Risk in Focus: Corporate Risk Manager, Thomas, Carroll (Brokers) Limited
The Institute of Risk Management (IRM) asks its members what working in risk is really like and what hints and tips they'd share with people looking to move into the industry.
Alex Williams, IRMCert
Corporate Risk Manager
Thomas, Carroll (Brokers) Limited
How did you get your job?
I am involved in risk primarily from an insurance based perspective, and have been in the broking industry for the past 15 years. Like many people, I “fell into” insurance but my career has developed from leaving college to insurance to eventually progress to a Corporate Risk Manager for an insurance broking firm dealing with medium to larger, more corporate businesses and advising on insurance related and associated risk on a daily basis.
I was keen to undertake the International Certificate in Risk Management qualification to attain a different perspective on risk, rather than just the traditional, hazard based approach I now have a wider approach and outlook on risk.
What’s a typical day like as a Corporate Risk Manager for an Insurance Broker?
My typical day involves liaising with a dedicated base of clients on their insurance and associated queries and negotiating with insurers to obtain the best possible outcome for clients, whether that be premium, breadth of cover, flexibility of terms, etc. This would involve emails, telephone calls, face-to-face and increasingly more virtual meetings with clients and insurers. My role also involves me understanding a client’s risks and finding an insurance solution where available/suitable by research and essentially, broking a risk to selected markets. I then have to review insurer quotes, policy wordings, terms, etc. and present these to the client by producing reports, cover comparisons and detailed analysis where necessary.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy finding solutions for clients and a positive outcome for the client can be achieved; particularly where something has been challenging and this wasn’t necessarily anticipated. Dealing with a dedicated base of client and to an extent insurers, is also an enjoyable part of the job in terms of building relationships and rapport.
What are the challenges?
There are many challenges in the insurance industry at present, with what looks like an increasingly hardening market with insurers withdrawing from certain products lines, trades, etc., increasing premiums and reducing cover. Managing client’s expectations is therefore a key part of my role and having robust conversations with insurers to challenge responses and obtain the best possible outcome for clients.
What would you say to others thinking about taking the International Certificate in ERM?
The IRM qualification is internationally recognised and it has given me a different perspective on risk. My thinking and approach to risk is wider and more diverse which helps me in my current role as well as putting this knowledge into practice in my own organisation.
What have you been able to put into practice in your job as a result of what you have learnt?
I am able to apply my knowledge on pretty much a daily basis by considering my client’s risks and talking with them about their risk management. I feel my knowledge and view of risk management has changed in that I am able to apply this far more broadly across all spectrums, rather than just traditional, hazard based insurance risk.
There are many ways to get into the insurance broking industry:
- There are many graduate programmes out there which support your learning by qualification and on the job experience
- Expose yourself to as many site visits and client meetings as you can to learn more about their business and improve relationships
- Challenge insurers and manage clients’ expectations.