Richard has worked in independent brokering for 18 years and has recently taken on the Role of CEO of Towergate Insurance, part of The Ardonagh Group. Read his insightful interview below as he discusses his career highlights and what skills YBs can learn to further their careers.
What are some of the best advice you can offer a young broker who is keen on progressing in this industry?
I’ve just had a flashback on my 30 years in insurance, there’s a lot to unpack!, The most important piece of advice would be to get a sponsor and make sure it is someone you professionally respect and shares your values. Someone who also has your best interest at heart and will give you regular feedback and will tell you those things that you don’t want to hear. Get comfortable with constructive feedback, it’s not always easy to hear but it’s so important – without real feedback how do you improve?
I appreciate the job market is changing, gone are the days of a ‘job for life’ but I do believe loyalty is important. At the right place, with the right people (and if it is reciprocated), the opportunities are there for the taking it’s a 2-way street, right? Just because you work there along time, people expect an automatic promotion, it doesn’t work like that. Put yourself out there, contribute, show up and get results that how it works! I’ve never blended into a crowd, and I won’t start now.
It’s important to keep learning, read, listen, observe. Act like a sponge and soak up as much as you can from others. Observe and learn from those around you – both those you admire and those you don’t you can learn how not to be!
Don’t underestimate EQ, it’s a huge part of leadership today whether you are running a team of 2 people or running a business of 3,000, be kind, honest and empathetic, above all work hard, be consistent and authentic.
What have been some of your career highlights?
My most recent move into the role of Towergate CEO, is a particularly proud moment for me. The Towergate business is built around a network of regional brokers at the heart of their communities with a loyal client base, loyal people. It’s an exciting business to be part of Towergate and I am looking forward to working with the Senior Leadership Team to build the good foundations and create a Broker that delivers on its basics incredibly well but is diverse in its thinking and recruitment using digital as a way to deliver its service through its skilled and caring workforce and which continues to innovate not wait around for the others.
Another career highlight that brought a real sense of personal achievement for me was linked to my first job at 16 straight out of school at Roger and Johnstone & Partners (Now Johnstone Insurance), an insurance broker. I was young and eager to learn, it was a perfect start to my career, I worked with some fantastic people, and it was a successful business and taught me some basics I still use today. Whilst CEO of Ethos Broking we were constantly looking for potential acquisition opportunities. The team had initial conversations with Chris Harper the MD and to cut a romantic story short, we ended up acquiring the business but based on the back of a relationship and broking values going back 25 years.
I would also say my first move into a leadership position brought a seismic shift in me. I was appointed Regional Development Manager at The Insurance Partnership. I realised I could be quite good at it. It’s a totally different feeling when you can help shape, encourage, and influence others to succeed and always remember leadership is a privilege not a right!
What core messages would you like YBs to take away from your session ‘An audience with Richard Tuplin’?
I am really looking forwarding to meeting all the YBs at BIBA Conference. Insurance broking might not be top of the list for every young person to explore career opportunities in because it’s not explained enough. It’s so wide a varied and without insurance the economy would be very different. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else, so I hope to share my enthusiasm with the audience.
In terms of core messages…in my experience hard work pays off, you will often hear me saying ‘there is no shortcut to success except hard work’. Take each failure as a learning opportunity. I have learnt more from my failures than I have my successes. Don’t be afraid to try and be your own biggest cheerleader along the way – never limit yourself. And finally take time to understand the journey ahead, apply yourself, with direction and confidence and you can achieve all you set out to do.