Meet Tannie Khupe, Regional Underwriting Executive & Business Development
What is your backstory? Tell us about your path to Sompo International.
I was born in Zimbabwe and lived there until I was 10 years old. Moving to the UK with my family was exciting but also an interesting cultural shift. I wanted to be a basketball player in the NBA, but a knee injury put a stop to that, so I fell in love with insurance instead! I’ve been in the industry for 16 years, starting as a client advisor at Aon in London straight from school. I joined Aon in 2005 and spent 12 years there, starting off as a client advisor working with some of the world’s largest firms across all lines of business. Shortly into my time there, I had the opportunity to join the broking team and worked my way up to Broking Director and then Head of Automotive for the national business. I left Aon in 2017, to join AIG. Having always been a broker, I knew I had to experience the market from an insurer’s perspective and the role as AIG’s Business Development Director for the UK was the perfect challenge. I joined Sompo GRS in June 2021, to help lead profitable growth across the UK and Europe and I’m honoured to be here. The chance to make Sompo the go-to P&C insurer in Europe for clients within our focused industry verticals, is a once in a lifetime one and something that I am relishing with each day.
Give us three words to describe Sompo International.
Trustworthy, Agile, Exciting!
What is a trend you feel is impacting the industry and more specifically, your role at the moment?
The obvious example that springs to mind is the impact that the pandemic has had on our ability to interact with clients and brokers. This is felt more acutely in a market like London where face-to-face interaction is much more prevalent. Whilst in-person meetings are only just starting to get back to pre-pandemic levels, we have had to navigate not just a new way of working, but also bring differentiated thinking to our clients as they circumvent scenarios and risks they had never before seen. I’m impressed by our ability to launch new products such as the Epidemic & Pandemic Protection which GRS recently announced. We’re listening and responding to our clients.
What advice do you have for prospective Sompo International candidates?
Do not hesitate! Opportunities like those that exist at Sompo International, to join a fast-paced, talented team full of ‘A-players’, where decisions are made quickly and efficiently, and the culture is one of trust, integrity, kindness and fun, are so rare. So, if the opportunity comes, grab it with both hands and you may just be one of the future leaders of our great industry.
Think back to your college graduation day. What is one thing you would tell yourself then?
Aside from buy Bitcoin! I would tell my younger self to be fearless. To cease every opportunity to do something different. Be that, work in another country, or to try a different specialism. We’re so fortunate to have myriad roles in our ever-evolving industry which means there’s every chance you’ll find something you love and that’s really cool.
What would you do for a career if you weren’t doing this?
I would be a pilot. From a very young age, I was captivated by the idea of flying, seeing the world and meeting people from all walks of life. The opportunity to travel and connect with different people, cultures, and backgrounds (and sample the food!) is one of the most enriching things you can do. Plus, the uniforms are pretty awesome too.
Tell us something about yourself that would surprise us.
I’m an adrenalin junkie and have experienced the highest bungee jump in the world, the Blaukrans River Bridge jump in Western Cape, South Africa, which is 216m or 709ft of pure adrenalin!