How do you think the recent mergers of Aviva/Friends Life and AIG/Ageas UK will affect the protection market? Will we see more deals like this?
On one hand, nobody likes to see potential job losses or a reduction in competition. On the other, the possibility of big, global players such as AIG, Aviva and Discovery (via Vitality) investing in the UK protection scene is fantastic. I expect more small, sleek, non-traditional players to join the fray to challenge the big boys and the status quo.
You recently joined UnderwriteMe, which offers a digital quote-to-written service for consumers. How can the protection market use technology to overcome the historical protection gap?
We need to catch up with other sectors where the application process has been revolutionised in recent years. Protection has moved on but the holy grail of a real-time underwriting system offering a single point of application for multiple insurers has eluded us until now. Making quoting and applying faster, easier and less fractured is a major factor in increasing the appeal of both buying and selling protection.
What is the biggest change you would like to see in the protection market?
For all within the industry to stop thinking about and referring to customers as if they are an alien species. We are all customers.
If you were not in financial services, what would you be doing?
Something sport-related. The co-commentator or pundit has the easiest job going. Travel the world with front-row seats for the biggest events in sport? Yes please.
What was the last book you read?
The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell. I love all his novels.
Who is your all-time hero?
I get most inspiration from sportspeople, especially those who have maximised their sometimes relatively limited gifts. Steve Redgrave fits that mould and the way he overcame illness (and age) to compete in so many Olympics is incredible.
If you could meet a person from history, who would it be?
C B Fry. Played cricket and football for England, was offered the throne of Albania and could jump onto a mantelpiece backwards from a standing start. A weekend with him could be fun.