Introducing Anne-Therese Cromwell, Strategic Account Manager for the South of England

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At ERS we pride ourselves on the strength of our broker relationships and, for brokers that we work with on a regular basis, we always ensure there is a dedicated point of contact on hand to service their needs. To that end, we spoke to our newly recruited Strategic Account Manager Anne-Therese Cromwell, to learn about why relationship-building remains the linchpin of any successful insurance business…

Tell us about your role at ERS?

I’m Strategic Account Manager for the South of England which means I look after a portfolio of some of our largest brokers across the region, working with them to help service current customer needs as well as proactively exploring potential new market opportunities.

It’s absolutely a relationship-based role. If the brokers are happy and our underwriters are happy, then I’m happy. It’s also a chance for me to get closer to some of our key partners to find new ways of working with them.

Over the course of my career I’ve worked both as a broker and as an underwriter, which has given me a good understanding of both perspectives. I’ve also been involved with my local insurance institute in Reading for the past four years, which has been great for advancing my sector-wide knowledge.

What does a typical day in your world look like?

I’m just finishing my first few weeks at ERS, so every day has been spent getting to know my brokers and meeting our main contacts for the first time. Every broker is different and has their own preferred way of working – at this stage, it’s about learning everyone’s preferences, understanding what’s worked well in their relationship with ERS to date, and identifying any things we can improve upon.

What particular challenges do you anticipate in your new role?

I’m taking over the role from Marjorie Adejumo, who is now our Head of Regional Development, so I have big shoes to fill – our brokers enjoyed working with her a great deal.

My first challenge is to remember everyone’s names. Then, as I get stuck in, it will be about keeping abreast of all of the changes in the market and ensuring that we’re driving growth forwards with brokers during these challenging times. The advantage here is that we’re a specialist and we’re able to support brokers’ customers in ways that standard insurers simply cannot.

You mentioned changes in the market – what are the big trends you’re seeing right now?

Consolidation across the industry – with brokers and with insurers – is certainly keeping me on my toes. There seems to be another merger or acquisition every couple of weeks, and it’s hard to predict what the industry will end up looking like in, say, the next five years.

I think a lot of this is down to market uncertainty, whether that’s Brexit-related or the changing regulatory environment. For larger players, acquisition looks like a decent growth strategy in a market where unlocking new business opportunities is challenging; for smaller players, this type of consolidation could be the antidote to any worries caused by the market uncertainty.

I’m also following the tech side of things quite closely. Big data is having a real impact on how the insurance industry operates, while tech is fundamentally changing the world of motoring. Driverless cars truly amaze me. When I went to Thatcham Research centre recently I had the opportunity to get into the back of a semi-autonomous Tesla and see the technology in action. Going down the A4 at 60 miles an hour with the driver only touching the steering wheel every 45 seconds for safety, showed me just how quickly the technology is developing.

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learnt along the way?

Being in sales and business development, the advice I always follow is to make sure that you believe in the message you’re delivering. Otherwise it’s really difficult to deliver it.

Ultimately, when I enjoy my job, when I’m passionate about the role, and when I believe in the company, everything falls into place. This thought process is so useful when considering new roles – you have to try and work out the good, the bad, even the potentially ugly!

What was it about this role that caught your eye?

I’d known of ERS for several years already so when I saw the job profile come up on LinkedIn I was already intrigued. The more I investigated, the more interested I became, particularly in its core specialism and the values behind the business. Thus far I haven’t been disappointed – it’s been by far the best onboarding experience I’ve ever had.

What do you see as the biggest opportunity for ERS in the next few years?

I’m really lucky to be joining the business at this moment in time. So many internal improvements have been made to boost our efficiency and our ability to service brokers’ needs, like the roll-out of Insurer Hosted Pricing, data-enrichment and the development of eTrade. This hard work has already happened and now my colleagues and I are in an amazing position to start telling the story to brokers.

I think ERS has an incredibly clear identity and, at a time when there’s disruption occurring across not just our industry but all industries, having such a well-defined specialism is the right strategy for long-term growth.

What are your passions and pastimes outside of working hours?

I’m happiest when spending time with family and friends or dog-walking in Dorset with my Labrador Bella. I’m a keen reader too and a bit of a sci-fi geek – my LinkedIn profile picture shows me surrounded by Star Wars cosplayers at a Reading Insurance Institute charity dinner!

I’m still involved with the Institute, having spent the past two years in the role of President. My next task will be assuming the mantle of quizmaster at our forthcoming charity quizzes, which is certainly a new challenge for me.

If you weren’t in the motor insurance business, what would your dream job be?

I have a degree in psychology and I was interested for a time in the idea of a career writing about the motivations behind crime. After all, real life can be a lot stranger than fiction.

Alternatively, running a coffee shop somewhere by the seaside would be the dream, and perhaps a nice idea for some point in the future.

Looking for specialist motor insurance? Find your local Regional Development Manager here.

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