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Interview with our new Managing Director

Helen Meredith has stepped up as Managing Director of ASL. In this interview she is asked about her thoughts on this new position

When did you join ASL and how has it changed?

I joined ASL in 2002, when it was unusual to be female in the London Insurance market. There were only 2 other female adjusters in the firm at the time, out of a total of 12. Don’t forget that was only 6 years after the first female active underwriter was appointed at Lloyd’s, so the firm was already pretty ground breaking to have that sort of a male:female ratio!

We now have a 50:50 gender split which I am very pleased about. It’s not that women make better adjusters, but diversity, and the resulting ability to see the same problem differently, is vital.

What else makes ASL special?

Undoubtedly the staff and the breadth and depth of their experience. And the fact that this is combined with diverse ages and backgrounds.

As a firm, we spend time developing our people and we have an incredibly low turnover; there can’t be many businesses where the average length of service is over 10 years, yet the average age of our qualified professionals is still under 40. The secret I think is that we get everyone involved with as many aspects of the business as possible, and the opportunities are not limited by a hierarchy.

It is very important to me that I maintain the culture of putting our people at the heart of what we do. I am grateful to our retiring Managing Director Mike Walter for fostering this atmosphere over 30 years and I intend to grow and develop that legacy.

As a client of ASL, what can I expect to see differently going forward?

A more blended approach to claims – travel where that is necessary and adds value; augmented by the use of technology where it doesn’t.  We’re also working towards carbon neutral status.

What have been the greatest challenges with the pandemic?

Looking after our people.  As I’ve said, they are key to everything we do and I do feel responsible for their wellbeing.  We foster a culture of openness, speaking to each other often and providing support where needed.

What is your long-term perspective on the insurance market?

This is a time of great challenge for the insurance market – the first hard market in our sector in over 10 years, an influx of pandemic-related claims as well as the resulting need to adapt working practices due to Covid-19, and the growing threat of cyber crime.  With challenge, though, inevitably comes change and opportunity – my view is that the market will respond positively and adapt, taking advantage of new technology to become more agile and customer-focused.  I look forward to ASL being a part of that.

What would be your desert island disk? And your luxury?

Times Like These by the Foo Fighters (which seems apt at the moment!) and scented candles – although perhaps not appropriate for the desert island; but as a mother of 3, I would relish some relaxation, especially after lockdown home-schooling!

What is your guiding-philosophy in business, and indeed life?

We are not measured by what happens to us, but by how we respond to those experiences; true in business and in life!

 What is your plan for the future at ASL?

To continue to develop and grow the business organically whilst maintaining focus on our core values – nurturing our team of talented experts and enabling our clients to provide a truly first class claims service to their customers.

February 2021
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