Thirty-five years ago this month, Ian Muress began his career as a trainee loss adjuster in Sheffield, U.K. Now, as CEO for Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific, he is responsible for all of Crawford’s international business outside of the Americas, driving strategy that delivers outstanding client service enterprise-wide while leveraging best practices across all the international businesses.
Ian joined McLarens, a global claims service provider, upon graduation from Newcastle University and spent the next few years studying for his professional examinations. He worked his way up through the business operationally, moving around the U.K. and taking up branch and regional management roles before finally relocating to London in 1998 as CEO of that business. After that company was sold, Ian joined Crawford U.K. in 2002 to serve as CEO, U.K. and Ireland, since which time the U.K. business has experienced resurgence not only as a preeminent claims management business, but also as a financially strong, regulated and growing organization for which talented people aspired to work.
During his time in adjusting, Ian has seen the market change immensely, and he has been involved in several major claim events within the U.K., including the Great Storm of 1987, which caused casualties and extensive damage on both sides of the English Channel, the Lockerbie terrorist bombing in 1988, the 2007 floods, a series of destructive floods that occurred in various parts of the U.K., and more recently, the global natural catastrophes that have dominated the news in Asia Pacific. “I was a regional manager, which included the Scottish borders, when on December 21, 1988 Pan Am Flight 103 was brought down by a terrorist bomb over the town of Lockerbie,” Ian says. “This was a tragic event in every sense of the word and I was involved in leading the team of adjusters dealing with the devastated property claims on the ground.”
Working hands on, Ian also personally handled many of the claims, including challenging cases where homes simply evaporated in the crater under impact. “I was amongst the first on the scene as dawn broke the next day and the memories are closer to that of a wartime correspondent,” he says. “Christmas was postponed as we worked with the community for the first time under the eyes of the world’s media. The adjuster response was described as ‘textbook’ through close collaboration with adjusters acting for Pan Am to deal with recoveries.”
Despite the tragic nature of these events, Ian learned a great deal about the responsibilities of being an adjuster. “Many life lessons came about from the experience of Lockerbie, but highest will always be reflecting on the fact that any claim – large or small – is someone’s personal tragedy and our role is to help,” he says. “This same sentiment was consistent looking back on the 1986 Great Storm in the U.K. as well as the U.K.-wide floods in 2007. Whether from these U.K. experiences or the more recent catastrophes in Asia Pacific and Australia, nothing sticks more in my mind than one central theme – we help people.”
As Ian’s career demonstrates, just about anything can be achieved, and even after 35 years, Ian remains passionate about the people in the business. Are there any Crawford leaders you’d like to get to know? Let us know in the comments below.