Interview with Adrian Sargent, Claims Solutions Leader, Marsh Asia
Claims Solutions Leader, Marsh Asia
1. Where are you now? Tell us about your role
I was packed off to Hong Kong almost 8 years ago by Mr. Miller (at my request mind) and remain based in Asia, albeit now in Singapore with my wife (Rebecca – also an RPC alumni) and two young children.
The last 4 years I have been working for Marsh. Working at Marsh is incredible for many reasons and joining was the best career decision I have ever made. However, I doubt the move would have happened were in not for the high standards of professional development provided to me by RPC over an 8 year period.
My current role is leading our Claims Solutions practice for Asia. We have recently torn up the traditional broker claims model and created regional dedicated teams of claims consulting colleagues who focus exclusively on large and complex claims. Our Asia team comprises roughly 100 colleagues, split across 12 countries, and includes many lawyers who focus on coverage issues and settlements and accountants who quantify the losses. A significant aspect of my role is revenue growth as we now generate millions of dollars a year from claims consulting in Asia.
2. What does a typical week look like for you?
Something I really enjoy with my role is the variety, one day I could be helping the team pitch for the claims preparation work on a large energy and power claim in Thailand and the next interviewing candidates for a construction claims advocate role in Japan. It is therefore hard to say what a typical week looks like!
That said, my time is generally split across 4 main areas: colleague engagement, new business, financials and recruitment.
For me supporting the Claims Solutions country leaders and specialty leaders is the most important aspect of my job. I am a big subscriber to the collective leadership theory. Therefore, I am always maintaining a regular communication channel with my colleagues to ensure transparency and that we work collaboratively.
3. What do you enjoy most about your work and what has been your most rewarding achievement?
I really enjoy being immersed in a business from a commercial and operational perspective as it allows me to be slightly more flexible in my thinking and decision-making.
Being at Marsh has shown a side of me that I did know existed in that I get a real buzz from pursuing and securing new business especially when the revenue is significant. Presenting at a pitch or tender really gets the adrenaline flowing and if successful sharing that feeling of success with my colleagues is incredible.
My most rewarding achievements have to be based around colleague development. For each role within Marsh there has always been some ‘hidden gem(s)’ in the teams I have led. Mentoring and developing those colleagues and then watching them succeed is very rewarding.
4. Throughout your career – what are your highlights?
I have two that spring to mind. The first was actually being awarded a training contract with RPC. It is such a stressful and demanding journey to get to that point and I feel very fortunate to have been given the opportunity when thousands of law graduates miss out each year. The second would be chosen to lead Claims Solutions for Marsh in Asia after coming through a challenging internal interview process.
5. Where do you see your industry heading – what are the key issues or changes you see on the horizon over the next three to five years?
From my perspective in Asia, the big areas in which we will see change are: risk management, data analytics and cyber (Asia is way behind other areas of the world when it comes to uptake of cyber policies).
At Marsh, broking is at the core of our business, however risk management consulting is increasingly becoming a significant part of our business. We are and will continue to see clients subscribing to good risk management practice to help try and reduce premiums and limit losses. Companies can no longer disregard risk management, never more so highlighted by the global pandemic, where I can bet my last dollar that only a small percentage of companies had robust and well tested business resilience plans in place. Insurers are now requesting evidence of good risk management practices as part of the placement process.
Of significance to claims is data analytics. Data is such a hot topic in claims now and to be completely honest, as an industry in Asia, we are way behind the curve when it comes to data analytics especially given the treasure chests of data we possess. Over the next few years, we will all start to become more familiar with analytic services such as risk tolerance assessments, loss analysis and visualisation and risk finance optimisation.
6. What are you passionate about outside of work?
As all my old RPC friends know, I am sport mad - playing cricket, golf and tennis. Although I promised my family no more Saturdays playing cricket all day when we left Hong Kong!
I am also a keen but very average amateur investor spending time reading and researching around investment opportunities.
7. What were the most valuable lessons you learnt while at RPC that has helped you in your current role?
Without a doubt the importance of looking after your colleagues both from a professional development and mental well-being perspective.
RPC was (and I assume remain) excellent at thinking outside the box when it came to training. Yes the standard sessions around presentation skills etc. took place but there was always something different but very valuable on offer. I specifically recall a concise writing course that I still apply learnings from some 10 years later!
On the mental well-being side, I had a big personal tragedy in my life, and the support from RPC was incredible and I'll always be thankful. I remember ringing James and saying, "I'm ready to come back to work (knowing I wasn’t even close to ready but feeling a duty)", he replied, "No, you're going to take another few weeks off and just do what you need to do. And then, come back when you're actually ready".
The way RPC looks after their employees is real differentiator and is the gold standard for others to try and follow.
8. What is your favourite RPC memory?
I have two actually!
- The Christmas parties were legendary. For a good few years, they were at amazing hotels in the West End. It felt special getting the tux and black tie on and then traveling across London. There was then an after-party at a bar or club. It was always a cracking night.
- The people. The people RPC employ are incredible (every time I see Kate Gregg I say this!). The friendships that I developed at RPC remain strong to this very day. Half our wedding invites comprised RPC past or present employees!
9. What does the future hold for you – if we spoke again in a year, what would you like to have achieved?
As mentioned, the launch of Claim Solutions is a change of direction for claims within Marsh. Therefore, I would like to see Claim Solutions become embedded in our client value proposition in Asia coupled with continued significant revenue growth.
On a personal level, I would like to ensure my family and I have settled into Singapore life as moving a family of 4 during a global pandemic has been a monumental exercise on many levels!