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Back to news19 Jul 2021

Addicted to Love or could have been!

I was born a Geordie in South Shields but moved to Birmingham at the age of 3 – so am now a naturalised Brummie. As a child, my ambitions were to lose the Geordie accent that attracted so much mickey-taking in inner city Birmingham (achieved!) and to not be so tall (definitely not achieved but now I love my height!). My father was a fireman and we lived at Central Fire Station, a great place to grow up but looking back it would be a health & safety nightmare with all those kids running around operational fire engines. I went to school in a part of Birmingham that is now considered deprived but at the time was a vibrant new community and my dream was to become a professional photographer. Instead, I answered a newspaper advert for The Prudential, and the rest is history.

The insurance industry has been good me – a know-nothing 16-year-old with a very small clutch of O-levels. Over the past 40+ years I’ve had some amazing roles and travelled the world, including 4 trips to The Falkland Islands. Penguin enthusiasts get in contact as I have thousands of stunning photos from my various trips. For anyone attracted by its current green travel status and considering a holiday there, it’s an incredible place but you will have to isolate for 14 days on arrival.

I have mostly worked for large brokers, many of which now exist in memory only, including Sedgwick, HSBC Insurance and Bluefin, as well as Marsh and Aon. The biggest change that I have seen, apart from the relentless march of technology, is consolidation of the industry. I would never have believed that broking names such as Sedgwick, Alexander Stenhouse, Minet, Stewart Wrightson and Bowring would have disappeared along with thousands of independent brokers. Part of my work at Willis Towers Watson Networks is to identify and support the start-ups that will become the key independent brokers of the future. Over the course of my career I have probably done every client facing role in broking, from Account Handler to Branch Director.

Outside work, my family are my most important priority. I live in Worcester and we have recently moved to a 200-year-old coach house that is very much a restoration project. I hold a full motorcycle licence and enjoy cycling and reading (not at the same time!).

My only claim to fame is that in 1984 I turned down an offer to appear in Robert Palmer’s Addicted to Love video because I thought it was a scam. What could have been eh?