Escape of water is one of the most common causes of domestic
property claims. Leakages take no prisoners; flood water damages anything in
its path and severe leaks can cause hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of
It’s a real concern for many of our private and high net
worth clients, who often have unoccupied second homes or outbuildings on their
land, where leakages can go undiscovered for large periods of time. Couple that
with the higher than usual value of items within these properties, and you see
the scale of the issue.
In fact, according to the latest report from insurer,
Zurich, the cost of claims arising from Escape of Water jumped by more than
£100m (£529m to £654m) in the last three years.
Because it’s such a costly risk, and proper risk management
could save our clients a large amount of time and money, we asked our head of
Private Clients, Jeff Gibson, for his thoughts on preventing Escape of Water.
Jeff gave us five points to think about when managing and
covering the risk.
Speak to the experts
when organising cover
Underinsurance is a real concern for many, especially when the
value of items belonging to High Net Worth clients can fluctuate so often. It’s
vital that when you speak to a broker to arrange cover, they’re experienced
enough to understand value issues, only associated with High Net Worth clients,
like the value of antiques, the cost of replacing extensive smart home
Understand the layout
of your property
A very common cause of leakage is faulty pipework, or
incorrect plumbing/building/repair work. Understanding the layout of your
property gives you insight into where leakages are more likely to occur i.e.
where the work you carry out is likely to affect any existing pipework.
Keep your empty
Aside from accidental damage from maintenance or building
work, another common cause of Escape of Water is from burst pipers during the
winter months. Many Summer or Holiday Homes’ will stay unoccupied for up to 8
months, and with temperatures dropping more and more over winter, this can
cause a problem. To help manage this
risk, organise someone who lives near the property to regularly turn the
heating on for a short period of time and turn different taps on to let water
run through the pipes. We’d also advise that you keep the central heating on at
least 10oc when the property is unoccupied.
Use smart technology
In this day and age, there are countless versions of smart
technology designed to detect water leaks and to ensure that water is flowing
as it should through all pipes in the property. Many of these link in to
existing smart home technology that you may already have in your home. If you’d
like more advice on which technology is most suitable, you can contact the Private
Clients team here at Romero.
values regularly and speak to your insurance broker
It may not be a risk prevention method, but it will
certainly help you if you do need to make a claim. If you don’t record property
value regularly, you could be left underinsured and counting the cost of your
inactivity. Again, it’s vital that if you do work on your property that will
increase its value, or any of the items in your house regularly fluctuate, that
you speak to your broker to understand how this will affect your cover and
So there’s a snapshot view of preventing the ‘Escape of
Water’ risk, but our Private Client team are ready and waiting to give you a
far more extensive explanation of the risk and its preventative measures.
Contact us today to speak to one of our expert colleagues.
With International Women’s Day 2019 upon us, we took some
time out to take stock of our business, industry and country as a whole, to
look at how we can champion this year’s campaign of #BalanceForBetter.
In the week that reports showed Yorkshire as the third worst
county in the UK for gender equality in employment, it’s a fitting time to look
at how we’re performing, and how things can be improved around us.
The insurance industry as a whole also trails in
representation of women in senior roles, with women representing only 27% of
executive teams and 39% of management roles as reported by the Association of
Whilst the number of women entering the industry is growing,
the proportion reaching senior positions still lags behind their male
championed at Romero
We’re proud to say that our gender diversity currently sits
at 55% male and 45% female – a balance that we’ve achieved by recognising and
promoting the hard work put in by everyone at our business, regardless of
gender or background.
With women sitting in a number of senior level roles across
the entire business, we took some time out to chat to a handful of them to get
their insight into what it means to be a woman in this industry, and the advice
they’d give to the next generation.
We spoke to Victoria Romero-Trigo (Director), Sue Barson (Associate Director), Sharon Elms (Claims Manager) and Joanna Pullan (Director), and asked them a number of questions. This is what they had to say:
Tell us why you chose
or how you ended up working in insurance?
VRT: I didn’t actually
choose to be in insurance – I started working in the business to support my
brother Justin who founded the company. I began in an admin role and the rest
is history! I became a director of the business when I was 21 with more
responsibilities, and now I’m a director of a number of insurance businesses
across the group.
SB: To be
perfectly honest, I sort of fell into it. I started life working for a tarmac
business, which was a very male dominated industry, and when leaving there I
had the opportunity to go into insurance through a friend, and it’s one of
those things that when you’re in insurance, you seem to stay in insurance. And
here I am 33 years later, I love it and I’ve never left!
