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In the fast-paced world of personal motor insurance, we’re pleased to be backed by a team of dedicated underwriters who are committed to navigating the ever-changing landscape of risks and policies.

In this Q&A session, we introduce you to the newest members of our Personal Motor Underwriting team: Steve Howells, Shannon Holland, and Lydia McCarthy. They share their backgrounds, the latest market insights and the unique qualities that set us apart from our competition. Join us as we discover the perspectives of these fresh faces as they bring their enthusiasm and expertise to the table.

It’s a pleasure to meet you all. As new members of ERS's Personal Motor Underwriting team, we're excited to hear about your role, experiences and what you think sets ERS apart from the crowd. Let's begin by hearing about your experience to date.

Steve Howells: Thank you, it's great to be here. My journey at ERS started five years ago. I initially worked in operations and had the opportunity to engage directly with clients. While I enjoyed my time in operations and valued the direct client relations, I really wanted to work more closely with brokers. As a result, transitioning into the role of a Personal Motor Underwriter was a natural progression. Now, I take pride in assessing each risk individually, ensuring a tailored approach and fostering strong and valuable broker partnerships.

Shannon Holland: Similarly, I've been with ERS for nearly six years now, and started off in operations too. In August, I took the step into underwriting, which felt like a natural progression as I was already gaining a deeper understanding of underwriting – and understood the fundamental importance of working closely with our broker partners.

Lydia McCarthy: I started my career in insurance straight out of university after completing an English degree. I knew I wanted to work in an office environment, and the opportunity to work in insurance appealed to me. I worked at LV for 4 years and then saw at opportunity arise at ERS. I wanted to go beyond handling standard risks where decisions were solely based on what the computer said. I wanted to use my skills and understanding of risks to make a real impact for clients. ERS offered the flexibility and high-end risk opportunities that aligned with my goals.

Q: Interesting stuff! So, can you give us insight into what a typical week looks like for you?

Steve: Well, one of the great things about my job is that no two weeks are the same, but a big part of my role involves being readily available to brokers, handling mid-term adjustments and pursuing new business opportunities. Collaboration with the operations team is key in effectively managing referrals and addressing inquiries across all channels.

Shannon: A typical week for me is filled with variety. I really enjoy working closely with the operations team and handling referrals. I handle day-to-day interactions with brokers, ensuring that we understand each risk thoroughly and provide tailored solutions.

The motor insurance market offers immense variety, from standard risks to niche vehicles like modified motorhomes (I’ve even seen a modified sofa!), and that's what keeps the job interesting. We go beyond software house ratings and take an in-depth look at the risks, leveraging our expertise to provide the best coverage options.

Lydia: In my three months at ERS, I've been focused on building my knowledge and expertise. I work closely with the team, picking up insights from their experiences. I collaborate closely with the operations team, who often refer cases to me. This collaboration ensures that we provide comprehensive coverage options and address any specific needs or concerns from brokers. In fact, one of the things I most appreciate about ERS is the collaborative nature of the work environment. We have a strong team spirit, and there's always support and guidance available to help us excel in our roles.

It sounds like variety is key for you all. Can you tell us what attracted you to ERS, and what makes the company stand out?

Steve: For me, and amongst plenty of other factors, it’s the commitment to manual underwriting. Manual trading roles enable ERS to stand apart from competitors by allowing more adaptability and flexibility. We can quickly respond to market changes and take ownership of each risk. Our ability to analyse risks individually and provide tailored solutions gives us a distinct advantage. Additionally, being a motor-only insurer allows us to specialise and excel in this sector, offering unparalleled expertise.

I also really value the opportunity to build strong broker relationships and work with prestigious vehicles.

Shannon: When I was 18 years old and starting my career, I had a strong interest in learning and development, and the insurance industry provided ample opportunities for growth. ERS, with its focus on underwriting and its commitment to ongoing learning through programs like the Underwriting Academy in Swansea, caught my attention. The hands-on learning approach, working closely with an experienced team, and the collaborative culture were all factors that attracted me to ERS – and has led me to stay here!

Lydia: ERS provides a great environment for personal and professional growth. It's not a place where you feel stagnant. In a crowded market with an abundance of information, ERS stands out by continuously adapting and evolving. The experienced team, the breadth of knowledge and the emphasis on staying at the forefront of the market and meeting the evolving appetite of brokers were all factors that attracted me to ERS.

Q: OK – and what’s the most valuable lesson you've learned in your career?

Steve: The most valuable lesson I've learned is to be fair and understand risks as a whole. Each risk is unique, and it's important to approach underwriting with this in mind. Fairness and integrity play a significant role in building strong relationships with brokers and ensuring positive outcomes for clients.

Lydia: The biggest lesson I've learned is to be adaptable and flexible. The insurance industry is constantly evolving, and it's crucial to stay updated and embrace changes. At ERS, we have the advantage of being able to respond quickly to market shifts and tailor our solutions accordingly. Being adaptable allows us to provide the best outcomes for our clients and maintain our position as a leading personal motor insurer.

Shannon: I’d echo this – a transparent, flexible and adaptable mindset is crucial to success. We need to evolve alongside a fast-changing industry, and deliver what our brokers need at any given time,

Thank you all! Let’s end by hearing about your hobbies and interests outside of work.

Shannon: Outside of work, I enjoy traveling and exploring new places. I also have a new addition to my family, a sausage dog named Disney, and spending time with her is a great way to unwind!

Lydia: I enjoy traveling and exploring new destinations. I have a passion for experiencing different cultures, trying local cuisines and immersing myself in the history and beauty of each place I visit. Additionally, I enjoy reconnecting with friends and spending quality time with loved ones. It's essential to strike a balance between work and personal life to ensure overall well-being.

Steve: It’s a mix of golf and family time for me! Getting out on the golf course, and spending time with my children is a great way to relax and reset after a hard weeks’ work.

We’re delighted to have Steve, Shannon and Lydia in the team. Their dedication, expertise and commitment to providing tailored solutions continues to set ERS apart in the market.

Click here for more information on our Prestige product. If you’re looking for a Supercar or Collections quote, go to ERS eTrade, email or call 0333 241 2445.

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