from insurance products to claims handling, he says, it has brought the industry closer together in many ways.  

“Things were tough, and I think they will continue to be so,” says Marks. “This was a factor in why I wanted to become a broker and own a business. I always felt one step away from really helping clients as an underwriter and wanted to do more. 

“I also think that as an industry, it is important to return to working from an office. I picked up valuable advice and skills just from being around more senior members of staff in an office environment and don’t think I’d be in this position without this. I think really young people starting their career from home are missing out.” 

“I want clients to view their insurance broker the same way they view their accountant or solicitor – being able to go to us for any of their needs and providing technical responses and assistance”
Jordan Marks, Sioma 

 

How to draw more young people to insurance

Another 2022 IBUK Rising Star, Chika Austin, claims professional at Travelers Europe, is not only interested in how to attract young people to insurance but also how to retain them. For her, it’s all about representation and progression.  

“You can’t aspire to be what you can’t see,” says Austin. “For any employee who is a member of a minority [community], if they look to leaders throughout the organisation and see themselves represented, it communicates that the company honours diversity and there may be a viable career path for them there.” 

She thinks the solution is to take small steps towards increasing representation, for example, showing images of diversity on one’s website and highlighting diversity networks. She says visits to schools and universities could also help, and there are always networks that have access to young people, such as London Market Group’s London Insurance Life, the African-Caribbean Insurance Network (ACIN), and The Brokerage.  

“Aspiration alone will not enable you to retain talented young people,” says Austin. “Offering opportunities to progress is also vital. Companies should consider what tangible help and resources can be provided to help young people succeed.” 

Meanwhile, Healy says the industry has much to offer young people but could make some advancements in certain areas. “Our challenge is to better market the industry,” she says. “The industry also has a lot to do from a diversity and inclusion standpoint. Young people and new talent are critical to change. As an industry, we need to attract more people from more diverse backgrounds. Diversity brings variety and variety brings innovation.”  

She says that Markel is at the forefront of raising awareness by promoting an inclusive culture and embracing difference. Its various initiatives include an employee-led Inclusion Network. 

Marks adds that he wants clients “to view their insurance broker the same way they view their accountant or solicitor – being able to go to us for any of their needs and providing technical responses and assistance. I think this shift in ‘attitude’ will naturally grab young people’s attention.” 

In addition, he says the Financial Conduct Authority should mandate insurance exams, which would add prestige and interest to the industry. Further digitising the industry’s operations would also make insurance jobs more attractive to tech-savvy young people.  

“For any employee who is a member of a minority [community], if they look to leaders throughout the organisation and see themselves represented, it communicates that the company honours diversity and there may be a viable career path for them there”
Chika Austin, Travelers Europe 

 

Traits that differentiate the winners

What characteristics distinguish Austin, Marks and Healy from other young achievers in their field? 

Austin says starting in corporate social responsibility and then moving into claims has helped make a difference. Not only has it provided her with a unique perspective, but it also allowed her to be involved in diversity networks, such as Black Employees and Allies and Women and Allies.  

“I measure my success by how many people I help,” she says. “I support ACIN and Ladies that Lunch, both of which were formed to boost the support for Black and minority ethnic representation in insurance, such as by reviewing CVs, providing guidance and presenting to students who are considering a career in insurance.” 

Meanwhile, Marks, a co-owner and director of a brokerage at only 28, says his passion and technical skill set him apart. For him and his partners, the passion to change the insurance industry “comes from wanting to succeed as a business, as a way to make a difference to the way clients think about insurance and the industry as a whole”. In addition, the knowledge he has gained as an underwriter is proving invaluable in his new career as a broker. “I don’t think I’d be able to advise clients as well as I do if I didn’t have the technical background,” he says. 

For Healy, being persistent, enterprising and loyal are her most significant traits. “I face challenges daily which requires persistence and creativity. Persistence also helps to effect change quickly. [As for being enterprising], starting a new position is never easy, especially during a pandemic lockdown, but without having initiative and resourcefulness it would not have been a success. I am proud of my ability to engage, communicate and source solutions when needed, whilst maintaining professional rapport with those I meet along the way. Regarding being loyal, in all aspects of life, including past places of employment, I wholeheartedly pledge contact support and allegiance. Loyalty works both ways, and I have been fortunate to have had positive experiences.” 

She adds: “In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take, relationships we were too busy to build, and the decisions we waited too long to make.” 

