Ian Ferguson, Customer Solutions and Digital Director, Aviva

Scotland’s insurance market is diversifying, creating a host of opportunities for motivated professionals with strong people skills looking to explore new career paths in this exciting sector.

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Ian Ferguson, Aviva

06/03/2015

Meet the expert

I've had a very varied career in insurance which has enabled me to move from programme management jobs to technical jobs to major sales jobs. My current role is Customer Solutions and Digital Director for Aviva in Perth, which involves creating new propositions for our business customers and driving innovative digital solutions into the market.

The insurance industry in Scotland

Scotland has a strong history in financial services and the universities here are producing graduates with particular strengths in risk analysis, actuarial skills and financial literacy, all of which are vital to the insurance industry.

Insurance is a 'people' business and the type of people we have in Scotland are definitely 'people's people!’ There’s also a cosmopolitan atmosphere here where people have a good awareness of innovation and bring that creative thought into the industry.

Looking at emerging strengths, we have a really exciting area of potential development in bringing together our financial, actuarial and data skills with the digital strengths that are coming through from our universities.

Insuring high standards

Scotland has a very strong actuarial base, led by the Scottish Financial Risk Academy and the Actuarial Research Centre, and the insurance industry also has support from the Chartered Insurance Institute. There are lots of financial services infrastructures here too which help insurance businesses.

In terms of industry leaders, both David McMillan and Euan Munro of Aviva are highly innovative and engaging people doing incredibly high-powered jobs while continuing to live here in Scotland. David McMillan is CEO of Aviva Europe and Chairman of Aviva Healthcare worldwide and is driving major change right across the insurance industry in Europe. Euan Munro, Chief Executive of Aviva Investors, manages hundreds of billions of pounds through investment portfolios, as well as putting major innovation into the management of investment funds.

Working in Scotland's insurance sector

There are excellent opportunities in Scotland to come and work with some great companies - Aviva, esure and Tesco Bank all have bases here - as well as top-class universities. There’s good government support and you can also have a fantastic quality of life while being within a one hour flight of London - the leading insurance market in the world.

I’d like to see more people who could bring digital skills and actuarial skills together. We need to explore how we can create creative customer solutions by combining these two disciplines, so there are lots of exciting opportunities in this area in particular.

In a personal sense, Scotland offers the chance to have a full life where you can be skiing or hillwalking at the weekend and then in the middle of crucial financial negotiations by Monday morning. That’s a great balance, and the perfect antidote to a really exciting and vigorous professional life. I’ve worked and studied in places all over the world but I’ve always come back to Scotland.

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