Harry Picking

risk that is out of this world

“If someone had told me when I left school that I would be working in the space industry five years later, I would have said they were mad”. Harry works with satellite operators, manufacturers and launch service providers to make sure that if something goes wrong with their technology, often worth hundreds of millions of dollars, then their businesses will not also crash financially.

Harry started his career working on the insurance of large cargo vessels and has also been involved in insuring aircraft, but three years ago he decided to specialise in space. As a space underwriter he works in a team that provides insurance for disasters occurring when a satellite launches, or if anything goes wrong once it is in orbit. “The frontiers of space are amazing and hearing what businesses are trying to achieve with satellites or through space exploration makes you realise how much we rely on the technology they deliver. But without someone to insure them against a launch or satellite failure, no one would ever invest in them. Insurance literally gets them off the ground.”

Harry left school after completing his A levels in 2012. Since then, he has learnt an enormous amount from others and from spending the time to understand the complexities of the risks.  Harry also sees the value of professional qualifications, so is working towards his Chartered Insurance Institute exams which will give him a strong grounding in wider aspects of the insurance industry.

Getting to meet and understand the clients’ businesses is a vital part of understanding the risks they face, so there is a fair amount of travel involved. Harry says: “The most critical skill is the ability to build strong interpersonal relationships, not just with your team but with customers and brokers who bring in the business. That is what sets you apart and it also makes business a lot more fun.”