What is your name?
Who is your employer?
Innovative Risk & Audit Solutions Limited
What is your role there?
CEO / Director
What were you doing before this role?
Head of Risk at a Lloyd’s of London Syndicate responsible for managing and leading a team in enterprise wide risk management (ERM) and validation of the Solvency II internal model. Prior to this, I held senior internal audit positions, either setting up and leading teams as a Head of Internal Audit in Lloyd’s of London managing agencies or as an Internal Audit Senior Manager.
What degree did you study for, and from which university?
Law from the University of Westminster in London
What do you do in a typical working day?
When not working on a client, my day consists of getting up in the morning and doing the school run. I start my business day by getting onto my laptop as I work from home and catching up on all my business emails.
Following that, I like to keep on top of the latest developments in my client sector areas. As I predominantly focus on insurance, I like to catch up on developments in the insurance industry and then review developments in risk management and internal audit. I am also quite active on social media so am always seeking to share information that may interest my followers on Linked In, Twitter and Facebook.
If I have client proposals to develop, I will start working on these and where I have upcoming meetings, I like to prepare by researching the client’s company so that I understand their business and can aim to provide services in accordance with their needs.
Some days I have to get out to client meetings which means going into the City and meeting for coffee and lunches as part of my business development work.
When working for a client, I like to be on client site, attending client meetings and delivering work. The work I deliver is dependent on the client. It may be to support the clients’ Risk Management Team which deals with the business’ enterprise risks and supports the business to identify, mitigate and assess its risks. It may be to support the clients’ Internal Audit Team either by providing support to the Head of Internal audit in developing the audit framework, procedures, audit plan and anything else where they require support or it may involve actual audit planning, execution and reporting.
I like to be based at the clients’ site as much as possible when working with a client as I think personal interaction is key and it is important to provide a personalised service as a Consultant.
How does your role fit into the wider insurance picture?
Whether I serve my clients in Risk or Internal Audit, both involve risk management. The insurance sector is focused on managing risks for their customers. I help the insurers to manage their risks as a business.
As a Risk Management professional, I seek to help businesses understand the risks and opportunities they face and help them to assess these, ensuring they have the right operations and mitigations strategies in place. I do this through working with the risk management functions to ensure they are building the right frameworks to support the business achieve their vision.
As an Internal Audit professional, I do a similar thing but with an independent and objective view. The internal audit role includes more of an assessment of the business’ operations and strategies to manage their risks and help to provide assurance to the senior management teams and boards that the company is managing its companywide risk effectively.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
The ability to be able to help people in business with my knowledge, skills and expertise that I have attained throughout my career. As I worked in a number of companies during my previous roles and continue to work at a range of clients, I can bring new ideas and perspectives to my clients and it feels great when I can leave my clients feeling like I have added value to their teams and the work they are trying to deliver.
What is the most challenging part of your role?
As I work on my own, it can be challenging to build my business, meet with potential clients and deliver the work for clients all at the same time. It requires a significant level of discipline, organisation and prioritisation. Staying on top of all the latest market developments can also be quite demanding and it results in lots and lots of reading!
What do you need to be successful in your role?
I have to be highly organised and determined. I also have to stay motivated and be resilient in times where potential client relationships might not materialise despite all the hard work. The trick is to keep going and stay positive and I think that applies in any professional role where you seek to succeed and be the best.
Have you taken any professional qualifications?
I am qualified Chartered Management Internal Auditor and hold a CMIIA.
I am also seeking to attain a professional risk management qualification even though risk management forms a significant part of the internal audit qualification.
What have been your career highlights so far?
What are the main benefits of working in the profession?
In my area of expertise, I have been able to gain a great insight into the way an organisation operates and how all the different parts of the organisation come together.
I get to speak with people at all levels and am able to gain an insight into their roles and the challenges they sometimes face.
If you are able to help functions operate well, you can see how your work has helped to support business management and you can see how your role adds value in the organisation.
Why did you choose a career in insurance?
I did not know much about insurance when I started out in my career. Insurance to me was all about car, home and life insurance. I saw a role in the AIG Internal Audit team and went for it. That was the start of my career in insurance. The many different aspects of insurance were an eye opener and gaining entry into the Lloyd’s of London market was even more insightful as the world of insurance is larger than people really think. You can virtually insure anything, from fine art, body parts and injury to large ships, companies and damage faced by natural catastrophes. The products are interesting but even more so, all the different things that need to be considered to price insurance, deal with insured customers and manage exposures make it a fascinating industry.