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News > Careers > Liam Scott PGS 1990 -1997

Liam Scott PGS 1990 -1997

Currently the Director of a Loss Adjusting firm, Liam shares his career lessons learnt in the twenty plus years since leaving Pate's.
8 Sep 2022
Written by Liam Scott
Careers

I am a Director within one of the largest Insurance Loss Adjusting firms operating in the UK, currently specialising in Building Defects Insurance Claims (known as “Latent Defects”, or “Structural Warranty”).  In addition to my academic qualifications, I have professional qualifications with both the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) and also the Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters (CILA), amongst others.

When meeting new people and introducing myself as “working in Insurance”, most people assume three things: 

  • Firstly, their eyes glaze over assuming a career in Insurance must be fairly dull and might be similar to banking or other office-based roles
  • before concluding that I must sell Insurance
  • and after I explain I am not in Sales and, in fact, work in Claims, they immediately think of uncovering fraudulent motor claims as being the most interesting part of my job

It is then an uphill struggle to try and convince them that none of the above really represents what a Director of a Loss Adjusting firm does. Hopefully what follows will demonstrate this and give a flavour of the varied and dynamic world that is Loss Adjusting.  

When an insurance company receives a claim over a certain value or level of complexity, they appoint a Loss Adjuster from an external Loss Adjusting firm to go out and investigate/handle it for them.This usually means physically inspecting a location where a claim has occurred, meeting the parties involved, gathering all the evidence and then reporting to Insurers and negotiating / concluding the claim with various different stakeholders. Of course, insurance covers so many different “risks”, from simple private car insurance and household insurance, to insuring all the physical assets and liabilities of large multinational companies, the risk of cyber-attacks, aviation risks, financial crime and so on.  Therefore, the types of claims we deal with vary massively.

Whilst Loss Adjusting is a profession in its own right, it requires a very wide range of knowledge and skills that other professions might not. Decision making, people skills, legal knowledge, knowledge of businesses, the subject matter of the insurance such as construction or specific industries, all form part of a Loss Adjuster’s skill set. This leads some Loss Adjusters to specialise in a particular field of expertise, beyond the more routine type of claims. Some of my colleagues often travel around the globe to investigate claims for oil rigs, cargo aboard ships, losses affecting large mining operations – the list is almost endless. Therefore, Loss Adjusting is highly dynamic and anything but the “dull office-based job” people often assume. Whilst not for the faint of heart, it can be very rewarding in terms of job satisfaction and also financially.

As a Director, I am also lucky enough to be involved in marketing, recruiting, business development and all other aspects of running a business. Since leaving Pate’s over twenty years ago, my journey has not been a straightforward one and so I wanted to share some of the career lessons I have learnt.

As with many Pate’s students, academic ability came naturally. Therefore, after leaving the Sixth Form, I thought it was a natural step to read the academic subject I was best at and enjoyed the most at university. My natural choice was, therefore, Physics. Whilst this seemed like a sensible choice for progression at the time, I was neither ready for university life or the pursuit of a career within the comparatively narrow field of Physics. This ultimately led me to not achieving a degree of any note.

Whilst it might not be necessary to decide definitely upon a career at school, I do now feel it is important to try and choose a direction for a career early on. For example, with hindsight, instead of a degree in pure Physics, I might have taken a year out and then gone to university to study Civil Engineering which has far more practical applications, is closely related to my aptitude for Physics, and as it turns out, would have been very relevant and useful to my current role.

After leaving university, I was keen to enter the workplace, but without any direction, I simply fell into an entry-level desktop (i.e. office-based) claims handling role in the local office of an insurance company. I spent the majority of my 20’s in two similar such roles, gradually and incrementally working my way up to a semi-senior, yet modest non-management role, by the time I was 30.

Towards the beginning of this period, my first lesson was that the real world of work was very different to the academic world I had experienced so far.  I found that pure knowledge was nowhere near enough to carry me through and that soft skills, dealing with people in particular, as well as a broad general knowledge, were essential to success. 

This took me a couple of years to fully appreciate and adapt to, before I ploughed full steam ahead in making up for lost time by participating in numerous extra life-enhancing pursuits. These included starting my professional qualifications, voluntary work and joining various local charitable organisations, as well as sporting activities and general reading up on various subjects related to insurance claims (which in those days was done at a physical library!).

I cannot emphasise enough the importance of these extra activities in developing the soft skills that are so key to career advancement.  These activities also included pushing myself more and more at work, including staying behind after hours to study more senior staff’s claims and assertively putting myself forward for any additional duties and responsibilities. This also inevitably meant developing relationships with people both within my organisation and also with external firms, such as Loss Adjusters, to gain their advice, knowledge and perhaps most importantly, their support both at that time and critically years later (even now). I did not know at the time just how important those networking relationships were. In my current role, networking within the insured industry is absolutely critical.

Finally, at the age of 30, I made the move into a Loss Adjusting firm as a trainee Loss Adjuster. With hindsight, I could have made this move far earlier and been bolder in my decision making. The move almost did not work out, where I struggled to adapt to my first Loss Adjusting role where I was expected to be fully independent, as opposed to 9-5 office-based work. I left this first job in Cardiff after two months and I was very lucky in quickly securing a trainee position based in London for my current firm. It was then that I fully appreciated the extra skills I had gained throughout my 20’s, but also where I truly learnt the critical ingredient of sheer hard work.

Every day, I worked from very early in the morning to late at night, often volunteering to assist the Managing Director on all aspects from the business and shadowing him on client meetings. This total dedication to my work tied together all the extra skills and knowledge I had learnt during my 20’s, with my hunger for success. The impact of drive, determination and hunger to succeed, despite setbacks, cannot be overstated. It is also equally as important to combine this with a strategy to unwind and make sure “downtime” is a part of my routine – I am no good to my staff or any of the stakeholders that rely on me if I push myself too hard – work life balance is critical.

Ultimately, I become one of three Directors of the company and following our acquisition by the Charles Taylor Group, the third largest Adjusting house in the UK, I am now the Director responsible for all specialist Building Defects claims. My time is split between day-to-day Operational Management (managing staff and processes), in addition to more Directorial duties by way of Strategic Management (meeting with clients in The City and also in the Regions, marketing and attending industry networking events) as well as some Loss Adjusting on larger and more complex claims.     

It has occurred to me in recent years having looked back, that at Pates, the right academic and extra-curricular opportunities coupled with the right mindset, really does give us all, alumni and current students alike, opportunities that are not available to everyone – the world is our oyster if we choose to be bold and embrace all the opportunities to learn skills and work hard.

If anyone would like to know more, then I would be happy to answer any questions or give any guidance on insurance / financial services, or indeed any of the many different businesses I have come across in my claim investigations over the years.

Website: https://www.charlestaylor.com/en/

Email: Liam.scott@charlestaylor.com 

Additional Resources:-

Chartered Insurance Institute: https://www.cii.co.uk/#

Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters: https://www.cila.co.uk/

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