SE: I came into
insurance straight from school working for a small broker, and I just carried
on from there! I started there and kept going and now I wouldn’t change it for
the world. I find it so interesting and love what I do.
JP: Like a lot of
people I think, I found myself landing in insurance, but after 19 years of
working here at Romero, I’ve never looked back. I thoroughly enjoy working in
the industry and here as a business.
What did you find as
the biggest challenge breaking into a senior role, and what challenges have you
faced since achieving it?
VRT: I’ve never
faced any gender discrimination at Romero. We’re a really equal opportunity led
business, and the main challenges I face are the ones I put on myself every day
to be the best I can. The pressure comes from within to be my best and when we
deliver results like we do, growing double digits each year to have the
pressure to continue this is quite large but that’s the challenge I thrive on.
SB: I was really
lucky, in that I was approached to go into my senior position and given the
opportunity to step up, but once I got into the role, that’s when the hard work
starts. Demonstrating that you’re the right person for the role and performing,
but I am really grateful that I had the opportunity from someone who had faith
in me to do it.
Since I’ve been at Romero, I’ve been taken seriously from
the very beginning. You sometimes have it in the back of your mind the concern
that people might not take you as seriously because you’re a woman, but I’ve
never experienced that here and I’ve always had full support from the
directors, right through to my own line manager and my team. I’ve never felt
prejudiced against here and being a woman isn’t a stigma at Romero.
SE: The biggest
challenges I’ve found in the past is gaining respect from other team members.
As you start junior and work up as I did, it can be hard to build and maintain
respect. Whilst this applies to both men and women, there are some people I’ve
come across in my past that are more difficult to win around because I’m a
woman. But thankfully, these occasions are few and far between, and by working
hard and being open and honest, I think we’ve been able to overcome that and
I’m pleased to say now here at Romero I don’t experience this as a challenge.
It’s traditionally a man’s industry, so it can be a challenge for the ‘old
guard’ to accept a woman in the position I’m in, but I think I’ve been able to
overcome this and earn their respect.
Since being at Romero though, I haven’t had any issues
related to being a woman. I’ve had the backing of my line manager, and people
across the business and I feel like I’ve not had the challenges that some women
face in other places. I’m lucky that this is a great place to work.
JP: As I’ve
worked through different roles, probably one of the biggest challenges was
working in a very male oriented environment when I was exec-ing, but
fortunately because Romero has always been really supportive, and challenged me
to progress and grow, they’ve driven me to be in this senior role because of my
achievements and I’m really grateful for that and enjoy the challenge.
I’ve recently been promoted and am just finding my feet in the new position, but thankfully I haven’t found that being a woman has been a barrier to me. The company is very supportive in putting women into senior roles, and I’m really enjoying taking on this new opportunity and seeing what it brings.
Who has inspired you
in your career?
VRT: My family
have inspired me the most. Both my parents worked exceptionally hard, and my
brothers and I always had jobs since we were really young and I’ve always
looked up to them. We all try to do our best every day and I’m just following
in their footsteps.
SB: I’d say the
people who have inspired me in my career have definitely been the people who
I’ve worked for. I’ve had two really stand out line managers, one at my
previous employer and now my current boss at Romero, Victoria. And these two
people are both ladies. They’ve been inspiring, and have been a great support
and role model to me, and I’ve always aspired to work to their standards and
present myself as well as they do.
SE: The person
that’s inspired me most in my career is Jody, my manager here at Romero. They
have inspired me to have confidence in myself, supporting me to know I’m always
making the right decision, and to help build me to the place I am at today
having complete faith in me. And I aspire to be like them in my work.
JP: There have
been a few people who have inspired me. From a female perspective, I’ve always
found Karen Brady really inspiring as she’s very motivational as far as women
in business are concerned alongside her work ethic. She’s a great person to
inspire you and has achieved so much, that it makes you realise that there’s no
reason you can’t be equally as successful. As far as within Romero, I’d say
Justin our founder and CEO has inspired me to push on. Working with him for 19
years and him always encouraging me to reach my limits and succeed to be
involved in a winning team is major inspiration.
What do you find most
rewarding about your role?
No day is the same, and being able to direct the businesses for the better is a
great feeling. Being part of an award winning organisation and seeing our staff
succeed around me is so rewarding, and knowing the teams around me are growing
and performing is great.
