Richard Allen discusses the value of good data, solid relationships, service ethic and experience amidst the current challenges within the PL sector.
What’s your back story?
I did a Bachelor of Commerce degree with French in Birmingham before starting off at Chubb in 1996 as an FI underwriter. From there I moved to a start-up consortium (Aurora Duncanson and Holt Syndicate Management) and then onto QBE, SVB, Novae and Axis before landing at Sompo International in 2014. Sompo was such an attractive proposition – the chance to build a London business from scratch. We started with nothing and today we’re a billion-dollar business.
Outside work I’m a family man. We have two young children, my wife runs her own business. That doesn’t leave much ‘spare’ time but I have run a marathon (once) and I play less football, tennis and golf than I would like.
Tell us about your market sector …
Our London PL book is global, with our Barcelona operation, set up at the beginning of 2018, focusing on European-domiciled clients. Our sector focus and risk appetites though are consistent across both hubs for FI, ML, PI and Transaction Risk. The key challenge across classes at the moment is obvious — the economy. How well can businesses hold up under the pressure? As an industry we’re likely to see clients facing challenges around affordability, claims and litigation and some may face restrictions on capacity and ability to buy limit. Good data and solid relationships will be key as we navigate the new normal.
What’s your USP?
Brokers know what to expect from us – they know where they are with us and they understand our appetite because we communicate well. We have a reputation for flexibility and consistency. We bespoke covers as needed, have a real service ethic and turn-around times are good. Our team is experienced – the four leaders in each area all have over 15 years’ within the market – some many more!
These are challenging times, but as a business with critical mass and strong ratings, we’re in a good position to drive forward and make the most of market conditions.