 

Rising Stars 2022

  • Aidan Farrelly
    Major and Complex Loss Protégé Adjuster
    Sedgwick
  • Alex Margolin
    Founder and Managing Director
    Sioma Insurance Consultants
  • Alix Pitcher
    Principal Consultant
    Crawford & Company
  • Aliya Alyas
    Area Field Manager
    Sedgwick
  • Bradley Martin
    Development Underwriter
    Towergate Insurance Brokers
  • Chantel Emilius
    Executive Director of Culture and Engagement
    Freedom Group
  • Charlotte Duncalf
    Commercial Property Adjustor
    Sedgwick
  • Chelsey Sprong
    Inclusion Partner
    Beazley
  • Chika Austin
    Bond and Specialty Claim Professional
    Travelers Europe
  • Claire Lashbrook
    Director of Property Claims
    Claims Consortium Group
  • Colette Crawford
    Client Development Executive
    Marsh
  • Dave Sanders
    Business Intelligence Analyst
    RSA
  • Dheeren Patel
    Insurance Broker
    Ellis David
  • Divya Dattani
    Compliance Business Partner
    Gallagher
  • Ed Ventham
    Co-Founder
    Assured
  • Ella Davis
    Underwriter – Financial Risk Solutions
    Liberty Specialty Markets
  • Florence Dennis
    Lead Clients Advisor at Partners&
    Vice President at Insurance Institute of Leicester
  • Gareth Mutema
    Digital Business Manager
    Aviva
  • Jack Farren
    Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer
    Rural Inclusion CIC
  • Joanna Vickers
    Deputy Client Services Manager - Corporate
    Verlingue UK
  • Joanne Healy
    Underwriter
    Marke
  • Jordan Marks
    Broking Director
    Sioma
  • Katie Lennon
    Head of ESG, UK and Lloyd’s
    AXA XL
  • Khalil Saroufim
    Senior Project Manager
    QBE Insurance
  • Laura Butcher
    Finance Manager
    Towergate Insurance
  • Lauren Crouch
    Client Account Director
    Crawford & Company
  • Liam Foley
    Sales & Business Development Manager
    Apricot Insurance Services
  • Marcus Li
    Senior Strategy Associate
    Aon Inpoint
  • Margaret Munns
    Senior Underwriter, Commercial D&O
    Arch Insurance International
  • Martha McGorman
    Major and Complex Loss Adjuster
    Sedgwick
  • Miranda Mote
    Claims Manager
    Talbot Jones
  • Natalia Zurowski
    Senior Strategy Associate - Technology & Partnerships
    JP Morgan Chase & Co
  • Nick Bertenshaw
    Partner - Complex Property, Casualty, Construction & Structured Solutions
    McGill & Partners
  • Ola Jacob Raji
    Broker Success Manager
    FloodFlash
  • Oliver Butterworth
    Broking Director - Towergate Specialty & Risk
    Advisory Insurance Brokers Limited (Towergate)
  • Oliver Willows
    Communications Executive
    Miller Insurance
  • Ollie Waterman
    Major & Complex Loss Adjuster
    Crawford & Company
  • Rachel Skelton
    Digital Transformation Lead
    Covea Insurance
  • Ryan Legge
    Head of Commercial
    Hayes Parsons Insurance Brokers
  • Samantha Ridgewell
    Managing Director
    Empower Development
  • Shazia Deenally
    Oversight Framework Manager (Secondment)
    Lloyd’s of London
  • Simon Toomey
    Head of Claims
    First Underwriting
  • Sonia Habib
    Head of Operational Underwriting (Wholesale)
    Jensten Group
  • Stephen Holmes
    Managing Director
    Holmes Insurance Brokers
  • Teniola Tijani
    Underwriter - Marine and Energy
    IQUW
  • Tom Donachie
    Managing Director
    First Underwriting
  • Vicki Harris
    Business Development Manager
    American International Group UK
  • Yasmin Carter-Esdale
    Development Underwriter
    Hiscox

Methodology

In March, IBUK invited insurance professionals across the country to nominate exceptional young talent for the annual Rising Stars list.  

Nominees had to be aged 35 or under as of April 30, 2022, be committed to a career in insurance, and must have a clear passion for the industry. Nominees were asked about their current role, key achievements, career goals, and the contributions they have made to shaping the industry. 

Recommendations from managers and senior industry professionals were also taken into account. 

The final list of 50 Rising Stars was determined by an independent panel of industry leaders, namely, Michael Keating of the Managing General Agents’ Association (MGAA), Ian Simons of the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), Ajay Mistry and Kishan Mangat of the Insurance Cultural Awareness Network (iCAN), Godwin Sosi of the African-Caribbean Insurance Network (ACIN), and Steve White of the British Insurance Brokers Association (BIBA). 

The IBUK Rising Stars 2022 special report is proudly supported by the MGAA, CII, iCAN, ACIN and BIBA.