Coffee with… Matthew Barker

Matthew Barker is our new Senior Broker at Romero Insurance Brokers.

Matthew is an experienced leader in the sector, and comes to us from Gallagher. Matthew has already found his feet here and is ready to get stuck in.

We take some time to learn more about Matthew, his background, experience and what he’s passionate about outside of the office.

How did you fall into insurance?

Like everybody else, I fell into insurance when I was 18 years old, I got a job at an insurance company because it was a good opportunity at that time, back then it was quite difficult to get meaningful work, it was meant to be temporary. I worked for Entertainment & Leisure, based at Thorpe Underwood, near York, I stayed there for around 2 years.

After this I moved over to insurance broking, my first job real job at a brokers was in York, working for a then well know local broker called Dennison’s, this was the true start of my insurance career at the age of 20.

Where were you working before coming to Romero?

I’ve had various employers over the years, I spent a lot of my career working for Giles and Oval, this took me to Bristol, where I lived for 5 years, a fantastic city and great place to live.

I left Bristol and moved back to Yorkshire in 2011 while working for Giles. Both Giles and Oval were then bought by Gallagher. Whilst working for Gallagher in Wakefield, I was given the opportunity to get involved in some project work for the Business Operations Team to help manage change resulting from the acquisition. Eventually this part-time role moved to full-time, I was tasked with managing business change across the Yorkshire Region.

How different do your duties look compared to those of your previous role?

Typically, a day in my previous role would be reporting on elements of branch performance, compiling management information for the branches in the region, ranging from file audits to debt and finance management, reporting to both regional and national management teams. This role involved regular visits to other branches around the country to work with colleagues and the national Business Operations Team, I also had the opportunity to visit the offshoring facility in Pune, India.

How has the industry changed in your years of working?

When I first started working in insurance there was the odd computer in the corner somewhere that people shared, now obviously it’s entirely different. In terms of the working environment and the day-to-day role, it’s changed drastically. With the introduction of IT platforms, more regulation and more accountability – overall, particularly for brokers, it’s definitely changed for the better.

For example, computer generated motor quotes would need to be checked manually, it sounds ridiculous now – how would you check a motor quote, there were guides to do this using a points based system, thankfully, that’s no longer the case.

How important is the changing age demographic in the insurance sector?

Generally speaking, in my experience, the demographic in our industry tends to be people over 30, my previous employer did struggle to attract younger people to the business.

My impression of Romero insurance Brokers is that this is quite different, there are more younger people, a much more balanced demographic, I also think having a training manager is really key for Romero’s. The availability of training is a strong point and I think will help people get involved in the industry.

What has struck you about the environment at the Romero group?

I’ve had a great introduction to working at Romero Insurance, the training has been thorough and helpful.

What do you like to do outside of work?

Outside of work I’m a busy person, I’m helping refurb a friends’ house at the moment, which is taking much longer than we ever anticipated, but we have got this far so have to see it through now. I like gardening, which is a great way to switch off and unwind, I spend a lot of time with my friends going to events up and down the country and abroad. A year ago I rescued an English Bulldog, I work with a charity that rescues English Bulldogs, I used to foster other dogs for them until adopting this one, the charity is Geordie Bullies.

My rescue dog, Millie, was classed as a difficult adoption when she came to me, she’d had a bad start and could be very unpredictable, she was very wound up. I left her to her thoughts for the first 24 hours, just making sure she had what she needed, she eventually approached me and we have been the best of friends ever since.

Thank you to Matthew for your time, we look forward to seeing what you can achieve with us, and also meeting Millie.

Important Update for Motor & Fleet Policy Holders