Industry Leader Interview – Keith Walters, Director for Field Technical Services at Sedgwick

He started his career from school as a trainee working with a major insurer, before moving to loss adjusting where he has worked for the last 30 years.

His roles include senior positions in domestic and commercial claims, with both volume and major loss markets.He also has expertise with supply chains and the building repair industry.

Keith is a Chartered Builder and holds an innovations qualification with the Institute of Customer Service and is passionate about finding new ways to improve customer service.

How did you get to where you are today?

Many years ago, when I took on my first senior role, the director said to me “You’re here to make a difference, once you stop making a difference you stop doing your job”. I still remember the conversation as if it had just happened, and follow that advice to this day.

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

The property insurance claims industry has traditionally relied upon an ageing population of experienced, technical decision makers and there has been a lack of new, talented entrants, although I’m pleased to say this is starting to change.

The industry is also good at tying its experts into too much processing, making them less effective at what they are good at.

How are you and your business dealing with this?

The Sedgwick business has been particularly successful at attracting talented colleagues from grass roots level and retaining them through development, opportunities and a culture of belonging. One of the benefits of now being part of this global organisation is the opportunity to collaborate and attract talented people into a rewarding career.

How many industries can offer development paths as wide as structural engineering, building surveying, accounting and loss adjusting, on a global scale? I’m working with my counterparts across the wider business to develop clear opportunities, find new and current colleagues to grasp these opportunities, and simplify our systems and processes to make their roles easy.

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

I recently moved into my current role and many of your readers will know me from the days when I ran Oriel. I’m really proud of what the business achieved in what has to be one of the hardest commodities to get right.

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

It’s a big industry with great opportunities – stay flexible, take risks.

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

I’d like it to change its image. Seriously, we provide exciting careers.

What’s your top tip for being productive?

Understand you can’t do everything, deal with the now but focus on the future.

What gadget can’t you live without?

It used to be an iPad but now it’s a Microsoft Surface Pro, it does everything so well.

Talent or Perseverance?

I’d say both. But then I would.

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

I love getting out mountain biking, if I don’t switch off I fall off! Failing that road cycling, but I’m not very quick.

"It’s a big industry with great opportunities – stay flexible, take risks."


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