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

Simon Philpin has been in the trade credit insurance industry for 22 years, starting his career with Atradius where he spent 12 years on the risk side, with his final role there as Senior Risk Underwriter in their Special Risks department. He spent 1 year period at Equinox Global where he combined two roles, being risk and commercial. Simon joined Markel in May 2014 where he has held multiple roles leading up to his current role as Head of Trade Credit – responsible for delivering the global strategy for offices in London, New York, Dubai and Singapore. He continue to keep the main stakeholders of brands/products engaged, which includes team members, brokers and clients.

What are your top 3 tips for a successful career in the trade credit insurance industry?

  • For me, a strong work ethic has been crucial. This might not resonate positively with everyone nowadays, but I’ve found that putting in more effort than my peers has helped me advance. Of course, maintaining a balanced lifestyle is essential too!
  • Embrace mistakes as learning opportunities. I’ve made my fair share, but I see them as a fast track to learning and growth.
  • Building strong relationships is key. In the insurance world, it’s all about connections. Leaving a positive impression goes a long way in fostering lasting relationships.

What do you do to ensure that you continue to grow and develop as a leader?

I enjoy proving people wrong and surpassing targets to showcase what’s possible with the right mindset. I also find listening to podcasts helpful for picking up new habits. Plus, I like to mix things up, like trying ice water dips and using a sauna mat for a change.

What is your favourite part of your job?

I love interacting with people from different cultures. Dealing with trade credit across the globe exposes me to various business ethics and cuisines, which I find fascinating.

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

Make mistakes, but make sure they’re new ones! Continuous learning through new experiences is key. And, of course, try to avoid costly mistakes for your own sake.

What was your main motivation to support/endorse WICI?

Growing up in a female-dominated household gave me a unique perspective. Seeing the challenges my sisters faced in male-dominated environments motivated me to support initiatives like WICI.

Why do you believe in gender diversity in TCI?

When I entered the industry, it was predominantly male. However, working with exceptional women over the years has shown me the power of diversity. Teams with diverse backgrounds tend to be more successful, and promoting gender diversity will only strengthen our industry.

What is one frequent mistake you witness leaders making?

Saying something can’t be done because it hasn’t worked before. People need to learn from their own experiences. Encourage passion and let them give it a shot; they might surprise you.

How did you get to where you are today?

Believing in myself and learning from inspiring people around me. I’ve been fortunate to work with great leaders who’ve taught me a lot. Learning never stops; the moment you think you know it all is the moment you stagnate.

What are the biggest challenges facing our industry?

Attracting new talent is a big one. We’re not only competing with banks but also fintech companies. Many people aren’t even aware of trade credit insurance as a career option when they’re choosing their path after school. It’s a fantastic industry, and once people join, they tend to stick around.