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Lisa Bartlett on the second act of Crawford & Co’s strategic agenda

Lisa Bartlett on the second act of Crawford & Co’s strategic agenda | Insurance Business UK

“Are we really making the progress [as a sector] that we say we are?”

Lisa Bartlett on the second act of Crawford & Co's strategic agenda


By Mia Wallace

In the early days of her tenure as president, UK & Ireland of Crawford & Company, Lisa Bartlett (pictured) laid out the strategic agenda which has underpinned the evolution of the claims management firm ever since.

When first announced, this strategy and its laser focus on people, was seen as quite radical across the insurance industry, noted Bartlett – who took on an additional promotion to become COO, international operations of Crawford in October 2023. What has been interesting to see, she said, is how the talent-centricity of her agenda has resonated with the market and is being reflected across the sector.

She looked to the reception Crawford received at the recent BIBA Conference 2024 as a visible reminder of how Crawford has brought its people-first strategy to life. The business is in great shape, she said, but that’s a checkpoint and a foundation on which the firm is now looking to grow further, not the end result.

Bartlett on the second stage of Crawford’s strategy

The next iteration of Crawford’s strategic plan is already underway, but it’s still centred on the same principles – delivering for its people and its clients, and continuing to grow the business. As for what’s next, Bartlett emphasised the firm’s ongoing investment in the Lloyd’s and London markets where it’s looking to do much more London market business globally. 

“In our corporate client practice, we’re focusing on developing our proposition for corporate clients and bringing on more corporate clients,” she said. “Wayne Brand is running that division for me and we’ve put all of our industry experts together to push on and further develop that proposition. Then in our industry practices or specialty business, we’ve got plans to grow in marine, construction and cyber. We’ve got big plans to double that business within the next two to three years.”

A core area of focus remains the evolution of the Crawford Academy, which Bartlett established in the very early days of her tenure as president. Since its inception, it has gone from strength to strength, and expanded to include Crawford’s European operation. In addition, the programme recently received accreditation from the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) which she noted fits with the firm’s stated ambition to deliver a consistent service across the entire organisation.

“The Crawford Academy bringing the UK and Europe together in this way by sharing programmes shows that we want to do things one way, for the benefit of the client, and to deliver a truly differentiated experience,” she said. “What’s really exciting for us is that the Crawford Academy is now bringing talent into the business. People are choosing Crawford because of the Academy, and it has taken four years to get to that point but it’s happening all the time now. This has been a massive investment.”

What’s next on Crawford’s strategic agenda?

For Bartlett and her team, the question is always “what’s next “– a question thrown into particularly sharp relief during the recent BIBA conference. Having the opportunity to catch up with the wider market affirmed her conviction that the time is right for less talk and more action on crucial market matters, including technology and talent.

“There’s a lot of discussion about talent, for example, and I’m proud of the work we’re doing at Crawford,” she said. “But I do wonder whether that’s enough. Are we really making the progress [as a sector] that we say we are? Are we really investing to get the next generation of talent ready, given the ageing workforce that we’re all facing?

“The same is true around technical expertise and the role of technology. There is a real demand for very technical expertise and new areas of expertise as well, with AI remaining a hot topic. Again, I think that falls into too much talk and not enough action because these conversations are not really being meaningfully integrated into many areas of proposition.”

How the insurance industry can blaze new trails

From her time at the conference, Bartlett said she believes this is not just a Crawford-centric realisation but one for the wider industry to embrace. It’s time to reinvent the way the market grapples with existential threats and opportunities, she said, and to start finding new ways to translate conversations into action.

 “What I would like to see more of in BIBA 2025 would be the market focusing on building new relationships and partnerships as well as nurturing existing ones,” she said. “I’d like to see us all display more innovation, more technology, and new propositions so we can really start moving the dial. I think there’s an opportunity here for people to do things differently, and making real changes to allow us to focus on what’s next is the key to that.”

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