A Strange Start
Head of Pricing and Reserving
I started working for Somerset Bridge Group (SBG) in May 2020 as Head of Pricing. It was a strange time to start a new role as the world was in the middle of a pandemic and the whole country was in lockdown. Notwithstanding the odd circumstances, I considered myself incredibly lucky to not only have a role, but also that my fully-remote onboarding went seamlessly, allowing me to make connections straight away.
Not surprisingly, I still felt a bit daunted by the challenge I faced. I needed to get up to speed on the business; understand how the teams within the function operate; and start adding value, all without being in the office. The team was already operating efficiently on a fully remote basis, which made getting up to speed a lot easier. Quite quickly, I could put faces to names, get the background I needed, and had many opportunities to use the phrase of the year… “you’re on mute.”
From there, it was a case of seeing how I could support the team to achieve its goals, and add value as quickly as possible. The Pricing and Data Science teams I work with were already operating at a high level, so one of my focuses has been on getting the teams to work closer and with more collaboration, rather than fundamentally change what the teams were doing. This approach was embraced by the teams with enthusiasm, and resulted in several successful cross-team projects being completed. Engagement and work with Marketing, Claims, Reserving, Reinsurance, Broker and Underwriting Operations all increased over time. This was fantastic for the team’s growth, but also proved beneficial to other areas of the business, as different viewpoints and information could support strategic decisions.
Encouraging collaboration, I have to admit, was no accident. SBG encourages collaboration. Indeed, it is one of the company’s core values, but it is more than just a mere phrase. It is lived and breathed. This became apparent to me when I was asked for input and support in many areas across the business, which were not necessarily in my remit. Over time, I began seeking out collaboration more and more until it became second nature. My efforts culminated in me being awarded the SBG Collaborative Award for 2020. I was flattered to be recognised by peers and colleagues across the group, but the award would not have been possible without the fantastic teams I work with, and the culture that SBG strive to create.
Whilst my start to life at SBG was strange and daunting at times, it has been a brilliant learning experience, which has challenged me to adjust my approach in a positive way. 2020 was difficult for so many people in so many ways but I found working with such a varied, welcoming, and enthusiastic team cathartic. I am very grateful to have a role I enjoy, and a company I enjoy working for, to take focus away from the negatives in the world.