For the majority of the audience, #TINtech London was the first f2f event in a couple of years. For me, Ive spent many years communicating from behind my screen (nothing to do with the pandemic, I may add. Im just an introvert whose day job didnt require me to actually meet with real humans in the flesh), so this was my first in-person event for several years.
The rest of the team were positively jumping up and down in anticipation at being able exchange business cards again (thats still a thing?). I, on the other hand, was happy to meet up with the familiar faces I only get to see over Zoom, and excited to learn more about a market I am still new to, but I also missed my home office comforts, and the pigeon that sits on the garden fence in the mornings and the squirrel that catapults itself across the branches as they bow in submission under the weight of that big bushy tail.
But anyway, I digress.
There were some great sessions on the agenda, and I eventually picked War Gaming – what the hybrid office looks like with Caroline Wastaff, CEO of the London Market Group. I sat down at the table closest to the door in case I needed a quick getaway, and was truly horrified as the words interactive session were spoken. Introverts do not like interactive sessions!
We brainstormed how to make insurance a destination career for younger people as, according to a recent PWC report, 25% of the London Market are going to retire soon. We need a wider and deeper pool of workers and increased diversity to enable a younger generation to come in. Should we be taking the insurance market out of London in fact? At Novidea weve introduced Broking on the Move to enable brokers to work and get access to customer data wherever they are not just from their offices surrounding Lloyds. We discussed mentoring programmes, apprenticeships, or undergraduate and development programmes I also learned that the London Market Group offers positions on their website to help companies in our industry. But the overall consensus was that we must all take an active role in keeping the industry fresh, interesting and relevant for future generations. Which leads me on to the plenary session – The Future of Insurance in 2025.
The panel was lead by Jeremy Burgess from The Insurance Network and comprised of Joanne Right, People and Culture Director at Specialist Risk Group, Louise Day, COO at the International Underwriting Association of London and Ben Potts, UK MD, Novidea. It was a lively session with lots of discussion around remote working, hybrid opportunities and the good ol face-to-face communication. Technologies such as Zoom and, in the insurance world, e-trading, have absolutely enabled us to work from anywhere, allowing business to not only survive, but to thrive during the global lockdowns of the last two years.
The torch on data-driven tech has been shining on the digital revolution. It gleams across businesses which are driven by workflows, remote working and the ability to find business processes and inefficiencies, wrapped up in accessible analytics. When this all sits in the cloud and is managed by exception, technology can overcome even the biggest challenges.
I have worked remotely for many years, with lockdown almost justifying my home office routine, making it mainstream overnight. I’m sure that commuting every day would be a distraction and negatively impact my productivity. The thought of lots of f2f meetings sets off my social anxiety, yet I appreciate the advantages of the hybrid model. Louise mentioned that people work hard from home and coming into the office has now become a social activity much more than it was previously, which is interesting food for thought. Brainstorming ideas with a room full of colleagues, for example, is so much more effective than the awkward silences of Zoom calls.
Forming, onboarding and motivating new teams, as well as engaging, collaborating and training are best done in the flesh too. Joanne suggested that the hybrid model requires a shift in mindset throughout the business and recommends that managers be thoughtful and plan f2f time well with their teams to make sure they address their needs.
We all agree that the London Market must continue to evolve and stay technologically advanced for these global businesses to succeed. Even an introvert like myself accepts that new ways of working are unavoidable and lead to progress and advances in a market which is often slow to adapt.
Now if you’ll excuse me I need to go and walk the dog. Alone.