14th January 2022
Tell us about your role – what do you do and what do you find most interesting about it?
As Head of Market Affairs, it’s part of my role to keep up to date on any changes across the market that may impact our clients and develop strategies to respond to them. It could be anything from a legislative or technology change in the market. When it comes to new legislation, we might put together briefings for MPs, potentially lobbying for amendments to legislation that might affect our clients or try to get government to understand problems in an area of reform.
It’s important to make sure clients are kept up to date with changes and how it might affect them and make sure that within our Legal Solutions division, our client account managers, partners and colleagues are also up to date with market affairs matters.
What I find most interesting in my role is you never really know what might be coming up. Some of the changes we can predict, and some reform takes years, but occasionally something unexpected springs up that we have to be ready to respond to. It’s interesting because my role is varied and wide – I need to have knowledge on everything from building regulations to cryptocurrency.
What made you want to work in this industry?
By trade I’m a solicitor and was inspired to become one by a lecturer at my local college. After working as a case handling lawyer, which I really enjoyed, I wanted a new challenge so moved into a policy role at the Association of British Insurers which lead me to where I am now.
I’m still within the industry that I started out in and on the policy side which means I’m able to help develop the areas of policy that I was working within as a lawyer. At the start of my career, I was dealing with cases and now I’m helping to shape the policy that impacts those cases.
What do you see as one of the biggest challenges to your industry in the next year?
Technology developments are amongst some of the biggest challenges affecting our industry and our clients (insurers, retailers, etc.). Within the insurance industry, businesses can find it challenging to provide competitively priced products whilst continuing to provide a valued service to consumers. Technology plays a positive and important role in providing more streamlined services to combat this issue and use data to work out risk factors. I think that digitisation of the industry is very beneficial as technology affects every area of the market now.
What are we doing as a firm to help that challenge?
We have been helping our clients by developing some interesting pieces of AI technology such as our claims automation solution, Kuarterback to streamline their processes. We are also looking at ways to adapt the technology to suit other clients and the work they have. I think that helping clients to understand how they can adapt and develop using technology to provide a better service to their customers is the way forward and should not be underestimated. To survive in the current times, businesses have to be as adaptable as possible.
What do you expect to see happen in the industry in the next 12 months?
This year we’ve seen platforms for low value whiplash claims portal go live and HMCTS currently running a pilot to digitise damage claims. We will see how that develops and progresses over the next 12 months. I also expect to see more reform in that area, with the court backlog being the highest it’s ever been, it was a problem before COVID, but has been considerably impacted by COVID. The OIC portal launched this year, and we hope to see part 2 of the whiplash consultation response published next year which will cover credit hire and rehabilitation claims. As well as potential further whiplash related reform we are expecting a consultation on a potential future dual rate discount rate.
What challenges do you face in your role?
My biggest challenge is making sure that I know what’s coming up in the industry and it is a large area to cover. For example, whiplash reform, E-scooters/autonomous vehicles and building regulations. To help with this, my network is vital to ensuring that I don’t miss anything. I think it’s also important to not only share news but to really add value to clients, so I need to think of new ideas, or try a different take on issues or challenges they’re dealing with.
It helps to be open to different ideas and utilise my colleagues’ skill set as we have a lot of expertise in our legal solutions teams. We have fantastic lawyers and a big part of my role is working with them to come up with new ways to deal with the issues that our clients face.
What are they key things you’ve learned in your career?
I’ve learned to be open to new ideas, nothing is too ridiculous or far-fetched. The more open you are and better you are at adapting to change, the easier it is to face those challenges. If you are quick to dismiss new ideas, you could miss out on opportunities.
For more information, please contact Natalie Larnder, Head of Market Affairs via firstname.lastname@example.org
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