Spotlight on…is an initiative of WICI (Women in Credit Insurance) aiming at highlighting females working in the Trade Credit Insurance business. Every month, an new interview article will be published on ICISA website. 

Sarah has been in the credit insurance industry for over 40 years during which time Sarah has worked on both sides of the industry, for brokers and insurers primarily in account management, here and also in the US.  Sarah originally started in the industry working for CIA at which time there were two key credit insurance brokers, CIA and Sedgwick’s and only two credit insurers, Trade Indemnity and ECGD – how the world has moved on!

What is the most important lesson you’ve learnt during your career?

To learn from others, use your support network within the company and within the insurers and, in challenging situations, look for new ideas, creative solutions, and always do the best you can for your clients.

What is your favourite part of your job?

Meeting people, this industry gives us the opportunity to meet a huge variety of people from varying and different backgrounds, to work with them, to support them in their jobs within their own organisations.  I have also been very fortunate with my work to travel extensively, not only within the UK but all over the world.

What is the best advice you would give to an aspiring leader?

I think there are a number of things to think about, firstly, always know that anything you ask someone to do, you have done and can do yourself, listen to what people have to say and manage their expectations.  To be aware of the challenges in leadership in having the responsibility, accountability but not always the ultimate authority.

What are the biggest challenges facing our industry?

I believe one of the biggest challenges continues to be the fact that credit insurance is not a mandatory purchase and trying to change view of the ‘non believers’ will always be an issue. The ongoing economic rollercoaster which batters our economy is also creating more issues with large losses reducing the level of capacity in certain sectors.

What are you proudest of having achieved to date?

Primarily employing/bringing a number of ladies into the industry over the course of years who are still here and very successful in their own right.  Secondly, I believe I put in place the first ‘top up’ policy back in the 90’s.  Whilst Lloyds has always syndicated risk, it was new to our industry, and, at that time, it had a rather grander name of ‘facultative reinsurance’.  The policy was put in place for an advertising agent looking for cover on Delta Airlines.  The underlying insurer was Euler and the ‘top up’ was placed with FCIA in New York – all quite exotic at the time.