My Role as Chair of Somerset Bridge Insurance Services 


Martyn Holman

Somerset Bridge Insurance Chair

As we start moving through 2021 and the ongoing battle with the Pandemic I thought it was a good time to reflect on my year as Chairman of Somerset Bridge Insurance Services. Quite obviously it has simply been a year like no other and I don’t think Im alone in hoping that we will never see its like again!!

It has however provided all of us with the opportunity to focus on the things that are really important and in a lot of cases Im sure actually think about and accept what they are. I for one have never spent this much time at home and adjusting to that along with getting to grips with video calls involving multiple people has at times been a struggle, clearly at my age my default position was to blame the technology when things went wrong although I suspect that user error was the principal cause!!

Having taken over as Chair from Sir Mark Boleat last March little did I know that some 10 months later we would still be in the grip of this dreadful virus and its unimaginable impact on all of our personal and business lives.

The main thing that has really hearted me within our company has been the way in which all involved have embraced not only the core values of the business but more importantly displayed genuine and sincere empathy for what every one of our employees have been going through. The engagement between staff and management has been so strong and I feel now that this will become the new normal as hopefully we return to such normality during the coming months.

We thought long and hard about the 5 guiding values for SBISL that were agreed upon early last year that would apply to the way we deal with our customers, staff and corporate partners alike. The key values are Collaborative, Efficient, Fair & Transparent, Innovative and Knowledgeable. Producing things like values and mission statements are all very well and I’m sure at one time or another we’ve all got involved in such exercises however being able to ingrain them within a companies culture requires a somewhat different attitude and total commitment fundamentally from Management to ensure it happens and then reliance of the staff buying in fully to provide the desired service to the customers.

I’m delighted to say that we have achieved both and as Chair of the Board I could not be prouder of the efforts of every employee. A significant development that enabled the business to become more collaborative as well as achieving more transparency was the upscaling of the company intranet, the flow of 2 way communication that this has produced has been very positive and in addition the use of social media platforms to assist with checking on the well being of staff, both those working from home and those on furlough I believe has shown the company to be one where every member of staff counts and is important. The knock on effect for our customers has also been hugely positive, various initiatives to let them know that we were still there for them in the event of query or claim along with enquiring after their general well being and reassurance around possible financial hardship has shown them that they are important to us as individuals not merely a policy number on a screen.

As the world starts to emerge from the shadow of the Pandemic and we all hopefully return to something approaching normality I’m encouraged that some of the lessons learned in the past year will continue to be put into practice both in our business relationships but also personal ones and the importance of showing empathy for everyone we come into contact with will become the new normal.

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