Meet the Team: Rob Clarkson, Special Advisor, Insurance Practice

Rob Clarkson has recently joined the Insurance Practice as a Special Advisor.  Rob has over 30 years’ experience in the industry, 20 years of which were spent in a variety of different roles at Barclays where he took over the running of the bank’s two insurance intermediaries. Rob left Barclays to take stewardship of Post Office insurance and successfully transformed the business into a profitable and growing asset.  Over the past four years Rob has overseen the transformation of their operating model, launching multiple products on a new policy administration platform, delivering real time optimised pricing capability and deploying the use of data enrichment. 


1.  Please outline your background and experience.

I have worked in the insurance sector for over 30 years. During that time I have had lots of different roles, from being front line in a call centre, managing change, leading operations, developing products and devising strategy.  These roles gave me the experience needed to transform my last business giving it the people, systems, capabilities and direction needed to position it well for growth.


2.  What attracted you to join Sheffield Haworth?

After 30+ years working for large corporates I felt it was time to consider a different challenge and decided to develop a portfolio career.  Since January I have secured a number of advisory positions across FinTech and Disruptor businesses.  Sheffield Haworth represents a unique mix of services provided across multiple sectors.  Blending their services neatly across Executive Search, Talent Advisory and Consultancy whilst working in partnership with businesses that support other areas of people and transformation services. I was excited by having the opportunity to work alongside a fresh and focused team whom are successfully building an insurance practice within SH consulting.


3.  Where do you see the opportunities being?

There are lots of businesses that provide various people focused services. However, Sheffield Haworth has developed an extended ecosystem providing the opportunity for organisations to work in partnership across all of their people requirements.  From providing bespoke management consultancy to building the teams required to transform their business and operating models.  They are set up to truly support businesses who are looking to innovate and grow.


4.  What do you see as being the future trends for the Insurance Industry?

Digitalisation.  Insurance companies are very keen to evolve their operating models.  Recent events demonstrate that businesses have to be able to react quickly.  Those that have flexibility embedded within their architecture will be better equipped to react to the needs to their customers and employees.  Organisations that use this flexibility will be able to deliver against customers evolving needs quicker and more cost effectively whilst providing them with choice for how they access the service, being accessible when they need them and how ever they want to access them.


5.  What do you think Insurance organisations need to do to remain relevant to their customers?

Innovate and do what customers expect them to do well.  Saying that your company is customer centric and truly putting customers at the heart of everything they do is not always the case.  There is still a huge demand for ‘traditional’ insurance products and I feel that this introduces complacency.  Improving the relevance of these products, educating customers on how they can prevent claims, accurately pricing the risk, making the application process easier, improving trust and simplifying terms are all essential.  There are large segments of customers whom don’t currently see insurance as relevant as traditional products don’t provide what they see as important.  Appealing to these groups of customers are going to be key for the next generation of insurance products.


6.  How big a part does diversity of thought play in helping to innovate organisations?

Multiple studies suggest that having diversity across every level provides a more robust and successful business.  It provides the platform to think differently, increases internal challenge, ensures that the needs of your customers from all of their different backgrounds are considered and provides the organisation with personality.  In my opinion, a diverse organisation has the highest potential to attract and retain the talent it needs to win.


7.  How can the insurance industry attract different sources of talent for example those from the technology sector?

I believe it already does from certain parts of the market.  There are lots of similarities across all sectors.  Digitalisation, use of BIG DATA, innovation, regulation, risk management, journey simplification, marketing and many, as a result of competition, lack of legacy challenges and focus, are ahead of the insurance sector.    The perceived culture of large insurance companies may be seen as a barrier.  Regulated businesses can be seen as difficult to innovate from within and there are lots of hurdles and governance challenges to overcome.  There has to be a way to demonstrate that you can make things happen in large regulated businesses.


8.  What do you think will be the biggest challenges in doing this?

The biggest challenge is encouraging insurance leaders to seek input from outside of the sector as traditionally this has been seen as high risk.  There remains a fear of failure and the safest options are usually the ones that are tried and tested and attract most support.


If you’d like more information on how our Insurance Practice can support your organisation with both immediate and future resourcing needs, please contact us.


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