Industry Leader Interview – Martin Oldroyd, Managing Director at the Alternative Accommodation Agency Ltd

How did you get to where you are today?

Almost by accident! An off-chance discussion led to a germ of an idea and a proposal which grew into a plan and ultimately the Alternative Accommodation Agency was born. Fortunately, I absolutely love what I do so I just keep on doing it.

 What’s the biggest challenge facing your sector of the industry?

One of the biggest challenges as I see it is helping the process be more effective both for customers and insurers to allow us all to deliver great service each time, every time. I think this applies to ALL suppliers.  With more effective communication we can gain speed and accuracy of information and reduce unnecessary duplication in the process.

How are you and your business dealing with this?

Fortunately, we have a great team and they gather information in a positive manner at the very outset. This allows us to move quickly to the right solution for customers. If we can increase the flow of accurate information across the supply chain the customer will be looked after, the best overall outcome is achieved for everyone through the collective effort. And we should be able to reduce the cost of claims too.

Out of your business achievements, what are you most proud of and why?

Personally, I find that a difficult one to answer not as a consequence of a long list of achievements but because of a natural sense of humility. If I had to express pride, I would say that reading the Google review comments about A3 – praise for the team and the level of service they provide – is hugely gratifying.

What advice would you give to anyone starting out in the industry?

Keep an open mind, remain positive in the face of adversity and above all else believe in your own ability. Also, quite simply, always be nice to people as that often makes a huge difference.

If you could change anything what would you do to make the insurance industry "Better tomorrow”?

In my humble opinion, the industry sometimes loses touch with its customers and at a time when those customers require their insurers the most. We come across customers when they are often overwhelmed by the complexity of the whole claims process. We are sometimes told by policyholders that they have ‘no idea what is going on’ or ‘we are waiting to be told what we should do’. I feel that a ‘back to basics’ approach may be needed with simple, clear communication, advice and support for claimants throughout the cycle of their claim.

What's your top tip for being productive?

Get in to the office super-early. Get as much done as possible before the whole world catches up.

What gadget can’t you live without?

I’m not really a gadget person. Having said that the modern smart phone is such an amazing piece of tech that I don’t think I could function properly without it.

Talent or Perseverance?

My instinctive response is perseverance all day long. But even that takes some talent of sorts so definitely plenty of both. Maybe a 60/40 split.

What do you do to switch off or escape from work?

Family comes first but when my wife and three daughters allow it, I like to sneak off to play golf, usually badly. Having said that I often play with my co-directors who are also my buddies, so work is never totally off the agenda.

Keep an open mind, remain positive in the face of adversity and above all else believe in your own ability. Also, quite simply, always be nice to people as that often makes a huge difference.

Martin Oldroyd


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