“A very clear business plan and purpose” – that’s what Borland Insurance Ltd was based on when chief executive and co-founder John Silcock (pictured) made the switch from a major insurer into the broking side of the industry.
Insurance Business caught up with the avid rugby fan and golf enthusiast, who shares how his career came to life as well as how he transitioned to being the man in charge at an independent insurance and employee benefits broker in Scotland.
Silcock’s intensively mapped out move took place following years at Chubb, where he served in a variety of roles including strategic marketing and sales manager for the London and Lloyd’s operation.
What made you pursue a career in insurance?
Having spent an internship at a brokerage in Philadelphia, I was fortunate enough ‘to try before you buy’. This allowed me to develop a better understanding of the rich and diverse career opportunities which are apparent in the insurance industry.
It also gave me a great insight into the skillsets required to succeed and thus ascertain my own capabilities or otherwise.
After a decade at Chubb, what drove you to co-found an insurance broker?
Although I had an extremely enjoyable 10 years at Chubb, where I learnt a huge amount in relation to insurance and business management, the challenge of running my own business had always been at the forefront of my mind.
I planned for the formation of Borland 18 months before leaving Chubb, so a very clear business plan and purpose was in force when the business went live.
As chief executive of Borland Insurance, what goals or priorities have you set for yourself and for the business?
To be the best we can be for Borland’s clients, employees, and insurer partners. Clients: to always act with complete professionalism; employees: strive to recruit and retain the best people by providing a quality working environment, backed by professional training and personal development; insurers: continue to promote market-leading products from financially strong carriers.
In your years in the industry, what have been the biggest challenges for you?
The whole market is constantly changing and evolving – whether it be through insurer and broker consolidation/acquisition, IT innovation, risk exposure, regulation, legislation, to name but a few.
Turning these challenges into opportunities is what makes the insurance industry so interesting.
If you were to leave insurance for another sector, which one and why?
Manufacturing… or if I was feeling really brave, international relations.
Having had a career focused with intangible pieces of paper, it would be hugely interesting to make physical goods which can be smelt, felt, or tasted for their quality.
Name one thing your broking peers probably don’t know about you.
We have a small-holding and farm Alpacas and Jacob Sheep.