Industry Insights with Denise Morris

1. Can you provide us with an overview on your background and how you got into Recruitment?

I have worked within the Insurance sector for 30 years, having initially worked as an Office Manager for a Software house that also had a Recruitment division.  I have worked exclusively in recruitment Insurance for over 25 years covering all lines of Insurance. I am currently responsible for driving new business in the General Insurance vertical.

2. What do you enjoy most about specialising in the General Insurance Market?

I appreciate being able to build long term relationships and find it rewarding that I have placed people several times throughout their career. Through the knowledge and market intelligence I have built due to repeat business in a narrow vertical, I have the ability to provide value added service, i.e. competitor analysis, real time salary/contract market rates and market insights.  

I also enjoy the variety of working with new UK entrants, software start ups, as well as large scale global insurance organisations. I am proud of the fact I have helped several companies enter new geographies, recruiting Country Managers, C-level staff as well as introduce Solutions Providers and Services.

3. What is your favourite thing about being a GI Practice Lead at Highams?

I enjoy the variety of tasks, from presenting to senior Executives at Insurance organisations, remaining down in the detail and resourcing regularly which enables me to keep in close contact with my network and attending Insurance market conferences. 

4. What’s the most exciting thing about hiring candidates for jobs within the General Insurance?

Continuing to build my network to secure rare skills for my clients and keeping my market intelligence up-to-date to beat my competition. 

5. What would you say a typical day looks like within your job role?

A day in recruitment is never the same, but will typically include:

  • New business development.
  • Management of strategic key accounts.
  • Building my market intelligence by reading industry press releases, LinkedIn posts and speaking to people within my network.
  • Sourcing, screening and shortlisting candidates to submit to my clients.
  • Providing market advice and insights to my clients.
  • Updating my knowledge on recent software /insurance platform sales.
  • Client meetings/presentations for new business development. 

6. What would you say are the biggest challenges you have had to overcome in your role?

Evolving our recruitment proposition/services for the changing and varied recruitment models and developing the ability to pitch to a wide variety of client managers, ie. CIO/CEO/CTO to Account Managers for RPO suppliers at large clients. 

7. What advice have you been given throughout the company that has helped you achieve your personal goals?

Tenacity, hard work and resilience – the only way to achieve great results.

8. What are the key skills that you think you need to be a successful consultant?

These are my top three skills:

Personable - Ability to get people to be open and trust you.

Tenacity- use all tools to secure the best candidates for the client.

Honety and Integrity- be authentic.

9. What types of transformation programmes are your clients currently undertaking?

Many of my clients are completing enterprise wide transformation programmes , driving for excellence in the areas of:

  • Digital - especially in the areas of Customer engagement and self-service.
  • Financial and pricing - investing in technology for pricing and rating solutions.
  • Movement to Cloud solutions.

10.What are some of the challenges your clients are facing?

Shrinking Markets- With the shrinking markets in Retail Insurance, clients need to drive forward further cost savings whilst providing improved services to the customer.  Further investment in Cloud computing and digital solutions provide speed, flexibility and scalability.

Talent Skills shortage- A shortage in niche skills particularly in the areas of Insurance policy package solutions experience (Duck Creek, Guidewire) as well as Pricing Consultants, particularly in the areas of Earnix and Radar bring challenges to project delivery.   Emerging markets for Robotic process automation and A.I are another area of challenge.

Product Development- Large Insurers need to modernise legacy technology in order to improve lead times for new product launches as well as be able to track trends and results.

11.What would be your words of wisdom for someone who is looking to get into the Recruitment Industry?

At the beginning you have to work hard, invest time and listen, be willing to make mistakes and own them. As you gain experience, keep developing your market intelligence and network. Regardless of how long you have worked in recruitment you need to have the drive to succeed and be self motivated. Never give up!

Connect with @Denise Morris and follow @highamsrecruitment on LinkedIn.