SB: Working to
the best of your ability, and getting positive feedback from the senior team
and my staff is so important, alongside having a happy team around me putting
out great results is really rewarding.
satisfaction and providing an excellent service to clients. I like to think I’m
approachable for my staff, and knowing my staff are happy in their work and are
coping and don’t have any worries, makes me happy in my role. If they have no
stresses and strains, then neither do I and that’s a great environment for us
all to be in.
JP: I find positive feedback really rewarding. Between departments, and between teams. The fact that the team runs well and creates a positive environment is fantastic.
Do you think there
are any stereotypes about women in senior roles, and what effect do you think
this has on women aspiring to reach them?
VRT: Generally I
think the stereotype is positive, in that women are doers, get things done and
are organised. Certainly the women in senior roles in our business are all
these things and so much more.
SB: I think
sometimes the stereotype is that women have to be really hard to survive, but I
don’t think that’s necessarily the case. I think you should just be yourself,
and if you’re a dedicated, hardworking person I think you will get to where you
want to be, without needing to be a typical stereotype. I don’t think that
should come into it, and I certainly know that that’s not something I or my
female colleagues around me have had to worry about here at Romero.
thankfully never really come across any stereotypes in the places I’ve worked
or the people I’ve worked with, so I think that is a real positive that
hopefully these stereotypes are becoming a thing of the past!
possibly are, but talking about Romero I don’t feel there’s any gender
difference. Men and women are both equally encouraged to do well, it all
depends on your work ethic. If you’re motivated and want to succeed, that’s
what’s important, not your gender. Historically, I think the industry has been
known as a bit of a man’s world, but times are changing now and I think that’s
the case with businesses on the whole. Women are pulling through and achieving
those senior positions.
What’s the most
important piece of advice you’d give to women thinking of entering this
VRT: Be prepared
for hard work. Keep developing yourself and don’t be afraid to speak up and
question others even if they are in senior positions. I think it helps people
to question the way we do things and constantly evolve.
SB: I’d just say
go into the career of your choice. Work hard, be dedicated and hopefully
achieve equal pay which I’m glad to see is more widely in the spotlight at the
moment. But ultimately, just go for it, because you’re worth it.
SE: The best
piece of advice I can give is work hard, be confident, and strive to be the
best you can be. And if you do that you’ll go far. Have faith in yourself that
you can do it, and if you do that you will succeed in the industry.
JP: My advice would be try to do all you can to succeed. There are no barriers and no reasons why you can’t achieve your goals. If you work hard and are confident in what you do, the sky’s the limit and you can achieve what you want to achieve.
How important is it
for women to lift each other up and support each other, and what does it mean
VRT: It’s very
important, but I think it’s not just about women. It’s about everybody male or
female. We’re all equal and part of the same team here and all support each
other. You’ve got to all work towards a common goal and that unity is what I
think is most important.
SB: I do, but
it’s always been a very natural thing in our environment. It already happens
and we do all support each other. It’s not forced, it just is something that
naturally happens and that’s the way it should be. I’m very comfortable that we
all support each other not necessarily just because we’re ladies, but because
we all are working towards the same thing, and help each other as best we can.
SE: I think women
are very different to men in their roles. I think women can be more
approachable and sympathetic to other women. It’s nice to have people around
you who you can be open with, and who can be open with you to support each
other. Whether people have work or personal issues, it’s important that they
can speak to someone who can understand them and their point of view, which
makes it easier to help resolve those issues and I think as a woman supporting
other women I can see the benefit of this. Being able to talk to someone who
has been through the same thing as you is really powerful and makes it easier
JP: It is really
important for women to support each other. The advantage we have here is there
are quite a lot of women in senior roles so there’s always a referral point if
you need it. Women do well supporting each other, particularly when the
industry can be male oriented, so it is encouraging that you have the comfort
of other women to refer to if necessary when decisions are being made.
Women’s Day, what is the most important message you’d give to young women
thinking about their careers?
VRT: Don’t think
that you have to go down the traditional route of university. I personally
didn’t, and came into insurance straight out of college. I always wanted to be
a barrister, and by working, that enabled me to do my degree in law part time,
but actually by the end of my degree I realised I didn’t want to be a barrister
any longer, and saw that what I was doing was what I really loved. So don’t
just think that the conventional way is always the right way. Get into work
early, and figure out what you really want to do, and if you want to go on to
do qualifications, perhaps do it later in life when you truly know what you
want to do.
difficult when you’re young to know what you really want to do, so it’s
important to keep an open mind, and if you do make a decision that isn’t for
you, don’t be afraid to change your mind and go down a different career path.
