Meeting up with Raza for a flat white was tricky as the renewable energy insurance market is a very busy place but, when we do, it’s clear that he’s loving his latest broking job.
What did you want to be at school?
I remember doing a project in Physics on how nuclear power could solve industry’s demand for energy, so I became interested in a job in the energy industry.
Unfortunately, I was unable to complete my degree due to personal reasons. To start with it was about getting a job just to pay the rent, so I looked for a job in industries which required numerate individuals such as accounting and insurance.
I eventually accepted a job with an insurance broker BeWiser in Andover. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I have made.
Why did you choose a career in the London Insurance Market?
Once I was in the insurance industry, I realised that the London Market was the place I needed to work if I wanted both a varied career and to be involved in insuring the risks of the energy industry.
I started emailing and reaching out to brokers and insurers in London involved in energy risks around the world with emails. One insurer in Lloyd’s invited me in to spend a day shadowing their underwriters. It was a fun day and helped to build my CV. I eventually got a job as an underwriting assistant with Munich Re Syndicate at Lloyd’s. I then moved onto to the broking side as an account executive with Marsh for three years in their North African and Central European team, working directly with clients and buyers of insurance
I took my current job as a placing broker with Ed as I wanted to work in the renewable energy insurance market which is growing rapidly.
What does the job of a placing broker entail?
A placing broker’s role is to arrange insurance at the best price for their customer.
For instance, there may be a wind farm in Morocco which needs to insure the risk of their 80m high wind turbines being damaged. My job is to gather information about the wind farm then negotiate with a range of insurers to get the wind farm the best insurance coverage at the best price. I have been lucky enough to travel to North Africa and Europe to meet some of the customers but most of my work is meeting and negotiating with insurers in London to arrange the placement.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love the fact that I have to solve puzzles. For instance, some of the renewable energy projects would not be financially viable unless they obtained insurance within their budget. My job is to work out how to design and negotiate their insurance programme to achieve those objectives.
I enjoy the technical aspect such as understanding and explaining the risks of some of the new technologies being used to generate wind and solar energy which will be so important in protecting the planet and helping to achieve a net zero carbon position in the future.
What skills do you need to do your job?
Attention to detail and a good memory. I often have six different conversations in a morning with insurers about a range of risks, so you need to recall facts quickly and think on your feet. Being good with numbers is also very useful. And you need to be creative to solve some of those puzzles I spoke about.
The future of the market is digitaI, but I think the ability to build personal relationships will always be important when negotiating on complex risks, which is what I do.
Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to join the London Market?
When you are applying for jobs really think about the role you want to do.
Then research the firms who offer the roles, to see if that organisation is right for you. That time spent on research will also really help you at interview.
Once you are in the market, go talk to people and don’t be shy. Introduce yourself to as many people as possible and follow up those connections. Those relationships can last you your whole London Market career.
Fun fact about you
There are lots of social events in the market. One of those I volunteered to take part in was a white collar boxing bout in front of a crowd of 1500 people!
I definitely came off worse, but I am still good friends with the boxer who beat me. He currently has a leadership role in an insurtech start up, so our paths may cross again but hopefully in a less painful way!