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Admiral Life

Life in the day of our International Pricing Director.

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MBA

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Blog

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12/08/2020

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Peter Marissen is our International Pricing Director. He lives with his wife and 2 children in Cardiff, where his guitar collection is growing. Peter tells us more about what his average day at work involves... "Usually, my day doesn’t start off well. It’s 6am, I’m fast asleep, and a little person jumps onto the bed.Emily: Papa, I can’t sleep anymore. Me: Try. Just close your eyes. Emily: I can’t. Can I have the iPad? Me: It’s a school day. We don’t do iPads on school days. Emily: Your phone then? Me: No Emily: Mama’s phone? Me: Sleep. Please sleep.I’m not a morning person, but Emily is 6 and Harry is 3, so there is no more sleep until I leave just before 8am to do the school run. What should be a 10-minute drive takes about 30 minutes in start-stop traffic. Having the “B-I-N-G-O the dog” song on repeat in the background doesn’t make the trip feel any shorter. At drop-off I try to keep calm amongst many screaming kids until the school doors open, then I re-join the traffic jam, and with luck, I’ll make it to the office for around 9.I usually have a small bite to eat while I start up my computer. Something tasteless but virtuous, now that I’ve had my health check. They insisted on a lengthy discussion about my diet and guess what, it turns out that a bacon roll every morning may not be a great idea. So, I have cut back to once a week (ish), and on most days I end up stirring oats into my organic yoghurt. Lovely.I joined Admiral in February 1999, in the Pricing department, on the assumption that it would be a useful experience for a couple of years. I know I’m not the only one where this got out of hand a bit. At the time, the Pricing team consisted of only 5 people, which was fine as it was motor only, phone only and UK only. When, 10 years later, we looked at launching in Spain, I helped set up their Pricing and stayed involved as Balumba grew over the years. The same happened when the other non-UK operations launched, and at one point we decided that an International Pricing team could help with quality control of rate changes, communicating new Pricing ideas across the group, and training.In International Pricing we spend most of our time working with the various Pricing Teams in the group. There are always several pricing changes from our different operations that the team and I are looking at. Some are simple and require no more than a quick email, others can be time-consuming and need a fair bit of work. Communication at a distance can sometimes be a challenge, but having “Hangouts” is a great help, especially now that we are moving more towards group-wide projects and changes.The team is divided into three sub-departments: Analytics, Cross-product, and the Nursery. Analytics and Cross-product are important and growing areas that take a lot of my time. Analytics is producing some good results as we do a lot of work with the various operations and use our Data Scientists to produce models for them and at the same time each country is developing their own analytics capabilities as well.In terms of people, the nursery makes up the biggest proportion of the team. I shouldn’t say nursery, it has recently been renamed, by majority vote, into something that no-one can remember (International Analyst Development Programme, I think). The name hasn’t really taken off, despite the “No More Nursery” jar, which requires payment of 20p for every mention of the word nursery. I am a regular contributor. Anyway, in the nursery IADP, we recruit math-graduates from universities close to our non-UK operations, who spend a year or so in the team learning how to do Pricing, and then go back to hit the ground running. It makes for quite an international team and I enjoy that aspect of it.When I get home the kids are usually in the bath or getting ready for bed. Bedtime is always fun, although also chaotic, for which I invariable get the blame, perhaps with some justification.Evenings are short. There’s time for dinner, emails, and there’s always the temptation to do a few other things. But I don’t, because I know what’s going to happen at 6am tomorrow morning…"