But at the end of the day, old fashioned values count for everything.
Dedication, hard work, timekeeping, and just making sure you’re doing something
you REALLY want to do. It shouldn’t come into it whether you’re a woman or not.
Whether you want to be in insurance, an engineer, a firefighter or any other
career, nothing should hold you back. Just go for it!
SE: I’ve actually
recently had a conversation with a young woman coming in to our industry, and I
just told her to have confidence in herself, work hard and if you put your mind
to it, you can be the best you can be in the industry. But it’s as simple as be
dedicated to working hard, expand your knowledge and always learn, and if you
continue to do that, you’ll grow as a person and achieve.
JP: What I’d say
is don’t rule anything out. There’s nothing that can’t be achieved. Be 100%
confident in yourself, and give everything you do 100% effort and the sky’s
your limit. You can do whatever you put your mind to, so be confident enough to
Don’t feel you’re on your own. You’re not isolated – there’s
always someone you can turn to for advice. Here at Romero women are thought of
equally to men, so take that and be confident and you’re bound to succeed.
To find out more about Romero, or to join our exciting,
growing team, visit us and get in touch at romeroinsurance.co.uk.
We know from talking to our clients, that one of the things they like most about working with Romero’s is the people. They appreciate our experience, expertise and the dedication we show on every account.
So in a new series on the Romero blog, we’re going to help you get to know our staff a little better.
And we’re going to start with our brand new(ish) Head of Brand and Marketing, Ollie Calvert!
Ollie joined Romero two months ago, so this seems like the perfect opportunity to catch up with him, ask him how things are going and find out what makes him tick.
Q. Hi Ollie, how are you enjoying your time at Romero so far?
It’s been great. I can’t believe two months have passed already. I’ve loved the freedom the role has given me to build something from the ground up and do some really exciting things. Being able to build the role from scratch and have the opportunity to take the reins to develop and grow the brand is the ideal! What I’ve been really impressed with is the passion that everyone has for what they’re doing, and it’s absolutely contagious.
Q. What’s been your favourite thing about being here?
Hands down it’s the people. It’s amazed me that even in a business this size, everyone is personable, friendly and welcoming. I’ve not felt like the ‘new kid’, and it’s been great to have the support from the whole team from the word go. Everyone I’ve spoken to is so bought in to the philosophy that the whole business has, and when I’ve caught up with clients they clearly feel the love as well. Hearing them talk positively about the business, and reading some of the testimonials we have has been really inspiring and just shows the importance of what we do to real people’s lives.
Q. And what have you found most challenging?
With a business of this size,
probably getting to know who everyone is and what they do. It’s a new industry
to me, so I’ve been on a steep but fascinating learning curve. But with time,
and spending periods with each department to get to grips with what they do,
I’ve seen how the whole ecosystem comes together to offer this great service to
our customers. It’s easy to think a business like this could be really
corporate and cold and I thought that may be a challenge, but it’s the complete
opposite here. It’s a people lead business, delivering on behalf of people.
Q. If you had to sum up your role in one sentence, what would it be?
Helping everyone in the business
put our best face forward. Making sure that any way the world interacts with us
is the best, most motivating and engaging it can be.
Q.You’re Head of Brand at Romero. What exactly is ‘brand’ and why is it important?
I may be biased, but brand is one
of the most important weapons in a business’s arsenal. A strong brand, is our
personality. It tells the world what we stand for, who we are, what we do and
how we do it. A brand is what makes us unique and differentiates us from everyone
Think about your favourite car,
the clothes you choose or what phone you pick. Is it because of the specific
horsepower, the material it’s made of or the performance of it’s processor?
Probably not. The reason you’ve chose all those things you live with in your
everyday life is their brand.
It’s something you identify with
on a personal level, and what is really exciting about doing this for a B2B
business, is that the market as a whole hasn’t generally caught up to the value
of a strong brand. Where everyone else talks about product, we’ve got the
chance to show people WHY we do what we do, not just what we do. Every broker
can offer insurance that does a job for you, but only with Romero will you get
the tailored product and personal service that makes you feel part of our
family, and that’s why it’s so exciting to be developing a brand for this
business, with people at its heart.
