All Together Better People - Gareth Roberts

In the latest of our series "All Together Better People", we meet Gareth Roberts of Sutton Winson.

Gareth has recently taken over the role of MD and also now stepped onto the UNA Board.

Gareth, tell us a bit about your career to date and how the world of insurance has altered since you started out?

I was very lucky to join Commercial Union Management Training Programme straight from school. I hung onto the coat tails of the graduate cohort and benefited from incredible training which included regular courses hosted around the UK.  By 24, I had moved from Cardiff to Bristol and landed in Maidstone as Senior Fleet and Accident U/W.  After a very enjoyable couple of years, I then moved into broking, attracted by providing advice to clients.

In my 37 years (ouch), the fundamentals of insurance have not changed. As experts we use our knowledge to build trust and respect between the insurer, broker and client. The broker expertise allows them to understand and assist the client to manage and mitigate their risks which are transposed into words, which an underwriter trusts to assess the correct premium and provide the appropriate cover. The biggest changes since I started are technology and geographical reach making it far easier to service clients out of your local area. The speed of communication is now immediate and whilst digital interaction works, the relationships are strengthened by personal interaction and spoken words!! AI will enhance our access to data and increase speed and efficiency but without knowledge and expertise the end customer will not receive advice to make the right decisions.

You’ve been at Sutton Winson for nearly 5 years now, tell us why it’s such a great place to work?

SW is a fantastic place to work and this down to the people and strong values and culture which we live and breathe. Our recent brand refresh reminded us that we care about our people, service, independence and are joined up, working with integrity at all times. Overlaying this a focus on having fun.

Sutton Winson are founding UNA Members.  How has Membership of the Alliance assisted and supported the business over that time?

Within UNA there is a wealth of experience and the honest and varied perspectives on subjects is invaluable.  Members have similar Learning and Development needs and by combining delivery, especially that delivered by UNAversity we are able to tailor to the combined requirements of all.

The shared experience and knowledge of the support groups allow us to respond to market challenges at a much higher level with confidence that it is the correct way to respond and behave. 

Above all, over many years we have developed great relationships, founded on trust and respect, doing the right thing by our people, clients and insurers.

You’ve now also joined the UNA People Development Group, how do you envisage shaping and influencing the group during your tenure?

My initial priority is to get to know the people in the group and understand where their respective businesses need support from UNA.

I have been lucky enough to be involved in delivering a lot of training over the years and in addition to enjoying trying to make a difference, see the impact that well structured and consistent Learning & Development programmes can make to individuals, teams and companies. UNA brokers are proud to invest in their people and I would like us to continue to lead the way by offering a mix of training which is interesting, relevant and valued.