Rising star interview with Lucy Wyborn, Head of Accommodation Services – ICAB

  1. Tell us about your role. What do you do, and what do you find most interesting about it?

I am Head of Accommodation Services at ICAB and 2021 marks 17 years in the business.  I joined ICHB (as it was then) In 2004, at the tender age of 19,  as a claims handler sourcing rental properties for policyholders.  Shortly after joining I was asked to help  manage the growing department and the rest as they say is history!  These days I am very much involved in the strategic planning at ICAB, motivating, growing and developing my team, the day to day running of the accommodation team and managing supplier relationships.  No day is the same and it is always interesting and challenging.  My team are very hard working and so focused and I take pride in watching them develop and grow.

  1. What made you want to work in this industry? 

I have to be honest I ‘fell’ into the industry as opposed to actively pursuing a career in insurance. I was working in a local hotel when I applied for the role which felt like a natural progression for me in terms of improving and evolving by customer service skills.  Due to  the scope of services ICAB offer I not only need to be fully appraised of  the Home Insurance Industry as a whole, but also, specifically, the alternative accommodation industry.  Over the years I have learnt so much about so many different sectors that all link up to make this industry such a rewarding and interesting one to work in.

  1. What do you see as the biggest challenge to your industry in the next year?  

I think Covid-19 is going to have a huge impact on this industry in the next year but these challenges will be overcome and will end up having a positive change.  For instance, letting agents have survived for nearly a year by conducting virtual viewings with potential new tenants. I firmly believe this will be the way forward and will make the rental market even more fast paced.  In the case of hotels, unfortunately some will not survive this pandemic and those that do will be looking to re-coup losses, therefore we are expecting some independent hotels to potentially increase room rates – however only time will tell if they choose this route. 

One thing the pandemic has taught us all in the industry is that technology is key, we have all been WFH / online. I firmly believe that the industry will natural evolve and technology will play a part in the coming year.  As well as creating digital platforms for insurers / suppliers / policyholders to access, I believe that organisations will be  more flexible with regard to employees working from home and conducting meetings over zoom / teams to ensure more regular contact and not have colleagues travelling all over the country. Of course there will always be the need for face to face meetings but people will be more selective about how and when these happen.

  1. How would you like to see the industry improved next year / 5 years / by the time you retire? 

The insurance industry has always been percieved at as old fashioned and ‘behind the curve’ especially where technology is concerned. However I think over the last few years it has changed, with COVID -19 playing its part in the rate of change.   Over the next 5 years, I would expect it to become more technologically advanced and make the customer journey more digitalised and interactive. –  I know that this is certainly something that ICAB are currently working on alongside our insurer partners. 

I haven’t even thought about retiring! However, I suspect that if the current pace of  rate of change continues or is accelerated the Home Insurance Industry will be a very different entity to the one I joined back in 2004. I hope that the gender pay  gap is no longer in existence and I hope to see many more women in senior roles. One thing that I hope doesn’t change is the customer service aspect to claims. We must always remember anyone suffering an insurance claim in their home, their safe place, that requires them to move out will feel vulnerable. It is our job to make them feel safe and supported and I hope that never changes as technology becomes more prevalent

  1. If you could give your 16-year-old self a piece of advice, what would it be? 

At 16 I was just starting my “career”, I am a very passionate person and I am not shy to admit that I have struggled over the years with delegation, change and pressure.  It has taken me a long time to realise that I am only human and I can only do what I can do. When it all gets too much I sit back, look at the bigger picture and take a moment to assess the situation before jumping in feet first!  I wish I had known this at the age of 16 when I was just starting out on this crazy journey, we call work!


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