In Person: David Martin, head of retail management, Zurich UK

David Martin

In Person: David Martin, head of retail management, Zurich UK

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In Person: David Martin, head of retail management, Zurich UK

Zurich Online

Brokers

Zurich's David Martin explains why he made the move from Allianz to Zurich and how brokers helped him take the leap.

The pursuit of professionalism characterises David Martin’s approach to insurance.

In April of this year, Martin made the move to Zurich after 17 years with Allianz to become head of retail management at the insurer’s UK business.

Like many, Bristol-born Martin says that insurance “probably chose me” rather than the other way round.

“I completed my A Levels back in the 80s. The choice was then whether I was going to university or an industry where I could take professional qualifications,” he explains.

“The right opportunity for me was to get technical training with the absolute commitment of doing the chartered insurance exams.”

This early focus on technical proficiency is also evident from teenage Martin’s back-up option to entering the insurance sector – becoming a chartered surveyor.

Starting his career in commercial underwriting at Royal Insurance in 1987, Martin has been a chartered insurer since 1991.

Roles at ITT London & Edinburgh, Aon and Sampo then followed, before joining Allianz as a national broker manager in 2001.

Prior to making the decision to leave Allianz, Martin had most recently been appointed as director of SME and corporate partnerships at the insurer in 2016.

So, why leave?

“I’ve had a very successful career. I’ve done an awful lot of things – ranging from broking all the way to underwriting. This was an opportunity to take all those learnings and combine them under one roof.”

He continues: “Was I out looking for a job? No, I wasn’t. Was it the right opportunity, having met [Zurich UK CEO] Tulsi Naidu and her ambition for the business? Yes, it was.”

I’ve had a very successful career. I’ve done an awful lot of things – ranging from broking all the way to underwriting. This was an opportunity to take all those learnings and combine them under one roof

Martin met with Naidu “on numerous occasions” before deciding to take the role.

Across these meetings, he explains that Naidu “was able to demonstrate the absolute commitment Zurich has to the market, the professionalism, the ability to assess risk, and a real ambition to make things better.”

Having been at Zurich for approximately five months upon meeting Insurance Age, Martin already had some observations on how the insurer operates.

“Zurich has very good capability in writing larger exposures, very good experience in the regional markets in terms of how we technically underwrite, and the breadth of the business is far bigger than I thought.”

He continues: “Zurich is standout in terms of how it treats its people, how it’s able to attract staff and retain staff, and that work-life balance is very important to recognise.”

With the dust from the switchover clearly having settled, Martin is now looking at how he can make his mark at the insurer.

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