Join us as we sit down with Simon Gallimore, CEO at the EDAM Group, and Nikki Nagra, Director of Claims Operations and Recoveries for a joint interview, where we will hear all about their experience within the industry, thoughts on our professional services, and how EDAM is continuing to improve as new teams and strategies unfold.
Q. Hi Simon and Nikki, could you start off by letting us know how long you’ve both been with the EDAM Group?
Simon: I joined on Star Wars day (May 4th) 2021 so I am 2.5 years in so far and I like to think it was a return of the Jedi moment (well I hope it was).
Nikki: I joined the company early July, so I am 4 months in and settling in nicely! Everyone has made me feel so welcome and it’s been great to work with Simon again.
Q. And what was your prior experience in the industry, what led you both to EDAM?
Simon: I have worked in the insurance industry all my career starting at the COOP as a Regional Office Accounts Clerk. My career has seen me work for some of the largest brands in the UK and globally. I have worked across pretty much every aspect of insurance in both personal lines and commercial and across numerous countries. My last role in the corporate world was the interim Head of Claims for AIG UK which I started just as COVID hit which was eye opening and challenging. What led me to EDAM was an out of the blue approach and the chance to do something completely new where the book stops with me.
Nikki: I moved to Manchester aged 17 and started work as a Personal Incident Manager at Norwich Union (now Aviva) dealing with household and motor trade claims. I have had the pleasure of dealing with first party and third party commercial and consumer line claims, leading teams whilst primarily focusing on motor lines but then expanding my knowledge to handle and lead employers, public, products liability and disease claims! My last role was Head of Casualty Claims, UK for Berkshire Hathaway Speciality Insurance – where I picked up some great insights on how the legendary Warren Buffett builds and fosters a strong culture which deliver results. As for joining EDAM – I’ve always worked on the defendant side so it’s great to see the customer journey from the other side and let’s also say Simon’s jedi force pulled me to EDAM!
Q. What was it that made the EDAM Group stand out to you both as somewhere you wanted to work?
Simon: The opportunity to turn a business around. EDAM had come to an inflexion point and needed to evolve to not only survive but to grow. To do that a wholesale change of approach was needed which started with improving our relationship with the insurers who ultimately pay us. We are now firmly in growth mode and the business is on a solid footing with a good and growing reputation across the market as a firm that’s easy to do business with and you can trust.
Nikki: The culture in which EDAM operates is what initially drew me in– the more I spoke with the team the bigger impression they left. I saw and heard the difference Simon, and the team were making here at EDAM which excited me so naturally I wanted to be part of the evolution. Deploying the right strategy makes a real difference and I feel the Leadership team here are working as one to really make it happen! I’ve never worked for an organisation of this size, which certainly has its advantages especially the warm family feel and quick decision-making capability!
Q. Thanks both. Simon a few questions for yourself now. As CEO of EDAM, what have been some of the main challenges been that you and the business have faced this year?
Simon: I am pretty sure that I won’t be alone in saying this but the market conditions in 2023 have been as tough if not a little tougher than in 2022. The macro-economic climate has seen costs continue to rise and the ongoing impact of the geo-political unrest in the world continues to hamper the supply chains, we all rely. Forecasting accurately has become virtually impossible and is now almost a weekly exercise which means we are continuously operating in a “live” environment.
Q. How are you and your teams working to overcome these challenges? And what opportunities have you realised?
Simon: The word I use for my team is unbelievable. In all my career I haven’t worked with a group of people who are as naturally passionate, dedicated, or talented. The simple answer to the question of how we overcome these challenges is teamwork, but we have also created a culture where quick decisions and our agility to make change is part of our DNA. That ability to pivot and adapt has served us well this year. Aside from Nikki the rest of the team have worked at EDAM for some time and 3 of the leadership team have been promoted from within. They are a true success story.
Part of our second-year goals has been to grow into our preferred market space of brokers, smaller insurers, MGAs, and tier 1 CMC’s. We are making great progress and now over 75% of our work is generated from these sectors.
