ARC PEOPLE - SARAH DYER

Our next Arc People spotlight falls on our Head of Underwriting, Sarah Dyer. Sarah's been with us since the early days and her career has developed and grown along with the business. Here she explains some of the changes she's seen throughout her time at Arc Legal.

Could you tell us a bit about your role as our Head of Underwriting?

I’m accountable for the management and operation of the Arc Legal Underwriting Team, whose responsibilities include new business implementation; all aspects of contract management throughout the life of the contract, and ensuring the profitability of each contract across all business lines.  In addition, I control the quotation management process; am responsible for signing off new business up to our delegated authority limit, as well as managing the relationships with our underwriters, and the negotiations over our binding authority.

How has your career at Arc Legal developed and how has the business changed throughout this time?

I joined Arc Legal as Underwriting Manager in 2007 when it was still a relatively new business, I was the eleventh person to join the company, and the first person in my team. I took on a hybrid role initially, and as well as underwriting, was responsible for new business set-up procedures, and establishing internal processes that we still use today. I also had some finance aspects to my role as well as supporting our three directors.

The business continues to grow year-on-year, and in 2016 Arc Legal was acquired by AmTrust, which has allowed us to create more growth opportunities and enhance our service offering with the backing of a large global insurer behind us. 

I was promoted to Head of Underwriting in January 2019. Whilst the core function of the Underwriting Team remains similar to when I joined in 2007, the subsequent business growth has required investment in people which has led to not only a significant increase in the size of the team that I manage, but also across the business.

We’ve also continued to develop our product range which has been really exciting.  When I first joined, we predominantly provided Before-the-Event (BTE) Legal Expenses Insurance (LEI), but we’re now branching out into other areas such as After-the-Event (ATE) LEI following our integration with Composite Legal Expenses, as well as other ancillary product lines.

Despite going through a significant and exciting period of growth, Arc Legal has managed to retain that family feel. Most people have grown with the company and we have a lovely supportive atmosphere across the business.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

At Arc Legal, we have always been flexible in our approach to scheme development, so no two enquiries are ever the same, and I enjoy the variety as every day brings different challenges.

I work with a great team. Insurance is such a relationship-driven industry and I’ve met a lot of people throughout my career who I now consider friends. 

Through your time in the industry, how do you think underwriting as a discipline has evolved?

I think there’s, rightly, many more governance and oversight requirements now compared to when I first joined the industry. An underwriting role has a much broader focus now, from risk conduct and compliance as well as the traditional risk management and premium calculation activity.

How have you adapted to working from home during lockdown?

I have embraced the flexibility and the improved work/life balance that working from home brings, and we have been just as busy as we were prior to the start of lockdown, which is very encouraging.

Digital platforms such as Microsoft Teams have been great for keeping in contact. We have regular team meetings and catch-ups, as well as employee appraisals and review meetings remotely, which have been a valuable tool for keeping the team motivated and engaged.

What has been most proud of / what has been your most significant achievement since you joined Arc Legal?

Achieving delegated authority responsibility and being named in our binder with AmTrust was a proud moment for me, as well as the opportunity to build a strong team of experts to support the underwriting and contract management needs of the business.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

To view a problem as a challenge and come up with a solution to overcome it.

I strongly believe we should always look for ways of creating better efficiencies. Just because a process has been done in a certain way for a long time doesn’t mean that’s the way it should always be done. The market evolves and we should evolve with it; this focus on adaptation and innovation is a key part of the culture which we encourage across the business.

And finally, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I love to travel, not that I’ve done much of that this year with the current situation, but I’ve been fortunate to visit some far-flung places from Australia to Thailand. I started learning the guitar three years ago and am gradually improving … although my partner may say otherwise!

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