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Connie  Hogg

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Connie Hogg

Connie  Hogg

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Connie Hogg

Admirals past, present and future - CEO Emeritus Henry Engelhardt

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MBA

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Blog

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10/08/2020

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Admiral was launched on January 2, 1993, co-founded by two MBAs: CEO emeritus Henry Engelhardt and current Group CEO David Stevens. We asked founder, Henry Engelhardt, how he sees Admiral – both now and in the future…  “Admiral is an MBA success story. David and I met whilst completing our MBAs at INSEAD in 1988. We went our separate ways for a bit and then got together, in the middle of 1991, to create and run Admiral.  Today we primarily sell car insurance to private individuals - we’re market leaders in the UK but also have operations in Spain, Italy, France, and the USA - with a bit of home insurance and loans thrown in for good measure. We were the first to launch price comparison of car insurance in the UK, and now also have price comparison operations in Spain, France, India, Mexico, and the USA.But that is the past and the present, what about the future? What are we going to do next? And the answer to that is: I honestly don’t know! I don’t know what this company will look like in another 15 years’ time. I know it will be different, but I don’t know how. It isn’t far-fetched to think that someone reading this might be the catalyst for defining the Admiral of 2035. Since we launched all our growth has been organic. Historically, we have not been known for doing acquisitions, but that could change going forward. We are one of only two firms in the FTSE 100 to have gone 10 consecutive years, from 2004 to 2014, right through the heart of the previous crisis, making record profits every year. We floated on September 23, 2004, at £2.75 a share. We’ve paid over £3 billion in dividends and the shares are now worth £23 each. Our market cap is right around £7 billion, all from that humble start on January 2, 1993.  Henry Engelhardt But Admiral is changing - we recently announced that David will soon step down as CEO and turn the job over to Milena Mondini, an INSEAD alumna herself. It will be the first time in Admiral’s history when it is not led by someone who was there on day 1. It will also make us one of just two companies in the FTSE 100 with both a female chair and female CEO.So why did I, and now David, choose to retire? When Admiral came into being in the early 1990s, the large and established insurance companies of the day were being led by 50-60 somethings. David and I were in our 30s. We did things differently. We were happy to pick up on new technology, new ways of management, and take risks. It came naturally. And, very simply, we destroyed those old, established insurance companies of the day.  A few years ago, we realized that Admiral was now the large and established insurer of the day.  And we were being led by 50-almost 60 somethings! We were soon to be part of the problem, not the solution. It was time to begin the transition to the next generation. So, we did.For those of you who see Admiral as in insurance company, I say: that’s what we mostly do now. But the future? Who knows? Since our inception, we have been an innovator and disruptor, developing new products like Multi-Car and Car Sharing that reflect the changing nature and needs of our customers. But, customer needs are fast-changing, and alongside rapid advances in technology, this means we need to move fast to remain relevant. For a company without a mission statement here’s our mission statement: Satisfy customers, make money, have fun. Doesn’t say anything about insurance, does it?” 

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Admiral was launched on January 2, 1993, co-founded by two MBAs: CEO emeritus Henry Engelhardt and current Group CEO David Stevens. We asked founder, Henry Engelhardt, how he sees Admiral – both now and in the future…

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Kat Gil Mast

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Kat Gil Mast

Kat Gil Mast

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Kat Gil Mast

What you need to know about the Admiral Cycle to Work scheme

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General

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Blog

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05/08/2020

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Cycling is a great way to travel to and from work. It's quick, easy, convenient, great for the environment and great for you! Our Cycle to Work scheme is a tax-efficient employee benefit allowing our employees to make healthier and more environmentally friendly lifestyle choices.Since the start of the lockdown we have seen a huge surge of orders to our Cycle to Work scheme! Bike stores and online businesses were amongst only a handful of businesses advised to stay open so the public could avoid public transport for the daily commute. At the same time, outdoor exercise was encouraged and therefore the idea of getting on a bike became increasingly appealing.Our scheme allows employees to purchase a bike without a huge upfront payment and spread the cost over manageable payments. Through our provider we can also offer a discount from the retail price of most bicycles and safety equipment with an 18 month warranty.Gareth Jones cycles daily from Barry Island to our office in the centre of Cardiff and said: "The Cycle to Work scheme has enabled me to get a very good bike at a huge discount and this has now opened up a new sport for me. I try and cycle every Sunday with a group either from work or with a group outside work."With a young family your time is limited for your own activities and hobbies, so keeping fit can sometimes take a back seat. By cycling to work you are keeping fit in a time you would have either been sitting in a car or on a train. Not only has my fitness improved but I also have a bit more in my wallet each month. Gareth Jones "Since cycling to work I am lot more conscious of what I eat and drink whilst in work as I know I will have to cycle home so I am a lot healthier but, as my colleagues might tell you, I still enjoy a biscuit or two." Steve Wright also uses the Cycle to Work scheme and cycles a number of routes ranging from eight miles to 12 miles from his home in Caerphilly to our office in Cardiff.Steve said: "I decided to take up the Cycle to Work scheme for a number of reasons. These were to get fit, finding time to keep fit with two young children is pretty hard and of course, to save money."Using the train twice a week was costing me in excess of £70 a month. Using the Cycle to Work scheme to obtain a bicycle to use was a massive benefit to allow me to have a reliable and affordable bike without the outlay at the start."Schemes like this are one of the reasons why our employees love working here.               

