Pursuing Better Together with Caroline Wagstaff
Caroline Wagstaff speaks about helping the London market to speak with one voice, from advocating accountability for regulators to selling the idea of an insurance career to young people.
‘Pursuing better together’ could be Caroline Wagstaff’s mission statement.
As CEO of the London Market Group (LMG), she works to promote the interests of a disparate group of brokers, underwriters and syndicates that comprise London’s commercial and specialty insurance market. Engaging with governments and regulators, and leading campaigns to attract young talent to the industry are all in a day’s work for Caroline.
“There are 350 businesses all within half a mile of the Lloyd’s building, all in the same sector, many of whom are supporting each other,” Caroline says in the latest edition of Arch’s Pursuing Better Together podcast. “They do this unique thing: they compete and cooperate at the same time.”
Collaboration to achieve progress is at the core of her work. “We are a living embodiment of Better Together,” Caroline says.
A communications professional with 25 years’ experience in the London market, including a five-year stint as Head of Marketing and Communications for Lloyd’s, Caroline admits she initially “fell into” insurance, but has since come to love the market and its community.
“The ecosystem of brokers, underwriters, loss adjusters, accountants, lawyers and other support services sets London apart and helps us to come up with better solutions and be more creative,” Caroline says.
Viewing the LMG as a campaigning organisation, rather than a lobbyist group, she feels a responsibility to ensure that the work of the LMG creates value for every member, from the largest syndicate to the niche broker with a handful of staff.
One of her focuses has been to engage with regulators, the government and the Treasury on the Financial Services and Markets Bill, the post-Brexit regulatory reform legislation.
“When the Bill was first put before Parliament, it left the regulators not only to mark their own homework, but to set their own homework. A lot of our activity has been to say we think there needs to be greater accountability,” Caroline says. “Our campaign has been very successful, and the Bill has changed quite a lot.”
The LMG has also been pushing for greater competitiveness and growth, while putting forward practical suggestions to promote London market expansion.
“One of several things we’ve been talking about is whether we could introduce a captives regime in the UK,” Caroline says. “It’s a centre of expertise for captive insurance, but there are no UK-based captives. Captive insurers are regulated as if they were a normal insurance company, even though the risk they pose to the system is incredibly low. We’re talking to the regulator and the Treasury about changing that.”
The LMG is making headway with a longstanding challenge of the industry — to get the message across to young people that specialty insurance can provide a great career.
Using social media channels and influencers to connect with them is at the heart of the LMG’s talent attraction strategy. The plan is to drive traffic to London Insurance Life, a website built to tell the industry’s story in an attractive and accessible way.
“One of the features is what I call the ‘passions page’,” Caroline says. “We ask: what are you interested in? You click on jewellery, fast cars or horses, for example, and then it shows you how insurance interacts with these topics.”
The LMG Futures Academy is another concerted recruitment effort. It involved reaching out to schools and offering sixth form students two weeks’ work experience in the London market.
“I was astonished by the market support — 35 companies agreed to take students,” Caroline says. “We were able to offer places to 115 students.” Arch was among the participating companies. In 2024, Caroline plans to place 150 students.
The LMG is the manifestation of pursuing better together, Caroline says. “I couldn’t do anything at the LMG without the support of the market… I love the fact that we can do this together.”
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.