Industry Leader Interview with Stacey Goodchild, Managing Director – Motor Claims at Davies
4th November 2020Tweet
- What are the challenges are facing your business right now, and how are you working to overcome them?
COVID-19 continues to impact both our motor claims industry and our communities. With a decrease in vehicle usage across the country and most of our teams working from home, the pandemic continues to be a big challenge we’re working through.
Naturally, there is a clear and direct correlation between road usage and road traffic collisions (RTC) volumes. Vehicle usage impacts accident rates which again impacts claims volumes. With people staying more at home, we’ve seen a decrease in motor claims volumes. The great thing about being part of Davies through this pandemic has been that we can support claims teams across other divisions. Whilst we saw a decrease in motor claims, our business saw an increase in volumes across a range of other perils, so staying flexible has been and continues to be key to meet the claims needs in unusual times, whilst maintaining my great team and their extensive skill sets.
When we switched from office-based to home-working, it was a new environment for many colleagues. We unsurprisingly faced some hurdles at the start, but received fantastic support from our dedicated IT team, ensuring that every single one of my team members was supported in the same way at home as they would have been in the office. It has been crucial to guaranteeing that our people have the tools and access to everything they need to ensure that we continue to deliver the industry-leading service our clients are used to. Adapting to an environment where we are not physically together whilst also adapting to more efficient ways of working has been and will continue to be an essential focus.
In addition to the pandemic, Brexit is also quickly approaching. Navigating the uncertainty is a challenge we will overcome by ensuring that we continue to deliver the best service to our clients and colleagues when the UK exits the European Union.
- What has been your biggest business learning from the coronavirus pandemic?
As we faced increased restrictions in March when the pandemic hit, we quickly had to change our day-to-day operations and empower our colleagues to work from home. It was a big challenge, but a key point we learnt was that home-working really works for our business, most colleagues & clients. We’re therefore very keen to keep on supporting our colleagues to work from home in a hybrid model if this is their preference and works for all.
During the pandemic, it was also highlighted to us how important and what difference it makes for us to be a part of Davies. The diverse range of specialisms and capabilities within our group has meant that some services have seen an increase in demand, whilst others have seen a decrease. We have been able to support each other and adapt quickly to the needs of the industry which has been crucial for our business success.
- As we go to a “new normal” what are you looking forward to returning to and practices will you keep?
I’m looking forward to being able to sit around a table with both my clients and my team. Microsoft Teams is an amazing tool, which has been a lifeline in these unprecedented times, but there is nothing better than sitting face to face with clients and catching up over a cup of tea (and a chocolate biscuit!).
I am a big believer in the fact that everyone has a key role to play in a team. I think it’s really important that no matter what level someone is, that they are accessible to everyone within their business. I have missed the opportunity to have a big team meeting with everyone in one room, and being able to problem-solve, the good old-fashioned way is something I really won’t take for granted again. Having said that, I will most certainly keep in the habit of using digital tools to collaborate and work with my team regardless of whether I am working from home or in the office.
We will certainly be keeping our current hybrid working model when we return to a `more normal` environment. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing a working from home model suit some of our employees very well and we have seen people blossom in this new working routine and environment.
Lastly, I’m excited about & looking forward to our Christmas party in 2021. We will find a way to celebrate together this year as well, but I’m looking forward to finding a way to make next year’s celebration even better.
- If you could go back to the beginning of 2020, what piece of advice would you give to yourself?
If I could go back to the start of 2020 I would tell myself to book this year’s family holiday abroad for February half term instead of October half term. Nobody could have planned for the global pandemic but I would have reminded myself not to underestimate the power of communication – both about our ongoing delivery to our clients and also for our employees’ wellbeing.
- What would be your prediction for the industry in 2021?
I don’t think we will return to pre-pandemic road traffic volumes in 2021. This will mean that road traffic accidents will not return to the levels they were at before the pandemic, and neither will motor claims volumes. This will again contribute to making motor claims a very competitive market in 2021, as it has been in 2020.
I believe mergers & acquisitions will be strong across our industry in the new year, as businesses will come together to be stronger in what will continue as a tough year for many organisations. Lastly, I predict we will continue to see more investment in automation and digitalisation across the industry so that businesses can find ways to work and deliver better results more effectively.Tweet