Name: Ian Stewart 

Company role: Insurance Director 

Favourite quote or saying: Keep calm and carry on. 


Hi Ian, thanks for squeezing us in at this busy time of year! Tell us a little bit about you. What’s your background, and what do you do at Cherry Godfrey? 


I am the Insurance Director looking after the Guernsey Insurance division of Cherry Godfrey. I have been in this role for just over a year (having spent the previous 20 years with Rossborough). 

I moved to Guernsey 15 years ago – before this I spent seven years in Jersey. I first moved to the Channel Islands while working for General Accident as an underwriter. 


So, here’s the key question: which island do you prefer, Guernsey or Jersey? Just kidding! We won’t make you answer that. Instead, what was your first job, and what did you learn from it? 


I left school halfway through my A-Levels as I wanted to earn some money. I put on a suit and spent days visiting various offices in Plymouth to ask if they had any vacancies.  Eventually it paid off: I got a job as a post boy at Legal & General Insurance. Within a month a vacancy came up in the commercial department as a trainee underwriter, which I successfully applied for - and I haven’t looked back! 40 years later and I am still in the same industry…  

What I learnt from my first job was this: the amount I could earn - and the speed in which I could progress - was directly related to the amount of work I put in!     


What’s the biggest challenge you’ve ever faced at work – and how did you overcome it? 


I have often faced the challenge of needing to place cover for complicated and claims-challenged risks. This has been made more difficult recently (largely due to the hard market environment we find ourselves in, with market capacity reducing and underwriters “cherry-picking” risks).    

Effort and perseverance pay off, though; and it’s a great feeling when you succeed in placing the cover. 


What values or skills have been the most important to you, both personally and professionally? 

I have been fortunate enough to hold a variety of different jobs in the insurance industry: underwriter, sales executive, broker, systems analyst and computer programmer (not to mention post boy!) to name a few. As a result, I understand and appreciate insurance risks from different viewpoints.   


If you had to choose one problem to fix – something that people in your industry/niche commonly face – what would it be? 


Service! The amount of time we spend each day chasing for responses is extremely frustrating, especially as we endeavour to deliver excellent service to our customers.   


What do you love about Cherry Godfrey? 


First, it is so refreshing to work somewhere where decisions can be made quickly and decisively. The Directors meet regularly and make changes pertinent to the way the business is performing. It’s great that what we decide today will immediately impact what happens tomorrow!   

Second, the culture of delivering outstanding customer service. I have seen so many examples over the past year of people going “over and above” to make sure the customer is happy. That same spirit is also evident in the way the staff support one other and help each other out. It makes for a great working atmosphere!  


That’s really inspiring to hear – thank you, Ian. Now, onto the ‘easy’ stuff: top three podcasts or books? 


Has to be books! My top three are: The Dan Calder trilogy, which was written by my brother-in-law, Ian Austin (The Agency, The Second Grave and Frozen Summer); Argyle Classics: â€¯Memorable Moments in Plymouth Argyle's League and Cup History by Harley Lawler; and Papillon by Henri Charrière. 


Wow! What an interesting and varied list. Okay, final question: what do you enjoy doing when you are not working? 


I’m learning to play the drums! I am currently studying for my Grade 6 exam so I am practicing hard. This is something I have always wanted to do; I don’t know why I left it to my mid-fifties to start lessons. I do get some strange looks from the other students at the music school when they realise I am not there to pick someone up, though…! 

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