The Man From Dundee: It’s All Risk, Resilience, & Reputation

NAME: John McLaren-Stewart

YOUR BUSINESS: AT&A Corporate Insurance Brokers

YOUR TITLE IN THAT BUSINESS: Managing Director

WHEN DID THE BUSINESS LAUNCH? 2010

ELEVATOR PITCH – TELL US WHAT YOU AND YOUR BUSINESS DOES IN A NUTSHELL:

We protect the cash flow, balance sheet, business reputation and directors personal assets against risk.

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS YOUR BUSINESS’S USP OVER YOUR PEERS?

International risk capability, highly experienced in complex business risk, genuine empathy with entrepreneurs and business leaders, directors lead all client accounts, strong client to client network, specialise totally in business risk.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST BUSINESS CHALLENGE SO FAR?

Keeping our internal staff numbers and operating systems growing at the same pace as our rapid growth. It’s a nice challenge though and one that many of clients who are entrepreneurial businesses that are pushing hard to grow also face.

AND YOUR GREATEST SUCCESS?

We have had many successes over the last few years. As a fairly young business we now have over 600 businesses trusting us to guide them through the (on average) 300 business trading risks they face. Every time a new client joins us we feel really proud.

WHAT DOES THE NEXT 12 MONTHS HAVE IN STORE FOR YOU?

The focus is on clients. We want to add greater value to their experience with us. Its not just about the reassurance of our technical and negotiating skills, its also about positive, helpful interactions that help them grow their own business

AND IN FIVE YEARS TIME YOU’D LIKE THE BUSINESS TO?

…be seen by businesses as the ‘go to’ brand for all corporate insurance.

NATURALLY, YOU WANT TO REACH CUSTOMERS AND SUPPLIERS AND THOSE WHO CAN HELP YOU AND YOUR BUSINESS SUCCEED. WHO MIGHT YOU WANT TO HEAR FROM (TYPES OF SERVICES OR BUSINESSES)?

We work best with those companies that are prepared to be open with us about their business and its activities. We appreciate that they will only open up if they trust us and its out job to create that trust.

Risk is very complex in a modern, global trading environment. Cyber exposures through suppliers & customers, complex contract conditions, supply chain structures, technology impact on trading and business interruption complexity all demonstrate the importance that we work with our clients to get in deep to their risk exposures.

The devil is definitely in the detail on corporate insurance. With each policy having around 24,000 words of legal jargon, companies can be exposed to insurers declining claims. It can be the difference between company survival and failure if that cash flow isn’t protected. Its our job to help our clients do that well.

WHEN YOU FEEL TROUBLED OR ‘BEATEN’ AT ANY STAGE IN BUSINESS LIFE, WHAT’S YOUR SECRET TO RALLYING YOURSELF?

It happens to all business people but we all need to develop Resilience. I think the board at AT&A have all worked hard at that. Personally, a bit of motivational reading usually gets me out of that troubled zone. It has to be something real – stories of businesses or business leaders who have been through tough times and come out the other side with even greater zeal and ambition.

At the moment I’m reading two fascinating strategic stories – Alistair Campbell’s Diaries: The Blair Years (the strategy stuff in here is stimulating) and Good for Money: My Fight to Pay Back America by Bob Benmosche (about the saving of giant insurer AIG after the financial crisis).

I also get motivation from Fortune Magazine and Bloomberg Businessweek magazine.

DO YOU HAVE A MENTOR, OR HAVE YOU USED ONE? IF SO, HOW WAS THAT?

I have two or three. One is a serial FD, the other a former Global CEO. It’s brilliant, they just keep bringing me back on track and motivated.

WHAT’S CHANGING ABOUT YOUR INDUSTRY THAT MAKES IT SUCH A GOOD SPACE TO BE IN?

Global economic and political change, the introduction of technology to all businesses processes including manufacturing, the complexity of cyber risk, terrorism, changing weather patterns and the growing ambition of entrepreneurs make the risk space and challenging and invigorating place to be.

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO SOMEONE WANTING TO ENTER YOUR INDUSTRY SPACE?

Grab the opportunity, learn well, work hard, understand the business world not just the insurance world and you will have a really interesting career.

THE PLUG BIT:

@ataib – where we tweet news, info and client updates

Www.ataib.co.uk – where you can sign up for our newsletters, blogs and product info/access your client documentation

Jms@ataib.co.uk – where you can drop me a line

AND NOW THE SLIGHTLY LESS CORPORATE BIT:

BEST THING ABOUT EAST ANGLIA: Do I feel the rumblings of greater ambition here? Just a feeling that the region is awakening to its real potential in that golden square between London, Cambridge, Norwich and Ipswich

YOURSELF IN THREE WORDS:

Hard-working, passionate, likeable (maybe?!)

 

UNFULFILLED AMBITION: visits to more of the world’s great cities

FANTASY DINNER PARTY GUESTS: Ernest Hemingway, Margret Thatcher, Napoleon, Warren Buffett, George Orwell

WHERE YOU LIVE, WHERE YOU’RE ORIGINALLY FROM (AND WHAT BROUGHT YOU HERE), HOW OLD YOU ARE, WHO YOU LIVE WITH:

Cambridge, Dundee, job hunting/ambition, older, wife & two dogs, (3 kids living in Bristol, Bath and Exeter at the moment)

2017-08-23T17:04:14+00:00

About the Author:

Deborah Watson is an award winning journalist and PR professional whose career has been spent storytelling about the people, the passion and the personalities behind businesses and causes. She's the founder of Lexia Media Ltd (a boutique PR consultancy), the creator of EA-Today, and of Charity Hub East. Deborah actively encourages contact from those seeking PR support, media relations strategy, CSR partnership planning, and communication consultancy. She is a director on the board of Home-Start in Suffolk.