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Elaine Mason ACII Chartered Insurance Practitioner, Belvedere Mead

Elaine Mason ACII Chartered Insurance Practitioner, Belvedere Mead

Claims Manager I Head of Claims I Managing Director

Who is your employer?

In 2010 I founded a consultancy company called Belvedere Mead Ltd, providing interim claims management resource to the organisations operating in the Lloyd's and London Insurance and Reinsurance markets.

What is your role?

I am the Managing Director but, as it is a small company, I am also the main consultant, market researcher and sales director amongst all the interesting tasks that running a company operating in the insurance profession requires! The services I offer to our clients are borne out of the huge variety of experiences I have gained during my 30 years in the insurance profession.

What were you doing before this role?

For many years I was a senior Claims Manager within the ACE European Group, primarily with responsibility for all their non-marine claims on business that was underwritten by their syndicates at Lloyd's.  This meant the claims were often international in nature and were not only property but also all types of liabilities, such as public and professional indemnity exposures.  Immediately before I left ACE, I was the Head of Claims, ACE Tempest Re, International. Travel to Ireland, Zurich and the USA was a regular part of my role. 

Did you go to university?

No. When I left school, I worked for the Bank of England but after a few months took a job with the Motor Insurers Bureau, which administered the Untraced and Uninsured Driver Agreements, as well as the Green Card Schemes.  When I was in my twenties I decided that I should get my professional qualifications so studied to gain my ACII.  I became a Chartered Insurer back in 1995, although am now a Chartered Insurance Practitioner.

What do you do in a typical working day?

Within the consultancy, there is no typical day.  I could be out at a client's offices, handling claims, undertaking audit/review work, drafting controls and procedure manuals, for their use.  Alternatively I might be reviewing the files in a piece of litigation where I have been asked to be an expert witness, or  working on drafting a new proposal for a particular client.

How does your role fit into the wider risk picture?

We help organisations manage the risks associated with the resource strain.  Insurance is a unique business where the true cost of the product is not known until after the product has been sold.  In some cases, such as long tail liabilities associated with, say, serious personal injury cases, or an architect's design flaws, this cost is not known for many years.

There are many facets of the insurance profession that are not well known - an individual's perception of risk buying motor or travel insurance is completely different to that of a Risk Manager employed in a large multi-national organisation.

Insurance has many customer-facing jobs but also has numerous other positions required to ensure the success of the business from underwriting, price modelling, natural catastrophe exposure modelling, finance, investment managers, claims handlers, legal teams, actuarial staff and IT and HR staff as any organisation has. 

My experience is in the claims function and covers the initial notification of a claim by a policy holder all the way through to resolution with the claim being closed, and any reinsurance monies collected.  Managing an overall portfolio of claims, the total reserving positions to be held and producing and analysis Key Performance Indicator and other metrics allows a bigger picture to be seen.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The variety and the fact that the business in Lloyd's and the London Market is people-driven.

What is the most challenging part of your role?

As my business is fairly new, my biggest challenge is ensuring that we win new clients and current clients continue to benefit from what we offer. 

What do you need to be successful in your role?

For new entrants to the profession, I would recommend that they consider a variety of roles in order that they gain a greater understanding of the profession. This will allow them to choose the areas where they feel they can offer more and then go on to specialise in that sector.

What have been your career highlights so far?

Being promoted into a senior managerial position at an early age, together with handling significant multimillion pound disputes and achieving finality in those always gives satisfaction. I now enjoy passing on the benefit of my knowledge to others starting their careers.

What are the main benefits of working in risk?

There is so many different roles that there will always be a career path that will allow you to develop professionally. Life, pensions, aviation, marine, property and casualty are all different sectors so you are bound to find a role that will fit with your skill sets and maximise your job satisfaction. 

We all spend so much time at work, it is important for our overall well-being that we are in a position that we enjoy. Happy staff are so much more productive!

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