Specialist Spotlight: Sophie Trundle

We recently sat down with Account Advisor, Sophie Trundle, who talks us through her career journey to Miles Smith, her role and her outlook on 2024.


Sophie’s path to a career in insurance

Sophie began her insurance career at 18, completing customer service tasks for a local broker specialising in taxi and minibus insurance. After about a year and a half, Sophie moved to London and joined THB, which later became Amwins. There, she worked in the Motor team handling mid-term adjustments. Although this role was a step up from her previous position, it lacked long-term progression opportunities, prompting her to seek further advancement.

Joining Miles Smith

In October 2019, Sophie joined the Tradesman team at Miles Smith, focusing on small contractor risks, dealing with Liability and Property insurance. The team was small and specialised, providing Sophie with a more focused experience. However, the COVID-19 pandemic brought significant changes, including a shift to remote work, which Sophie adapted to successfully.

Moving to the New Business team

Around a year into the pandemic, a position opened up in the New Business team at Miles Smith. Sophie transitioned into this role, where she now works as an Account Advisor. While she continues to handle some Liability risks, Sophie’s role has evolved to focus primarily on Property risks. Over time, she has developed a preference for this area and enjoys the challenge of dealing with scheduled and complex placements. This aspect of Property risks keeps her engaged and allows her to delve into detailed assessments and strategic thinking.


The day-to-day as an Account Advisor

Initial risk assessment

Sophie handles new business enquiries which are first logged by a dedicated team and then distributed by Sam Hooper, the team manager. Sophie is assigned specific Property risks to handle and thoroughly reviews the risk details. She contacts the broker to discuss whether Miles Smith can assist and to gather information on other markets the broker has approached. This step helps her determine the feasibility and strategy for placing the risk.

Quotation and negotiation

Once Sophie has a clear understanding of the risk, she discusses it with the placing broking team. This team engages with the Lloyd's Market to obtain quotations and indications. Sophie then reviews these quotations and prepares them for presentation to the broker. If the terms are of interest, she facilitates the placement of cover. If adjustments are needed, she works with the broker and placing team to refine the terms.

Post-cover administration

After the risk is placed on cover, Sophie handles all necessary administrative tasks. She creates and uploads the documentation to the internal platform. This documentation is then sent to the underwriter for signature and contract agreement. Throughout the process, Sophie maintains clear and consistent communication with brokers, the placing team and underwriters. Her role is crucial in ensuring that each step from enquiry to final documentation is completed efficiently and accurately.


Overcoming challenges

Fast-paced environment

One of the most challenging aspects of Sophie's job is the fast-paced nature of handling new business enquiries. Often, she receives requests that require a quick turnaround, sometimes within just a couple of days.

To manage this, Sophie stays highly organised and prioritises tasks based on urgency and complexity. She leverages strong time management skills and remains flexible, ready to adjust her schedule as new enquiries come in.

Complex placements

Many placements Sophie handles are complex and require coordination with multiple markets. This complexity adds a layer of difficulty to obtaining and assembling quotes efficiently.

Sophie overcomes this by maintaining strong relationships with various market contacts and by staying well-informed about each market's specific requirements and processes. She uses her knowledge and experience to quickly identify the best approaches for each unique placement.

Unpredictable nature of new business

The unpredictability of new business means Sophie often does not know what types of risks she will encounter or what the deadlines will be until the enquiries arrive.

Sophie adapts by developing a versatile approach to her work. She prepares for a wide range of scenarios and maintains a proactive attitude, ready to tackle unexpected challenges as they arise. Effective communication with her team and brokers also helps her manage this unpredictability, ensuring everyone is aligned and informed.


Collaboration with other teams at Miles Smith

Integrated multi-class solutions

Sophie collaborates with various teams at Miles Smith to provide comprehensive insurance solutions including Liability, Property, Motor and Professional Indemnity (PI). When a client requires coverage in multiple areas, Sophie and her colleagues work together to deliver a complete package.

By working closely with other departments, Sophie helps create a streamlined experience for brokers. They can manage all their clients' insurance requirements through a single point of contact at Miles Smith, making the placement process more efficient and less fragmented.

Handling renewals with new requirements

When a renewal client expresses interest in adding new types of coverage, such as Property insurance to an existing Liability policy, Sophie treats it as a new business case. She coordinates with the respective teams handling each class of insurance to ensure seamless integration of the new coverage.

Key benefits of collaboration

Sophie highlights what she believes the key benefits of collaborating with various Miles Smith teams are:

  • Comprehensive coverage – ability to provide multi-class insurance packages.
  • Efficiency – simplified process for brokers with all placements handled in one place.
  • Team synergy – leveraging expertise from various departments to deliver optimal solutions.
  • Client satisfaction – meeting diverse insurance needs effectively, enhancing client relationships.


Future aspirations

Looking ahead, Sophie aims to be more involved in the broking process. Currently, her role involves discussing risks to the broking team, who then interact with the Lloyd’s Market. Sophie aspires to participate directly in these market interactions to gain deeper insights and further her professional growth.

The shift to remote work due to COVID-19 has led to a reliance on email communications. Sophie would like to see a return to more face-to-face interactions with underwriters as she believes these in-person meetings can enhance relationship building and improve the negotiation process.


2024 outlook

Emerging industry trends so far

In 2024, Sophie has noticed a significant shift in how risks are being placed. Previously, brokers often placed 100% of a risk with a single composite insurer. Now, these insurers are increasingly offering only partial coverage, such as 30%, necessitating the involvement of multiple markets. This change is particularly evident with risks that were traditionally handled by Lloyd's but are now seeing composite insurers as the lead market more frequently.

Another trend is the increasing rebuild values of buildings. The cost of rebuilding has surged, doubling in some cases, which exceeds the capacity of single insurers. Consequently, brokers need to find additional support from other markets to cover the full value. This has resulted in more scheduled placements and split slips, adding complexity to the process as different markets may apply varying ratings to their portions of the risk.

The impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt with a rise in unoccupied properties. Large retail spaces, such as former Debenhams or John Lewis stores, remain vacant and require insurance while awaiting new tenants. This scenario contrasts with pre-pandemic times when these properties were typically occupied.

Hopes and expectations for the rest of the year

Sophie expects the trend of partial placements by composite insurers to continue. She hopes that the market will adapt to this change, allowing for smoother coordination between insurers and more straightforward placement processes despite the added complexity of scheduled placements and split slips.

As the need for support from multiple markets grows, Sophie looks forward to improved collaboration with Lloyd’s markets. She anticipates that these markets will develop more flexible approaches to rating risks, facilitating more cohesive and comprehensive coverage solutions.

Sophie also hopes to see innovative solutions for insuring unoccupied properties. She expects that insurers will create specialised products and services to address the unique risks and challenges associated with long-term unoccupancy, thereby better supporting property owners and brokers.


Finally, Sophie shares what she most enjoys about working at Miles Smith

Sophie thrives in her role due to the fast-paced environment and the constant variety of tasks and challenges. She finds it fascinating to see how underwriters assess different risks and values the insights she gains from these interactions. The positive team dynamic at Miles Smith adds to her job satisfaction, providing a collaborative and supportive atmosphere. The continual new challenges keep her engaged and motivated, making her work both enjoyable and fulfilling.


Find out more

Learn more about our Property offering or get in touch with a member of the Broker Relationship Management team.


Talk to Our Team

020 7977 4800



Talk to Our Team

020 7977 4800


Author: Miles Smith

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