Growth is key and we are finally seeing that materialise with 3 significant wins that will see our growth in 2024 surpass anything we have seen before which is a testament to the work we have done over the past two and a half years to re-position EDAM.
Q. And you recently introduced Nikki to the team as Director of Claims Operations and Recoveries. Are you excited for what Nikki is doing and will be bringing to EDAM?
Simon: Nikki and I worked together for 10 years at AIG, so I know just how good Nikki is. When I was offered the job at EDAM, I wanted to bring Nikki in with me but Berkshire Hathaway nipped in ahead of me (although I am not sure I could have competed with them at that time).
What Nikki brings is experience, culture and she is undoubtedly one of the best people leaders I have worked with. Her level of professionalism reflects her career to date, and it was a coup for EDAM to persuade her to join us. As expected, she has hit the ground running and as she restructures our operations to be more aligned to customers, I know we will be a better business going forward.
Q. Why do you think now was the right time to bring Nikki onboard, and to transition the entire EDAM Group strategy?
Simon: Re-shaping how we service our customers and ensuring we have an end-to-end view of our customer has been on the “to-do” list for some time now and to execute such a major re-structure requires experience and leadership.
This key stage of our evolution is critical to how we succeed in 2024 and beyond. Customer alignment with dedicated points of contact to provide that “personal touch” has often been the holy grail for claims teams. Our scale and this new structure will allow us finally to deliver that.
Q. How do you see the next few months unfolding for EDAM, what are your goals?
Simon: The next few months will be about growth, supporting Nikki in the re-shaping of the claims operations and ensuring we manage the evolution of our fleet.
Q. And Nikki, same question. What are you most hoping to achieve in your next few months as Director of Claims Operations and Recoveries?
Nikki: For me and EDAM, it is all about customer centricity – truly putting the customer at the heart of what we do, so the support I am receiving whilst I re-shape our approach from the whole team at EDAM has been unbelievable – the speed in which I can implement change has been refreshing. We all strive to do what is right for the customer, make their journey personal, so there is trust and understanding at EDAM. We are continuing to review our approach to ensure our customers as well as our handlers have the best experience.
Q. What changes have you implemented so far?
Nikki: The big one was the team re-structure which we implemented a few weeks ago. We have brought our FNOL and On-Hire teams together to work as one team so we can truly service the customer, remove hand offs and inefficiencies. I have introduced new ways of working to enhance our operational governance and oversight whilst continuing to build stronger relationships across the teams.
Q. Why were those changes at the top of your list to work on first?
Nikki: Working as ‘One Team’ is important to me. When we work as one team, the team have full visibility of the end-to-end customer journey, which empowers them to deliver a great customer experience. The re-structure has strengthened our communication, ability to collaborate and provide better solutions which ultimately enhances the customer journey.
Q. What do you think are the biggest opportunities for EDAM where we can really set ourselves apart from others in the market?
Nikki: For me it is all about delivering on our customer promise. If we can do that 10/10 times by continuing to streamline our operations, invest in new technologies and expand our fleet, we will naturally attract new partners and talent.
Q. And in your time with EDAM so far, have you experienced a time where you’ve though “wow, we’ve done a really great job here?”
Nikki: There have been a few moments that stand out but I will call out one – the human touch! I have read some truly heartfelt compliments from our customers – one where our customer took time out to deliver some homecooked food to the handlers to say thank you has been the best thus far. The handlers are on the frontline every day so when a customer takes time out to give them the recognition, they deserve it lifts the whole team and motivates them to do better.
Q. And Simon, same question. What has been your standout moment since Nikki has joined the EDAM Group?
Simon: The moment she walked in the door on day 1 when I thought …finally! On a more serious note, there isn’t one stand out moment it’s the sense that I know that I have the best person I could hope for leading that area and that not only allows me to stop worrying about it but it allows me to focus more of my attention on growing the business and selling the EDAM story to anyone who will listen.
At EDAM, we’re a team dedicated to you. Our people share our values, and with Simon and Nikki as the face of our company, they both lead our teams by embedding our principles into the work they do each and every day.
To find out more about us, reach out today.