Chris Lennon is head of office for the regional headquarters of Lockton Companies LLP. The company is based on North Quay, Temple Back, Bristol. Chris works with companies across the West Country helping businesses’ protect their people, property and reputation.
TBE Swindon & Wiltshire has been working with Lockton for the last 6 months and asked Chris to be in the hot seat for this month’s ‘In Profile’.
In this exclusive interview with TBE Chris tells us about his career journey, passions and what drives his success.
What was your first job?
Whilst at school I worked as a Silver Service Waiter but on leaving school I Joined the Royal Air Force
How did you start out in the insurance industry?
I left the RAF through injury and had the choice of taking further year out and then considering University, instead I chose to find work and ended up being placed via Connections on a youth training initiative with a small commercial broker in Swindon where I spent 7 years and completed my professional studies and gained invaluable experience dealing with a wide variety of businesses from construction to international commodity traders and a number of large IT businesses including early internet service providers. I was also lucky to work with, and for some great people who shared a lot of their knowledge and experience with me.
How long have you worked at Lockton?
I’ve been with Lockton for two years having previously held a national role at another large broker. In my previous role I was away visiting offices around the UK and spending a lot of time in the city so when we had our first child I took the decision to evaluate my options and began speaking with my then company about a role close to home. It was then that I was introduced to Lockton and after meeting some of the senior people in the business I was sold and wanted to come here.
What do you like most about your role?
So much, I love the freedom that I am afforded, I love seeing my team grow and develop and I love that as a company we take our corporate social responsibilities seriously. I was so proud of my team at Christmas when each of our associates donated gifts for the Bristol Children’s Hospital and I was blown away that we managed to deliver 106 gifts of toys, books, chocolate and other items for the children to open on Christmas day.
I know most people will say this, but Lockton really is different. We have a service orientated culture which stems from our American ownership and footprint in the US. It’s something of a cliché but here in the UK we are strangely tolerant of poor service whereas in the US the client comes first above all else and that’s something that we can learn from. We also have a “Partner led” approach to service which means that we never promote our best people away from their clients. Also, our funding structure as a private company enables us to promote a service proposition which would be cost prohibitive to many of our peers.
I also love that as a company Lockton is entrepreneurial at heart and leading the Bristol business, myself and my team are always looking at ways we can grow and develop our business and help our clients be better.
What motivates you?
I love a challenge and the worst thing to say to me is “you can’t”. I drive my wife crazy with what she calls “lunatic projects” having completed Ironman Triathlon and a number of other endurance challenges, I am now working on some long distance swim challenges including looking at the Channel. At work I love seeing my people grow and receive the recognition that our hard work merits. I want Lockton to be seen as the broker of choice in the South West and our sector expertise, resources and service orientated approach should differentiate us to achieve that.
How do you inspire your team in such a highly competitive industry?
Thankfully I have a team that require little motivation as the culture is such that we all have shared ambitions and goals. However, I do ensure that I share information and have a collaborative approach to development and implementation of strategy. All my team are aware of our strategic goals and our progress. I am also extremely proud that some of our projects and initiatives have come from the shop floor as it were with ideas from team members being adopted as schemes for growth. It also helps that we are growing and that there is some fruit of their labour.
How is the insurance industry landscape changing?
Technology plays a big part in this. Firstly in evolution of risks such as our reliance on data and the integrity of that data, electronic means of transacting and how vulnerable our businesses are to cyber threat. Use of social media for advertising/promoting our businesses/services and the service industry obviously evolves to cater for this need to adopt technology and they have liabilities for professional negligence that they may have been previously unaware of. Technology also has applications in risk management and insurance risk transfer. Black Box technology known as Telematics has a big role to play in Fleet/Vehicle insurance and rather than being a mechanism for insurers to avoid claims or to gather information on us to be used for their commercial means this can provide actuarial benefits that mean premiums could in many cases fall. This can also help establish fault in the event of claim and also provide information to enable us to be safer and more fuel efficient.
What’s next for the Lockton Bristol office?
To continue to grow and build on our reputation of service excellence. We have some exciting initiatives to launch in the coming months including a first to market protection for Self & E-Publishing businesses. I am also looking forward to seeing some of our people develop as I believe we have some superstars of the future and I hope to be able to play a part in their development.
If you could invite any character in history to your next party who would it be and why?
Ranulph Finnes as his spirit and determination is something to be admired and I loved reading his book “Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know”, he’s also quite mischievous too so I’d like to think we’d get on.