2023 AGRI Max BL

In Conversation with Max Warren-Watson, one of ERS' newest Agri Underwriters

Step into the world of agricultural insurance alongside Max Warren-Watson, the newest addition to ERS' esteemed agriculture team. Max's journey into the industry has been shaped by his diverse background, which includes a stint in hospitality and invaluable experience at another insurer. In this exclusive Q&A session, Max shares his path to becoming an underwriter, his insights into the agricultural sector and what drew him to pursue a career at ERS.

Q: Lovely to meet you, Max! Could you share how your career journey led you to become an underwriter in the agriculture sector?

Max: Thank you! My career journey has been quite interesting. After finishing education, I initially started work in the hospitality industry, which gave me the confidence and skills to interact with people effectively. However, my true passion lay elsewhere. I had the opportunity to work at another insurer, where I gained valuable experience as a claim’s handler. It was during this time that I became intrigued by the insurance industry and its various facets. I developed a keen interest in underwriting and the analytical side of the business, which ultimately led me to pursue a career in this field.

Q: That's quite a unique career progression. Can you tell us a bit more – and outline how your background has contributed to your role as an agricultural underwriter?

Max: My experience in hospitality taught me the importance of excellent customer service and effective communication. These skills have proven invaluable in my role as an underwriter, as I often engage with brokers to understand their clients’ needs and deliver tailored solutions.

While working in the insurance industry, I quickly realised my passion for analysing risks and finding solutions for clients. This led me to transition into the role of an assistant underwriter in the niche private car team, where I dealt with a wide range of vehicles and differing schemes, including prestigious vehicles, uniquely modified vehicles, and unconventional risks. This approach to specialty underwriting has really helped me in the agriculture sector, where no two risks are the same!

After spending seven years as an underwriter at another firm, I sought new challenges and opportunities to expand my expertise. The agricultural sector intrigued me as it presented a different set of challenges, particularly in understanding and assessing farm machinery fleets. I welcomed the opportunity to work with brokers in this field and provide them with tailored insurance recommendations.

I’d like to think that through this journey, I’m able to bring a fresh perspective to ERS, combining my strong customer service skills, an analytical mindset, and a deep understanding of the insurance process. And, importantly, all this allows me to contribute to ERS' commitment to delivering exceptional service, bespoke offerings, and expertise in the agricultural insurance landscape.

Q: It's clear that collaboration is an important aspect of your role. How does working closely with different departments and leveraging the expertise within the team contribute to your success as an agricultural underwriter?

Max: You’re absolutely right - collaboration is at the heart of our approach at ERS. Working closely with various departments and tapping into the expertise within the team allows us to gain valuable insights and stay ahead of industry trends. The agriculture team comprises 25 talented individuals, each bringing their own unique knowledge and experience to the table.

This collaborative environment fosters a culture of continuous learning and growth. By exchanging ideas, sharing best practices, and leveraging the diverse skill sets within the team, we are able to tackle complex challenges more effectively and provide our brokers with the highest level of service and expertise.

Q: As an underwriter in the agriculture team, what are some of the trends or challenges you've observed in the industry?

Max: It perhaps goes without saying that I've noticed a trend of insurers imposing significant rate increases during policy renewals. However, at ERS, we take a measured approach, which has helped us to avoid hefty increases, be more flexible than many of our competitors - and ensure transparent communication with our brokers. We carefully explain any changes in rates to the brokers so that they can share these with our clients, ensuring they understand the rationale behind them.

Our goal is to build trust and maintain strong relationships with brokers by providing them with the necessary tools to communicate any changes effectively – while ensuring the stability they need.

Q: How do you add value to brokers as an underwriter in the agriculture team?

Max: One of the keyways I add value to brokers is through being readily available and approachable. I prioritise open communication channels, ensuring brokers can reach out to me with any questions or concerns they may have. By being responsive and collaborative, I can work closely with brokers to understand their clients' unique needs and provide personalised insurance solutions.

Additionally, my commitment to continuous learning allows me to stay updated on industry developments and offer valuable insights to brokers, enabling them to better serve their clients.

Q: Thanks Max! One last question - outside of work, what are some of your interests or hobbies?

Max: When I'm not immersed in the world of agricultural insurance, I have a huge passion for cars. I enjoy attending racing events and car shows throughout the summer with family and friends. I find the automotive industry fascinating, and it serves as a great outlet for my passion of all things motor. I also love running and challenging myself physically, taking inspiration from my mum, who is an avid runner and adventurer. It's important to me to maintain a healthy work-life balance and pursue activities that bring me joy and fulfilment.

Thanks so much Max for sharing your insights – it’s a pleasure speaking to you, and welcome to the team!

Find out more information about our agricultural motor insurance here.

For any Agricultural motor enquiries, contact our team on 0345 600 2284 or agriculturequotes@ers.com

< Previous StoryNext Story >