Pursuing Better Together with Mark Geoghegan
In the latest episode of Arch’s ‘Pursuing Better Together’ podcast series, we put long-time market journalist and the Voice of Insurance editor Mark Geoghegan in the interview seat to discuss his experience of switching careers from broking to journalism, his position as a market commentator and how he views the evolution of the London Market from his unique perspective.
While Mark Geoghegan is a well-known and respected market commentator, many may not know his career in the sector traces its origins to broking. In 2005, while working as a broker in Madrid and London an offer of redundancy gave him the opportunity to make a bold career change and pursue a lifelong ambition.
“I always wanted to be a journalist,” Mark says during our podcast discussion. “The best thing about being a journalist is that you get rid of the day-to-day things. If something’s boring or not new, you don’t have to write about it, so it was perfect for me.”
Starting his insurance journalism career at Reinsurance Magazine, Mark joined the highly respected investigative publication Insurance Insider in 2008, where he worked for 11 years. While most trade journalists have to learn about insurance on the job, Mark was the only insurance journalist in the UK to have had prior experience transacting international insurance and reinsurance business. “In the early days, some people would actually forget they were talking to a journalist,” he said.
Mark ventured out on his own in 2019, launching The Voice of Insurance podcast – a platform through which he applies his unique experience, relationships, access and understanding to re-examine and challenge long held beliefs, received wisdom and insurance myths and taboos.
While initially nervous about transitioning from the “black and white” world of investigative journalism, he quickly realised the more consensual podcast format offered a unique opportunity to explore often unchartered topics in greater depth and allowed him to really get to know the people he was interviewing and take the conversation in new directions.
“The spoken word is really intimate,” he believes. “In a podcast you can go into the reasons why things are the way they are, and all the shades of grey in between. Once you’ve decided what you’re going to talk about, things that are on the agenda are really on the agenda.”
This work has also highlighted to Mark the value of truly listening. “Pursuing better together means really paying attention and reacting to what’s in front of you. Always talking to your customers, suppliers and being open to new ones is so important,” he adds, as this drives ideas for new products and continuous improvement.
Turning the focus of the discussion to the London Market, Mark believes that collaboration is also hugely important for its ongoing modernisation drive, which is heavily focused on harnessing data and technology to create a faster and much more cost-efficient digital marketplace. “Brokers and insurers have to make life easier for each other so they both win,” Mark says.
Much has changed in the London Market since Mark was transacting business as a broker, but there is still a huge amount of technical work remaining to help it reach its evolutionary objectives. “I’m optimistic the market will get there, bit by bit – but it’s going to take longer than people think,” he says, recalling some of the challenges the market faced in its early efforts to digitise, such as the creation of Electronic Claim Files. “Don’t tell me technology is easy. Evolutions can be very difficult to implement.”
However, Mark acknowledges the end prize of a truly digital marketplace will be fantastic for London as it could spur a period of rapid evolution and should put the market firmly back at the forefront globally. “If you can put $500m of follower capacity behind a recognised leader within milliseconds, that is a fantastic service – that’s the sort of thing you can only do within the London market framework,” he says.
However, Mark suggests the biggest driver of recent change in the London Market has been a shift of mindset. “London is in a good place because it’s in a realistic place,” he adds.
“The most important step was to realise we’re in a competitive business and that we needed to improve. That bodes well for the future because if you get the right culture in place, the improvement will never end.”
About Arch Insurance International Podcasts
During our Pursuing Better Together series, we’ll hear from luminaries both inside and outside of the insurance industry about how they have “pursued better” within their chosen professions.