Max Bailes

Being at the centre of it all  

Having decided not to pursue a degree in Business Management and Finance, Max found his way into specialty insurance with three months of work experience at Ed Broking which turned into a full-time role in claims – the beating heart of insurance.

“For me, the ability to get a job and learn from there, whilst earning, was a much better option than obtaining a degree. And, if you want to learn about insurance, then working in claims is the best place to be. You are at the centre of everything. Every day you look at different policies, you learn what it is that we are selling and what is included or not. Our job is to be there for the client and look how to get their claim paid to get them back on their feet quickly”.

Max focused on property in North America – a huge land mass prone to hurricanes, wildfires, tornados, and earthquakes. Early in his career he dealt with eight separate disasters in a single year. “This is where the rubber hits the road in insurance, the client has suffered a loss and it’s our job to make it better. The skills l learnt were all around how to deal with people when they are in trouble, and sorting the complex and urgent claims so you respond fast and effectively for them”.

The skills required in claims are as much about relationships as they are to do with the legal and financial issues. “In claims you sit between the people who have sold the policy and those that bought it. Its peoples’ lives and businesses and you need to be human and show empathy – working out what everyone needs and managing expectations”. It is also an area where new technology has an important role to play. “Before you perhaps had to wait to send in an expert, now you can access drone photography almost immediately to see where the problems are. It’s a real game-changer”.

The other joy of specialty insurance is the ability to combine personal interests with your work. Max added “As I have built up my insurance knowledge, I am now able to work with my colleagues at Howden handling claims for professional athletes and teams.

For Max, the best things about his role and the industry are being able to help people, sort out tricky issues and solve problems – as well as working in a market that is a real community. “There is a lot of social activity around our work, you meet a lot of other professionals which makes the day job much easier and more fun”.