Editor’s note: On Jan. 6, 1976, Michael F. Reeves, executive vice president and head of Global Technical Services™, started his Crawford & Company® career as a property adjuster in the United Kingdom (UK) with the Thomas Howell Group. At the time, inflation was experienced around the globe; Microsoft was in its infancy, Apple was yet to be born, and punk bands were fairly new on the scene. Mike didn’t like bridges then and doesn’t like them now, either. But he still loves Aston Villa—good, bad or indifferent!
Mike has travelled the world and touched many lives as a Crawford employee. The following skims Mike’s four-plus decades of achievements in the insurance industry and as a Crawford® leader.
Why did you enter the insurance industry? I was recommended to a graduate recruitment scheme with a UK Insurer. I cannot say that a life in insurance would have been my first choice at that time, but it paid the rent and ultimately gave me a great career, one that I could certainly not have envisioned at the time.
What was your first job with Crawford? I was a property adjuster in Birmingham, UK, handling residential and small commercial claims. My first claim, in January 1976, was for flood damage to several cottages in a seaside village in Wales. It took many hours to drive there in my company Mini, and that was without Satnav (satellite navigation).
What is your fondest memory throughout your 40 years with Crawford? It will always be the people—I have made so many good friends, many from different parts of the world. Living and working in different cultures has enriched my life above and beyond anything I could have imagined.
What is your most memorable claim/event since you have worked here? A major fire loss in Malaysia and the first big test case for me on arriving there as the new managing director. During a meeting with general manager of the insurer, Commercial Union, I gave my preliminary reserve. He then asked me for the “real number.” I had never been asked this before, and he told me it would be confidential. Since I gave him an accurate number, I passed the test!
What, if anything, do you miss about your earlier years with Crawford? I wish I knew then what I know now. Probably one other thing, and that is being able to say my report was “in the post.”
Where have you worked? My main locations have been Birmingham, UK; Malaysia; the Nordic countries; and London, although I have been fortunate enough to have travelled and worked in many countries.
Who was/is your mentor and why? I have been fortunate in having many mentors over the years and it is difficult to single out individuals, but my very good friend Maarten Besselaar from the Netherlands taught me about the importance of clients—something I never forgot.
What is the most significant change(s) you’ve seen happen in the industry? The meaning of time: This is wider than just insurance but the need for instant communication at all stages throughout the claim, particularly in a major loss.
What one piece of advice do you give those who work for you? Or to someone new to the industry? Do not be too quick to judge people or situations. Always buy yourself thinking time.
What is one interesting bit of information about you that has nothing to do with work? I have a fear of driving across high bridges—Gephyrophobia—fortunately Satnav is a great help.
Who is your favorite football team? Aston Villa (unfortunately).