Rowena Byrne-Jones Shares Banking and Finance Experience and Know-How
Editor’s Note: This is the second post in an ongoing series featuring just a few of our many specialists who comprise Crawford Global Technical Services® (GTS™). Rowena-Byrne Jones, director of Casualty Specialist Risks for the GTS Banking and Finance sector, shares some insights into her career with Crawford & Company®.
Name and title: Rowena Byrne-Jones, director of Casualty Specialist Risks
Area of specialization: Professional indemnity, financial lines, regulatory risk
What is the most-prevalent type of Bank and Finance-related claim you handle? Liabilities arising from regulatory compliance omissions. Financial institutions perceive regulation as the top risk, and there is widespread concern within the banking sector and among observers that the volume of regulation is swamping the industry; it costs too much, it takes up too much management time and it stifles competition. Concern is driven by the quantity of regulatory reform at all levels, in particular the European Union’s (EU) Solvency 2 Directive. The fear is that these initiatives are loading the industry with costs and distracting management from the task of running profitable businesses, as well as heightening compliance risk. Such is the risk that is most often talked about, but it is far from the only risk. There is another risk ‘cluster’ that encompasses macroeconomic risks, interest-rate risk, quantitative easing and investment performance, which suggests that the current low-interest rate environment is hurting the industry and that these risks could deteriorate when interest rates rise.
How do Crawford’s specialized Bank and Finance claims services set the company apart? If we examine the current concerns expressed by the Banking and Financial Institutions sector, in addition to regulatory, investment performance and macroeconomic risks, this diverse sector must deal with issues as wide-ranging as reputational and social change, political interference, product development and the financial implications of natural disasters. The sector presents complex and diverse risks and the multi-disciplinary and global reach of Crawford is ideally placed to deal with these claims. The Crawford team approaches these losses on a holistic basis where we have the multi-layer skill set to determine and understand the investor relations between the contracting parties to the loss, the jurisdictional issues to the transactions that have been undertaken, as well as being able to advise on the quantum in these cases. This may include the geographic location, predetermined country risk limits and the precise location of the contractual transaction, which has been causative of the loss.
What is your most memorable claims experience? Many have considered that questionable business practices have receded as a concern, most likely because the incidence of mis-selling has declined with tougher regulation and higher industry awareness in recent years. However, the issues of poor practice remain an ever-present and obvious risk. Indeed, recent changes in the UK annuity market opened up opportunities for mis-selling new savings products, and claims have arisen as a result. We also deal with legacy issues surrounding products that were sold in a previous and more lax regulatory regime. This remains an area to watch. In the current market, with rising competition, pressure on prices and high regulatory costs, such an environment may drive insurance companies to take on fresh risks in this area, and additional claims are likely to ensue.
What is the biggest change you’ve experienced in the industry? We have to keep up with the constant change, regulatory provision and the effects that the alterations may have on the application of covers and the determination of liabilities. Insureds in this sector view the pace of change and change management as its own risk.
What is the best part of your job? You think you have a day planned out and something will come in to your inbox, land on your desk, the phone will ring. You never know what will happen. We are there when someone needs help or is in crisis, and as a profession we respond to that need with practical, immediate advice.
What advice would you give to a new claims adjuster? Don’t focus too much on where you want to end up with your career and the level you want to reach—enjoy the getting there. This profession is unique, and you will see and learn so much. Enjoy all the opportunities you have and the sights you will be privileged to see on the career journey that is offered to you. When an insurer calls for help, that company choose you and Crawford over everyone else. Remember, it is the biggest professional compliment you will ever have, and treat every single instruction as such.
What are your hobbies? Travel, especially to India and the UAE where I visit regularly. Baking cakes that will satisfy 60 to 80 people for fun!
What was your first job? I had my first job when I was 14 and a waitress. I worked two evenings per week and every Saturday. It was fantastic; it is a great way of learning how to deal with people, think quickly, respond quickly and satisfy a customer’s immediate needs. I learned great lessons for whatever career would come my way.
What or who inspires you? Miss Anna Weston—the best teacher with whom I had the pleasure of studying. She taught me a love of language and words, books and poetry. Her passion for description, characterization and the joy of narrative will stay with me forever. I think everyone will remember an inspiring teacher.
Share a little-known fact about yourself: I can speak Makaton, a language programme designed to provide a means of communication to individuals who cannot communicate efficiently by speaking and which is used by those who are less mentally and physically able.