For anyone experiencing an anniversary at the moment, this is likely the strangest in living memory as the coronavirus pandemic continues to challenge businesses and individuals across the globe. Coming from a carrier background, Simon Pemberton (pictured) joined Gallagher Bassett 20 years ago to manage the London claims office before moving into business development in 2003 to grow the commercial client base of the company. Pemberton became the UK CEO of Gallagher Bassett in April 2018 and this year marks his 30th anniversary in claims management.
Despite the assortment of challenges created by the coronavirus outbreak, Pemberton detailed how his team is taking the opportunity to support its clients and to provide business continuity through the crisis.
“We recognise the importance of staying connected during this time, not only as an organisation but importantly with our valued clients,” he told Insurance Business. “We have deliberately set out to contact each client by phone and verbalise our response, what it means for them and to let them know we are here to help and remain an extension of their business as they need us. That personal contact has been well received by clients.”
Gallagher Bassett’s insurer and broker relationships have always been an important consideration for the business, Pemberton said, and he believes that this importance has only been increased and highlighted during these times of change. Now it is essential that the entire industry comes together, he said, outlining how the business is supporting its insurer and carrier relationships through proactive information.
“We will be there for our brokers and their clients as this phase rolls through, as the norm in terms of operating restrictions, and the downturn in productivity bites in, and of course as the economy reignites and their businesses need to scale again,” he said.
At the beginning of the outbreak, Pemberton outlined how the team deployed a robust business continuity plan to ensure that it had plans in place to deal with any eventuality that it could be faced with, and how this plan has allowed the business to mobilise its workforce and continue to run.
“We have also established a global coronavirus task force to coordinate our global efforts and ensure we respond as quickly and effectively as possible,” he said. “The task force is comprised of business experts across major injury exposures, is responsible for overseeing the situation and ensuring that current and evolving protocols for handling these matters are effectively implemented and adhered to. It is also in charge of providing any necessary technical oversight on individual claims as the situation evolves.”
In light of the business continuity challenges precipitated by the coronavirus pandemic, Gallagher Bassett continues to provide support to Lloyd’s of London, Pemberton noted and said that the business is proud to be a trusted partner of many Lloyd’s of London managing agents across the globe. The business’s position was to make early contact and establish its continuity plan with specific guidelines on what this would mean for its operational capacity, he said. It is largely trading as normal, albeit from remote locations and its teams are working with managing agents to make sure that evolving issues in terms of complex coverages are reported in line with requirements and that its frontline teams are reporting what they are seeing.
“We feel that this is the time to demonstrate why they chose Gallagher Bassett,” he said, “as governance and rapid response in these situations are the cornerstone of our offering as a large corporately stable organisation which has responded to world events time and time again.”
Pemberton believes that the general focus within the insurance industry during this time is on how it can help and what further support can be provided. It is important, he said, that businesses continue to work hard and provide assistance where they can during this crisis. Gallagher Bassett’s close and connected ‘Gallagher Way’ culture has always been a critical element of the business’s success, he said, and he noted that finding new ways to maintain this culture is one of the biggest challenges being faced at the moment.
Personally, Permberton feels fortunate to have a very talented executive team who have grown the business organically 10% year on year, he said, and he takes tremendous pride in the wide range of clients that the business assists and represents.
“Our focus is always to look after our clients and ensure we are providing a best in class service proposition for them,” he said. “We remain here for our clients and it is incumbent on all of us to keep talking to each other, our clients, our brokers and our carriers over the next few months as we see this virus through.”