Broking break: And finally

Hidden talent May 2017 - Laura Upton
EPS Photography/Grandstand Media
Pet of the month May 2017 - Ollie

Pet of the month - Ollie

Ollie, part Collie and part Springer Spaniel, belongs to Hayes Parsons MD James Woollam. “He was a stray before we took him in, but he behaves young so we reckon he’s about 18 months to two years old. He likes playing with a ball, sleeping, and meeting other dogs and people.”

My hidden talent - Laura Upton, founder of Brookhurst Risk Solutions

Hidden talent May 2017 - Laura Upton
EPS Photography/Grandstand Media

I have thoroughly enjoyed my career in insurance so far, but my main passion in life aside my family is showjumping. My parents were both equestrians. When I left school I was told if I wanted to compete my horse I had to get a job to pay for it and that is how my career in insurance started.

I think I was riding horses before I could walk. I was in The Pony Club Showjumping and Eventing teams with numerous ponies until I was about 15. As time went on I had various different horses which I competed in senior British showjumping competitions.

I then met up with my trainer, John Bunyan, and started riding his horses, which is where I met my horse of a lifetime Rockabye Baby. She was a very novice horse when I started but we have achieved so much in the last two years, including qualifying for the Horse of the Year Show at Birmingham NEC in 2016. As first timers we were proud to achieve sixth place and hope to get there in 2017.

I started my business three years ago and it has an equestrian insurance arm. When I am competing or visiting show centres it is all in the name of networking!

Ola Jacob Raji

Why I chose insurance - Ola Jacob Raji, Arthur J Gallagher

Having always wanted to work in business and finance, I’ll admit my original plan saw insurance earmarked only for experience before moving into investment banking. But working within the industry changed all that. Insurance turned out to be the hidden gem of the financial world, a business where creativity combined with technical capability is rewarded. Its diversity means there’s a specialism for everyone to align their interests to and in many ways it’s a blank canvas ready for the right idea or innovation — you can come in and shape the insurance of tomorrow. It also remains a business that’s all about people, relationships and professional integrity. That counts.

On the spot

Suzy Middleton

SEIB’s Suzy Middleton on Beatrix Potter, pandas and glasses of milk

▶ My favourite book is …

…I have a three-year-old and a one-year-old so my daily reading favourites are Peter Rabbit and other Beatrix Potter books, fairy tales – particularly Rapunzel – and Calm down Boris (an interesting book with a puppet with mad hair!) 

▶ When I was a child I wanted to be a…

…a commercial airline pilot, my hopes were dashed very early on by the optician who explained to me that I didn’t have 20/20 vision. I am sure that doesn’t apply now! My alternative career was to be a vet to look after pandas but I hated blood and guts and the thought of six years studying rather put me off

▶ The funniest person in insurance is…

…there have been a few characters that are probably no longer with us, these were in my earlier days of trading when broking involved tracking down an underwriter in the public house they frequented

▶ The three foods I could not live without are…

…steak, lobster and – I know it’s not food but it is as good as – a glass of milk

▶ My dream job would be…

…very cheesy, but I have it

▶ My best moment in insurance (so far) was…

…although there have been some great highs over the last 25 years, passing my fellowship and being promoted to the board. 

Suzy Middleton, commercial director, SEIB


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