Cover stories

Meet the expert: Wendy Cotton, Product Manager - Social Welfare

Wendy joined Markel 23 years ago as office junior and having spent time working with admin, claims and marketing settled into an underwriting role in 2003. In 2012 she was appointed Product Manager for the Social Welfare line of business.

Q. Wendy, you must have seen a lot of changes in the last 23 years?

Wendy: Yes, the UK Retail team has grown considerably since 1992 from a team of five operating out of one office in Leeds to over 60 staff operating from four locations across the UK. Our product range has been strengthened throughout this time offering niche products such as Social Welfare and more recently Biomedical and Life Sciences. The benefit of being involved in our business for such a long time is that it gives me a broad understanding of how each department operates and I can appreciate how hard each department works to contribute their bit to the business to make it operate smoothly.

Q. How do you ensure your social welfare products are market-leading?

Wendy: This is a constant process involving our own staff as well as gaining feedback from our business partners. It’s important to us that we offer the best cover we can along with thought out and useful additional benefits. I work closely with a variety of business units including underwriting, claims and marketing to ensure we develop customer focused solutions.

Q. What do you think are Markel's greatest strengths in the social welfare field?

Wendy: The time we take to appreciate and understand the complexities of our clients and the exposures they face serves us very well and provides a market leading solution in response, which is not just limited to an insurance contract but the additional benefits that go with it and efficient service we provide. Our underwriters are encouraged to visit clients face to face and this brings benefits from a relationship perspective as well as furthering their knowledge and experience in the sector.

Q. How do you help the team to share their knowledge with brokers?

Wendy: I work closely with our service providers to ensure we are kept up to date with changes in the care, charity and health sectors. When legislation or regulatory changes occur I am responsible for ensuring our underwriting teams are aware of the changes, know what it is and can speak confidently about it to our business partners and clients. Keeping a close eye on incoming claims is also a good way of developing knowledge as we learn from the situations our clients find themselves in.

Q. What new developments are you working on in 2016?

Wendy: In response to broker feedback we have recently enhanced our not-for-profit product. The UK charity and not for profit sector continues to flourish and as an experienced insurer we understand how important it can be for organisations to have the right cover in place. We have widened the scope of our existing not-for-profit policy, providing a comprehensive solution to respond to the insurance needs this sector requires.

Q. Finally, can you tell us something about your hobbies?

Wendy: I love to travel more than anything, preferably to places where the sun shines. So when I'm not engaged in planning my next trip, I'm generally out running to make sure I stay in good enough shape to enjoy the beach.