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Samantha Bevan

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Samantha Bevan

Samantha Bevan

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Samantha Bevan

Why MBAs should reconsider a career in insurance

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MBA

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Blog

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05/08/2020

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Sheli Miller (Bocconi 2015), International Pricing Manager, gave us her honest review of what we know everyone thinks when you say “insurance”. Sheli shares how that first thought, and a little research, has taken her down a career path she never thought “insurance” could provide."When I initially saw the advert for the Admiral MBA internship, I honestly didn’t consider it. It’s insurance, right? So, I assumed it wouldn’t be something that would interest me. A couple of weeks later I was speaking to an alum, and she said:‘Don’t dismiss anything! Don’t look at the field or the company - look at the job and what you will actually be doing.’I went back over the job ads and re-read Admiral’s and something clicked. I thought actually, I can do this, I would enjoy that, and that sounds amazing. At the end of the advert it said, ‘we also look for a sense of humor’, and I thought: ok, this is different! I started researching the company, and really liked everything I saw. I read about the company, the employees, the culture, the strategic opportunities, and challenges of the industry – one where you can really make a difference. All that, plus the job description, and Admiral became my first choice. Sheli Miller I sat down and wrote a cover letter of why I thought I was suitable. I was invited to an interview, which was followed up with a personal email to invite me through to the final stage video interview with senior managers. It’s now my 5-year anniversary with Admiral since joining on that summer internship!It was an amazing experience; I really enjoyed the company and the work, and I got to do things I wasn’t expecting. We did lots of networking events and ports of calls around the company. I really loved it and really hoped I could come back. On the very last day of my internship, I had an interview with David Stevens (Admiral Group CEO) for the full-time position of Business Development Manager (Future Leaders Program), and after a further video interview and completing my MBA I re-joined Admiral.After about a year Claire-Anne Coriat, who was at that point the Head of the MBA Program, suggested I try Pricing. I knew what Pricing did, but I had no idea what International Pricing Managers (IPMs) did. So, I spoke with Amit Chandra, who is a friend and an experienced IPM at Admiral, to help give me an idea of the role. I joined as an IPM initially for a 6-month trial, and then joined as a permanent IPM, in which time I have seen so much growth and change in this area.Each country in the Admiral Group has its own pricing department, and International Pricing initially started as a way to share pricing knowledge and expertise around the Group. Over time it’s also become about coordinating between our different countries. A Pricing Manager is usually very technical and International Pricing Managers bring a lot of experience from other industries and backgrounds. The IPM role requires both these aspects along with the ability to think commercially, take ownership of projects, and think strategically.One of my favorite projects really shows how you need to pull all these skills together; it was actually about windscreen claims. In the UK we barely look at them, because they account for such a tiny percentage of the loss ratio. But in some of our other countries, they account for as much as 5% of the loss ratio. I was asked to find out why!I had to speak to Pricing people in all our different countries, as well as Claims people to really understand how the claims are handled and what the commercial arrangements are. It turned out there were so many different factors driving the difference between the UK and our international operations, for example, the lower premiums in other countries affects the proportion of the windscreen claims. Some countries were also much better at handling windscreen claims from an operational perspective, so we learned a lot. This was a very analytical project, but also required talking to and working with many different people. The combination of these skills is what makes an IPM successful. Sheli Miller I never would have thought going into insurance could be so interesting, but my career to date with Admiral has given me great exposure to a variety of strategic projects and it's great having the autonomy to make decisions and drive your own career path. I would definitely recommend the MBA internship as well as the Future Leaders Program to any MBAs considering their next career move."

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Sheli Miller (Bocconi 2015), International Pricing Manager, gave us her honest review of what we know everyone thinks when you say “insurance”.

