The Risk Management Services (RMS) team at NFU Mutual - the largest Risk Management Consultancy in the UK - have been providing high quality advice to customers on loss control and health and safety for over 25 years.

Now, with ambitious plans to expand its consultancy services into different risk management areas, the business aims to significantly increase in size over the next three years. We decided to speak to Andy Manson, RMS Managing Director, about what this means for our business, our people and our customers.

Hi Andy. Could you explain how RMS supports NFU Mutual and its customers?
Well, RMS was set up as a separate business 25 years ago to give customers good risk management consultancy and advice, and to support NFU Mutual in writing high quality insurance business. Because, if you have better risk management up front, then you’ll be able to give customers better pricing and better service. In turn, that means customers are less likely to make claims, because any risk is being managed effectively. So, by providing good risk management, we enable NFU Mutual and the Agency Network to support its customers and write good, profitable insurance business.

So, how do the two parts of RMS do that at the moment?
We have a Loss Control team, who are the eyes and ears of the NFU Mutual underwriters. They go out to customers and do surveys to assess all kinds of risk to support re-quotes, new business, or policy changes – for example a change of purpose for a property. If it’s a domestic customer, that could involve anything from assessing the risk associated with a property from a thatched cottage to a stately home or a castle.

With agricultural customers, we could be looking at risks linked to a farm shop, a wind turbine, a biomass generator or a hydrogen-powered tractor. And our commercial business covers a wide range of sectors, so they might be weighing up the risk associated with everything from a small guesthouse to a multi-million-pound hotel complex, a pub, or even a big nationwide business with sophisticated distribution and storage. NFU Mutual insure many types of manufacturing and retail businesses too.

Whichever customer they’re dealing with, they use their deep technical knowledge to write a report for the underwriting team. That team then matches it against our risk appetite and decides whether we should be insuring that customer – and if so, how much the premiums should be.

We also have a 60-strong Health and Safety team, which makes us the UK’s largest health and safety risk management consultancy. While our Loss Control team works for the insurer, Health and Safety work on behalf of the customer. So, they’ll often see the same customer time and again, to advise them on compliance with health and safety legislation. This team needs to be up to date with all the relevant legislation, so they can advise customers on the regulations they need to comply with and what evidence they’ll need to provide to show they’ve complied. The customers pay for this service and it helps them to create safer working and living environments. In turn, that benefits NFU Mutual, because they should receive fewer liability claims from accidents in the workplace.

It sounds like you’ve got a lot on your plate! And you’re looking to do even more?
Yes, we talked to our customers about the services we offer and a lot of them are looking for risk management that covers far more than loss control and health and safety. So, we’ll be moving into areas like cyber security, environment, social and governance, and HR. In particular, owners of SMEs need support in these areas, because they don’t have the resources to build in-house expertise.

At the same time, NFU Mutual is growing its business, particularly in the commercial sector. So, we’ve developed a three-year plan to expand RMS to a full consultancy service to support this growth, which means we’ll significantly increase on size over the next three years. And we’ll be looking at introducing teams with specialist risk management knowledge in a number of key areas such as fire sprinkler systems, vehicle fleets, renewables and engineering.

Does that mean you’ll be doing quite a bit of recruiting?
Yes, and one of the first roles we’re looking to fill is Chief Loss Control Surveyor. This is a critical strategic role, because they’ll be shaping and defining our Loss Control team as we move into these new areas. They’ll also be working closely with underwriting and sales teams and influencing the kind of business we write. So, they’ll be the lynchpin between the risk management teams and the underwriters, setting protocols and policies for what good looks like and giving our surveyors a set of standards to benchmark customers against. In effect, they’ll play a key role in ensuring RMS continues to add value for NFU Mutual, the Agency Network and customers.

But it’s not all about bringing new people in with different experience and expertise. As we move into these new areas of risk management, it’ll also give our current people a wider choice of career paths and new opportunities to expand their skills and knowledge in these areas. And of course, we’ll be supporting them to gain the necessary skills and qualifications. So, it’s an exciting time for the business – I’m really looking forward to it.

Take a look at our current vacancies in Risk Management Services