The full breadth of the opportunities to be unlocked by a career in insurance finds its best viewing platform in a breakdown of the route that each individual takes through the profession. And for Teifion Scrivens (pictured), who joined Acasta Europe – a UK service provider specialising in bespoke scheme underwriting – earlier this year, the role which was “too good to refuse” was a culmination of his years of insurance experience.
Speaking with Insurance Business UK, Scrivens noted that he came to the insurance profession in a slightly unusual way, through a springboard diving friend, who recommended him to cover maternity in a pan-European company called Europ Assistance in Haywards Heath.
“While there, I learned the ropes of underwriting in travel, motor breakdown and home emergency before being promoted to senior underwriter,” he said. “The head of underwriting, Fiona McDonald moved to start up the underwriting arm of ROCK Insurance, in Crawley, called OPERA Underwriting, and asked me to move and become the underwriting manager working closely with claims and assistance companies, capacity providers and clients.”
While at OPERA, Scrivens was responsible for travel and travel insolvency and auditing both claims and assistance companies, ensuring the profitability of the portfolio and being the point of expertise for the clients. From there, he said, he made the move to sunny Gibraltar where he worked as a claim analyst for Skyfire Insurance in motor insurance before returning to the UK and his underwriting roots with a role at UK General in Leeds.
“At UK General I was responsible for a variety of products ranging from travel, wedding and event to motor ancillary, cycle and gadget insurance while managing a team of underwriters,” he said. “I finally decided it was time to move to new challenges and was offered a position I could not refuse at Acasta.”
Now as underwriting management at Acasta Europe, Scrivens leads the team in establishing the design, price setting and implementation of new and existing products, while monitoring its portfolio of products, to ensure that it achieves targets, and managing a team of underwriters to help them develop and grow. This will also include reporting to the board, he said, and building strong relationships with the current capacity provider, existing clients and potential new business partners.
There are several pressing areas of focus for Scrivens and his team in the latter half of 2022 but top of the agenda is ensuring good relationships with Acasta Europe’s existing partners while maintaining a profitable portfolio of business. As with any such business, he said, the team is keen to have a diverse portfolio so will be ensuring that it is diverse enough in the future to weather any potential storms.
“The main topic of conversation at the moment is inflation and the cost-of-living crisis,” he noted, commenting on the market conditions driving Acasta Europe’s strategic objectives. “We need to ensure that we are going to be profitable in the coming years as we price now for the next three to five years.
“Inflation has a massive impact on this as we need to ensure that we are profitable, while also being customer-centric and ensuring that claims can be paid in the future while continuing to provide products that are affordable. There’s no point in having a product that is either out of kilter with the market or unaffordable.”
Acasta Europe works closely with its broker partners, he said, as it recognises that brokers are a key element to its ongoing success. As part of the group’s commitment to them, the team works closely with its brokers to be sure that their needs are met, and to ensure they are kept educated and informed about the business and the decisions it makes.
“This also works both ways,” he said, “and it is important to our team to understand not only our customer needs but also our clients’ needs.”
Looking to the year ahead, Scrivens highlighted that Acasta Europe’s overall ambition is to have a profitable, diverse portfolio, as well as growth within its team and growth within its portfolio. What the company should have, he said, is a close relationship with its business partners, with a portfolio of existing and new clients who understand their market and the issues of customers, capacity providers and claims partners.
“Our plan includes expanding current lines, such as GAP and warranty, to include electric vehicles, and developing our offering of wedding insurance to provide further levels of cover for different budgets and events,” he said. “We are also looking into brand new lines such as travel and gadget, and have also recently launched a cycle insurance scheme which we aim to develop and grow.
“As a bespoke underwriter, and having a close relationship with our capacity provider, we are able to look at a wide range of prospective businesses.”