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Kat Gil Mast

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Kat Gil Mast

Kat Gil Mast

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Kat Gil Mast

MBA Mentoring Support at Admiral

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MBA

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Blog

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24/07/2020

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When we recruit MBAs we are looking for a handful of special individuals who are seeking a personalised experience that will give them the opportunities, challenges and freedom to explore. We believe mentoring should not but one set program, but it should be tailored to the needs of each individual that works with us. MBAs have the autonomy to make an impact and we are here to support you in an environment where you will ultimately be making the decisions in the projects you work on.Simon (INSEAD 2010) joined Admiral in 2019 on the Future Leaders Program. We spoke to him about the mentoring support he received as an experienced MBA through his first year before recently stepping into his new role as CFO of Admiral Pioneer. Mentoring support"I joined the Future Leaders Program with several years of post-MBA experience, so in my first few months, the main thing for me was to focus on doing my job well and not be micromanaged by an overbearing mentoring system. Marisja (Head of International Business Development and Investor Relations) did an incredible job tailoring her management style to my situation as someone who completed their MBA a few years before joining Admiral.What I needed, was support on very specific things, like help to unblock a particular issue, or just to bounce ideas off. I felt like it was very much led by me." I got all the support I needed, and none that I didn’t. And that was good. Simon Flynn Experience working with the CEO “In terms of learning from the CEO, it was one of the things I experienced in the first six months. David (Group CEO) had been invited to a meeting by an external company that wanted to partner with us, and he asked me to join him as he knew I was interested in this area.We went to the car park and jumped in his car and, whilst I was navigating on Google Maps, he drove us to this meeting about half an hour away. That was a really good experience - I was very impressed that even as a fairly new MBA employee at Admiral, I was on the CEO’s radar. The meeting itself was another fantastic opportunity to learn alongside the CEO. I don't know of many places where that happens quite so easily.” Feedback and progression  “As I was coming towards my one-year anniversary, I reached out to seven or eight leaders in the business to get some feedback. This included David (Group CEO) and Cristina (UK CEO), who agreed it had been a very successful year. I wanted to have an open chat about how I might make the next year even better and where I might be best placed to work in the future. I always found people very available for that kind of conversation, which I think is hugely valuable.” Support and a personalized experience  At Admiral, it is up to you make your own career, but you will be supported in an individualised way to make it happen. Simon Flynn "This is one thing that really does distinguish Admiral from other MBA programs: we think about the individual and tailor the experience to each person. That is different from some of the big consulting firms, where the programs are very set. Here, there's an option to say “You know what, I would love to go to Spain for a year to learn about claims!” for example.I have received a truly tailored experience; in my case, I didn't want any international projects, because I've spent so much time overseas in my career already. So, my preference was to stay in the UK, and that was listened to from the start, even going back to the recruitment process.All in all, I can thoroughly recommend the Future Leaders Program – both if you’re a recent MBA, but also if you have several years of post-MBA experience like me. It’s tailored to you and will allow you to build your own career path from the start."

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Connie  Hogg

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Connie Hogg

Connie  Hogg

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Connie Hogg

What was Admiral's response to the Coronavirus?

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General

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Blog

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22/07/2020

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So, what have we done for:  Our Community We have set up the £4 million Admiral Support Fund for Covid-19, which is predominantly providing funding and support in South Wales, where we are based, to the NHS, charities, support groups and will also allow us to contribute to any insurance industry wide charitable effort. We have been active in helping several charities and groups, which we are extremely proud of. Here are just a few ways we have helped: Supported Swansea, Cardiff and Newport food-banks – diverted our fruit supply to these extremely important community organisationsSupported The Wallich with food supplies  Donated to The Play Yard which provides meals for under privileged children and familiesDonated to St Thomas Parish which distributes food / meals to vulnerable people within SA1 area, amongst other supportive initiatives£100k donated to The Community Foundation WalesFeeding NHS staff through donations to various organisations Supplying essential items to Hospitals across South Wales in the form of medical shoes, calculators, pyjamas, etc We also asked our employees to send in details of their charitable events that had been cancelled so we could support and help with fundraising for their chosen charities. Brian Martin, Head of Business Support at Admiral said: “Admiral’s support means so much for our community and we will continue to work hard to help those in need in such a difficult time. “ You can find out more about how we’ve been supporting our community here.  Our employees To support our employees, all employees are being paid their full salary and no employees are being furloughed under the UK Government funded scheme and we don’t expect to benefit from any other initiatives funded by the government. Ecare, our counselling and support service for employees have also introduced a ‘Dependant Line’ for any dependants in employees’ households to offer additional support during the pandemic 24 hours a day. We also have a Workplace Support function who order a range of equipment to make life easier for employees at home whilst working. Nearly 2800 orders so far and climbing! To help our employees get the right advice, we have teamed up with HSBC who now offer 121 telephone appointments to help anyone with their financial concerns. Our Training function “Admiral Academy” have developed several webinars, online courses and playlists for all our employees that focuses on mental health, living in lock-down and working remotely. We are also building a programme for the future of ‘smart working’: how we integrate remote and office time, the use of office space, how we manage teams, the cultural implications, organisational structure and technology.    Our customers We pledged to give back £110million to our car and van insurance customers in recognition of the fact that our customers stayed at home and drove less during the UK wide Covid-19 lock-down. A £25 refund was automatically given to all customers for each car and van covered with us on the 20th April 2020, a total of 4.4m vehicles. We gave the refund to reflect there have been fewer cars on the road during the lock-down which resulted in fewer claims. This was done to ensure as a company we didn’t benefit during the lock-down. Our intention was to return estimated savings to our customers rather than benefit from reduced driving during the lock-down. We have also waived any motoring claims excess fees for NHS or emergency service workers and supporting NHS volunteers. We guarantee cover for customers using their vehicle to transport people, deliver medical supplies and equipment, or items to people who are self-isolating. In addition, we wanted to show our support for NHS and emergency service workers by giving them a free courtesy vehicle to keep them on the road during the lock-down. We are further supporting our customers who are in financial hardship as a result of the outbreak by being flexible with customers struggling with monthly payments. Cristina Nestares, CEO of UK Insurance at Admiral said: “During this challenging period, our main priorities have been helping our customers, supporting our local community and protecting the wellbeing of our employees, which is why we have introduced these initiatives to give something back to the customers and communities we serve. “This is an unprecedented time when people across the country are driving significantly less than before the lock-down, and we expect this to lead to a fall in the number of claims we are seeing. We want to give the money we would have used to pay these claims back to our loyal customers in this difficult time. We have also already reflected this change in driving behaviour in our pricing for customers and will continue to do so. “

