The Risk Management Services (RMS) team at NFU Mutual is the largest Risk Management Consultancy in the UK. We caught up with members of the team to share their thoughts on the work they do and their careers at NFU Mutual.

The purpose behind the Risk Management Services team
We have two teams in our Risk Management Services team, Loss Control and Health and Safety. While they’re different areas of expertise, both are very much customer-facing roles with wide exposure to the NFU Mutual client base. Loss Control work on behalf of the insurer and are focused on loss prevention from an insurance claim perspective, providing on the ground knowledge to our underwriters, while Health and Safety work on behalf of the client to help them comply with legislation that governs health and safety in the workplace to help prevent accidents for their staff and customers. Both teams advise our customers on what they could do to minimise any risks.

A theme we hear a lot when talking to the team is about being the ‘eyes and ears’ of the underwriters. Nick Green, who works as a Loss Control Consultant agrees, “I think it’s a really good description of what we do and it’s a term I use when I'm training new colleagues. We’re out and about. We’re meeting with clients, reviewing both existing and new risks that we might want to insure. And we're looking at the risks and hazards that the risk, whether it's residential, commercial or farming, may present.”

Andrew Scargill, who works in health and safety also talks about risk, “We have some clients who we provide a paid health and safety consultancy service to, and we have some clients where the underwriter funds a service, or the client has a long-term relationship. And in those instances, we have opportunities to help our clients understand and manage risk, primarily to either eliminate or reduce that risk.” James Tibbetts, also on the health and safety side, feels the function is ultimately about saving lives of those working on farms, or in the businesses we’re connected with. “Our client base is quite broad, but for all our clients we're looking to reduce the risk of injury and ultimately save lives.”

How we support our clients, and the business too
When it comes to supporting our clients, the team believe it’s very much about the close local relationships they have. Tom Fraser, who works in Loss Control gives an example of how he gives support. “At the end of any survey I do, I make it clear to all the clients I meet that I'm available for them and always happy to provide advice. If they want to come straight to me, they've got my number and details.” Tim Fowkes, who works in Health and Safety, talks about how these supportive relationships form. “We have regular clients we’ve seen once or twice a month for a number of years, and because we get really involved, we’re almost thought of as part-time employees. It becomes a bespoke support service.”

Sarah Froy, who works in Loss Control talks about the importance of building relationships and giving support to clients. “It's about engaging clients in the process, and for me, it's about explaining why I need them to do things in a certain way. I often use real-life stories so clients can understand what can happen and what causes claims. It's this personal service that builds a pattern of trust; we go to a client’s site and look at how they can improve, both for their business and NFU Mutual.”

Part of being the ‘eyes and ears’ of the underwriters means the team also support them through what they might discover on site. Claire Cripps, who works in Loss Control, explains how she supports the underwriters. “They’re a client to us as well. We support them in terms of queries about any surveys they've done. Or they might get a query that they've not come across before that we can help with. They might call you and say, "What would you expect us to find out about this?" It's all about helping them with their technical knowledge.”

And the role is also about ensuring that what we see in place with clients meets the expectations of the business. As Steve Trevett, also in Loss Control explains, “We’re assessing what a client has in place and how that fits with NFU Mutual's expected standards. And, where it doesn't, we encourage the client to improve, and report these features back to the underwriter, who can take any action they think is necessary.”

The types of clients we work with
As you’d expect, there’s a strong farming element to many of our clients, but as the team explain, we also work with a wide variety of businesses in other sectors. This range of clients gives the team a breadth of knowledge and learning opportunities within their roles. As Sarah Froy explains, “Our clients range from a domestic property where the risk might be more about security of valuables, to sites where there might be an engineering or manufacturing risk. The risk could be food related, for example in a dairy – our clients cover an extremely broad spectrum. You’ll always come across something you've never seen before and that’s what makes this role so interesting.”

Location also has an impact on the kind of clients our teams work with. Steve Trevett is based in the Southampton area and covers the New Forest, which brings an interesting mix of rural sites. Steve talks through what this looks like. “I have clients in thatched properties, where I give advice about fire safety and make sure they're complying with policy conditions. I’ve also dealt with clients living in castles, country houses and estates and five-star hotels too. I’ve done this job for other companies, but none have the variety of clients that NFU Mutual does.”

Yorkshire based Andrew Scargill tells a similar story about the variety of the client base. “I can be at a farm on Tuesday and with a uPVC manufacturer and installer on Wednesday, and then a plant hire company on Thursday. So, you can quite clearly see, although traditionally NFU Mutual would attract agricultural businesses, we’re actually a lot more varied, and I've got lots of different types of risks.”

Why we work in the Risk Management Services team
While the variety of our client base makes no two days in Loss Control or Health and Safety the same, we asked what else makes the role such a rewarding career option? James Tibbetts explains. “It’s without doubt the people. We’re out and about a lot, so the team don’t meet up that often, but everyone is incredibly supportive and always at the end of the phone. There's a wealth of knowledge in the team. Some people haven't got the farming background I have, and they'll call on my knowledge base. I haven't got the health and safety knowledge that some of my colleagues do, and I'll call on theirs.”

Nick Green, who’s worked at NFU Mutual since 2002, feels the business itself has been very supportive of his career development. “I've been with the RMS team since 2005, the business supported me to complete my insurance qualifications, ACII qualification and NEBOSH general health and safety certificate.”

Tim Fowkes, who joined during the pandemic, enjoys the autonomy the role gives him. “I work from home and manage my own time. I’ve been pleasantly surprised about how much variety there is. The support is always there, from the kit and IT I need to do my job and someone on hand to answer any questions I need to ask to support the clients.” Andrew Scargill also enjoys the autonomy in his role. “The flexibility works really well for me. Even before the pandemic I worked from home. I manage my own time and respond to clients when they need me - if they’ve had an accident, they want you there and that’s fine. I enjoy the mix of working from home and being out with my clients when they need me.”

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