Making lockdown work – views from the market: Jhon Ramon

Jhon Ramon, an Account Executive in FINEX Global at Willis Towers Watson is missing the coffee and conversations in the London Market! Here he discusses the changes to working life under lockdown.

 “I am missing the coffee!” said Jhon Ramon, a lawyer from Colombia who has been working in the London Market for two years. And it’s not just the caffeine but the opportunity to have the small interactions that create the bigger conversations that he misses. “Financial lines is a tough class of business right now. The market was already hardening quite rapidly, and the pandemic has sped up that process. Being able to see people, to bump into them around Lloyd’s makes it easier to talk about the risks we are placing for clients. It is much easier to be ignored by email!”.

But the good news is that business is still getting done. “I can’t imagine doing this without PPL” Jhon continued “Being able to get the business done online means we are still servicing our clients and supporting them in a way that would not be possible without it”. The Financial Lines market in London was an early adopter of electronic placement, with brokers and underwriters working closely to place business electronically and the vast majority of business of risks are now bound on PPL.

“Just because it is online does not mean one size fits all – definitely people work in different ways” continues Jhon. “We have some underwriters who are incredibly disciplined about checking things out on PPL and others who need a bit of prompting. Our role as brokers is to know who wants what and to present the risks in the way that works for them”.

For a broker who is regularly in the Lloyd’s underwriting room, the new ways of working have meant some changes in routine. “Working remotely in challenging market conditions means you need to make more appointments and be more organised” said Jhon, “and there is no doubt that the face to face aspect of the way we do business is really important. I miss it and everyone else I speak to does to”.