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Samantha Bevan

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Samantha Bevan

Samantha Bevan

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Samantha Bevan

What does it take to be a great leader? - Henry Engelhardt (CEO Emeritus)

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MBA

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Blog

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17/07/2020

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We often hear how Henry Engelhardt, Founder and CEO emeritus, has inspired many people: both inside and outside the Admiral Group - whether that is from working with him closely, or from simply hearing one of his many memorable speeches. So, we wanted to share a small insight from a recent talk he gave at INSEAD in May 2020. "Admiral is moving into the future. Next year, Milena Mondini, will take up the reins of Admiral when she becomes CEO. It will be the first time in our history that we won’t be run by one of our founders. As we transition to this new era, we are looking for the next generation of leaders, business builders, and managers. We need people who are bright, hungry, intelligent, and decent. That’s why we keep coming back to recruit MBAs from some of the best business schools in the world. Milena needs the strongest people she can find to take Admiral to the next level. There are no barriers to what Admiral can achieve. There are no blinkers on what businesses we achieve it in. For those of you, who see Admiral as an Insurance company, I say: that's what we mostly do now. But the future? Who knows? We’re looking for people who can be great leaders, managers, business people, and people. We don’t really care what industry you’ve come from. In fact, in many regards, knowing little or nothing about insurance can be an advantage.    Whatever your experience, we’re looking for people who can take nothing and make something; we’re looking for people who make teams better; we’re looking for people who can inspire and motivate those around them; we’re looking for people who can grow into being great leaders. Why not you? So, what does it take to be a great leader and manager? One – make great decisions. This involves gathering and interrogating data.  Two different skills, both very important. It involves teamwork – the buck stops with all of us, not any single individual. The team, the team, the team. And, ultimately, it involves decisiveness. To make a great decision you must make a decision!Two – be great with people. This means understanding some of our simple philosophies, like "If people like what they do, they’ll do it better" – so we go out of our way to create a culture where people really like their jobs. It means understanding how important you are to the people you manage. Understanding how important little things, like saying good morning or goodnight, are. It means being a great communicator.  Three – be creative. This means you have to do things differently to succeed.  Something has to be different; either the offer to your customers, your product design, the way you manage the process, the way you get more energy from your people…something. Great managers are very creative: they push others to see opportunities and ideas that would normally get buried in a corporation. If you can be great at those three things you can be a great leader. But there’s no formula.  It’s not a recipe. If it was, we’d all just read it and become great leaders. It takes a lot of hard work. A lot of thought. And there is one special ingredient that is different in everyone’s recipe: you. We’re all different from each other and that means we all bring something special to the party.  I went to a good high school and did well, but not top of my class. I went to a good but not exclusive university. Again, I did well, but not top of my class. A few years later, I completed my MBA at INSEAD, one of the world’s leading business schools. I didn’t make the Dean’s List. What I’m trying to say is that I am not, by any means, extraordinary. So, if I can achieve what I’ve achieved, so can you!" 

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Henry Engelhardt, Founder and CEO emeritus, has inspired many people: both inside and outside the Admiral Group. So, we wanted to share a small insight from a recent talk he gave at INSEAD in May 2020.

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Katharina  Gil Mast

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Katharina Gil Mast

Katharina  Gil Mast

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Katharina Gil Mast