Q. What has surprised you most about insurance?
How diverse it is. Before you’re
in it, it’s easy to have a one sided view of insurance, and that partly
explains my next answer! But since joining Romero and getting that front line
exposure to what’s involved, it’s absolutely fascinating. The variety of
personalities, and skills that sit just within our four walls is amazing, and
to see how creative lateral thinking and going the extra mile can make a
difference for people is fantastic.
Q. And What would you like to change about insurance?
The perception. I feel like
people view insurance as a dull, tired, old-school industry that’s not very
exciting. And it’s simply not the case. It’s full of vibrant people and
fascinating stories, and insurance is part of protecting everyone’s everyday
life. And that’s really powerful. Far from being boring, it’s what helps save
racing driver’s careers, keeps businesses operating after disasters and
protects people from harm.
Far from being dull, it’s an
exciting industry to be in, and I’d like more people to see that.
Q. Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
Part of the brightest and best
independent broker in the UK, leading a diverse and dynamic team of creative
professionals. That’s the aim! This is clearly a growing business and there’s
so much scope for the future. As someone coming in to build this department
from scratch, I can see so much potential to build a team of people around me
to think differently, do things that no one else in the industry is doing and
to make Romero famous for being the most exciting broker to work with and for.
Q. And what about the company as a whole? Where is Romero in 5 years time?
The number one commercial
independent broker in the UK. With so much of the industry selling out and
consolidating into networks, the power of independence will shine through.
Being able to retain the personal philosophy that everyone at Romero lives and
breathes without any dilution or confusion will be a great power and something
that over time I’m sure will make us unique.
Q. You told us earlier that this is your first foray into insurance. Where did you work previously and what did you do?
I was previously a senior account
handler in an integrated marketing agency. Working across a whole range of
industries and doing all kinds of campaigns. From building a brand strategy for
a growing charity, to launching huge experiential events for a national
broadband company, to building a professional members network for one of the
North West’s leading professional services businesses, it was a really diverse
role that taught me a lot. But I was ready to take all that experience and
channel it into one place to be able to make a real difference to a business,
and that’s what brought me here to Romero.Q
Q. What drives you to succeed?
Without sounding too worthy,
making a difference. As a marketer, we have amazing influence over the world
around us, and the opportunity to use that for good is so important to me.
People live their lives in brands
without even realising it, both at home and at work. And knowing that you’ve
done something that will make a difference in someone’s day is really exciting
and that’s what keeps me going.
And here more than ever before,
that difference you make is really powerful. By being the voice that sways a
business to work with us instead of someone else, and to know that if something
goes wrong in their world that we’ve got their back is an amazing feeling.
Q. So that’s the work bit out of the way. Now to the juicy stuff! What’s your perfect Sunday?
Now this is an easy one. Start
the day early with a big breakfast, a mug of coffee and the newspaper, then
pull on the hiking gear and head out into the hills with the dog, my other half
and friends. A day in the fresh air getting miles under the belt and the buzz
of reaching a summit can’t be beaten! And to finish it all off? Head home for a
few pints of craft ale and cook a killer Sunday roast for everyone before
sitting down in front of the Antiques Roadshow with a glass of red (I know, I’m
old before my time)!
Q. If you were a flavour of crisps, which would you be and why?
Hmm… this is a difficult one. Perhaps
Sea Salt & Black Pepper? Classic and reliable but with a bit of a twist.
Q. What’s your pet hate?
This is easier… Lateness and
slowness. Being stuck behind someone on the pavement who’s dawdling, or people
running late. It’s not hard to be on time and to pick your feet up and just get
where you’re going!
Q. If you were stranded on a desert Island and you could have access to one bit of magic, would it be the magic to take you home or the magic to summon someone to join you?
Another tricky one – I like the idea of the peace and quiet of a desert island, but I think when it came down to it the magic to take me home would win. Life is all about people – family, friends and perhaps more importantly, dogs! And I couldn’t live without them all… so I’d be tapping my heels together because there’s no place like home.
Q. And finally, Why should someone get in touch with you and how should they do it?
Obviously because of my amazing conversation skills and witty repartee. Okay, maybe not. But in all seriousness, we’re here to do things differently as a business. Put our personality forward and have an opinion on the things that matter in ours and our clients and partners worlds. So it’s important for everyone here that we’re part of conversations across the industry to lead the way in showing the world that insurance is a dynamic, and exciting place to be. So I can definitely talk about that! And you can find me on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and email, so… take your pick! I’m always happy to chat.