Next up in our ‘People behind the tech’ series is Graham Card, Senior Management Consultant. Graham joined WCL in 2014, having previously worked for Willis Towers Watson and Xchanging.
Name: Graham Card
Job title: Senior Management Consultant
1. Can you tell us about your career journey so far?
I began my working life and career aspirations training as an apprentice Toolmaker working for a local engineering company, however I soon came to realise that, for me, life in engineering was likely to be repetitive and unrewarding and I needed a bigger challenge.
So, I left engineering, used my academic qualifications to join financial services, and for almost 4 years worked at the Halifax Building Society (HBS) gaining an ONC in Business Studies. Then in 1981 I made the decision that was to change my life for the better, and I joined Willis Towers Watson, then known as Willis Faber & Dumas (WF&D), as a trainee Ledger Keeper. With WTW I was privileged to enjoy 32 years of new challenges, opportunity and (fortunately) success, and completed my time with them as an Executive Director. In my final years at Willis, I focused specifically on process and application re-design, and led their Ruschlikon engagement and e-Accounting roll-out with Carriers.
In 2013, I began a new chapter began in my career, and for the past 7 years I have used my experiences with Willis to explore new opportunities, initially working as a consultant with Xchanging, and then moving to work with James Willison and the team at WCL. Without doubt, the past 5 years with WCL have been the most rewarding in my career and I consider myself fortunate to have enjoyed a privileged opportunity to share experience and add value. Working with such an inclusive and highly-skilled team is a pleasure.
2. What is an average day in the life of a Management Consultant?
I’m not sure the word ’average’ can be used to describe my role – every day is different and presents new challenges. My overarching role is to focus on client service, and I engage daily with some of our biggest clients to better understand their requirements and to translate these into our Services and Product design. I often joke that age has to have at least some benefits, and for me, it’s the privilege of being able to share experience and knowledge, to be open and even frank where needed, and to influence and nurture great outcomes for both WCL and our clients.
“I enjoy the opportunity to make a difference. This may sound trite but making a difference is, I believe, what most of us aspire to do and to be able to do this in the industry that I love and with people and organisations I respect is undoubtedly both an incentive and a privilege.”
3. What do you enjoy most about your job and why?
I enjoy the opportunity to make a difference. This may sound trite but making a difference is, I believe, what most of us aspire to do and to be able to do this in the industry that I love and with people and organisations I respect is undoubtedly both an incentive and a pleasure. I never tire of the buzz that I get working from with clients, and I am very proud to work with such a capable and ambitious team.
4. Which areas for developing technology do you see as the most important for your business and industry?
My area of expertise lies in the post-bind process where both the technical and transactional aspect of a risk need to be shared, agreed, and processed by all parties with efficiency and speed. While there have undoubtedly been significant improvements in this area, notably initiatives such as Ruschlikon, the ongoing move to data-based processes has been a challenge for many companies and continues to be one of the biggest areas requiring development. Sadly, for many companies, the controls and re-keying work historically required have become the norm, and a technical skill in themselves. Technology has undoubtedly provided fluency and automation to core processes, but in many instances it has not been able to remove the process fault lines that create such re-work in the first place. For that there must be more fundamental change.
So, in terms of developing technology to enable change, I believe we need to think less about technology as a silver-bullet; it’s a means to an end but not an end in itself. Change of any kind is a challenge, especially to established businesses with legacy technologies and systems to overhaul. Consequently, a blend of the right technical solution with the experience and capacity to guide process change is needed if the benefits are to be realised. I would encourage the Insurance industry to seek greater collaboration with technology companies (and vice versa) to develop strategies for the future. And technology companies should think more holistically about the value their solutions provide in the longer term.
5. What is your proudest moment in work or your greatest achievement in your career and why?
Proudest moment would have to be my first managerial appointment. I was something of a ‘late starter’ in terms of my insurance career; less experienced (a little ‘green’ perhaps!) and (frustratingly for some of my colleagues) more ambitious than those around me. I have no doubt many considered me to be a real pain!
From the outset, I worked hard, constantly asking questions and often questioning ‘why’ rather than accepting an answer at face value – I must have driven my trainers mad! My first management role was undoubtedly a defining moment and quickly taught me that to manage people and processes well, you don’t have to have all the answers – you just need to consider your questions carefully and know the right people to ask! This first experience taught me to value the insight of others, to respect their views, and most of all, to listen – the answer to most problems can be found by talking to those who have the difficult job of dealing with the issue, its repercussions and ensuring quality of outcome!
6. Following the acquisition by Zywave what are you most excited about / opportunities to explore.
What I am most excited about is the additional access to, and understanding of, the US insurance market that Zywave can provide. Historically, while we have worked hard and made good progress in the US, gaining a substantial foothold in the Property and Casualty market has proved challenging.
Gaining a better empathy for their culture, improving how we communicate, and promoting solutions in the way they choose to see their problems can only be good. Through their network of US brokers and the experience of their staff, I hope Zywave will provide us with a unique opportunity to both better understand the friction points in US P&C processing, and therefore better recognise where we can add value. Zywave can help ensure we make our value case to the US Market in a way that resonates with them and talks to their problems in the way that they choose to see them.