Following her promotion to partner in May this year, we asked Louise Carroll to take some time out from her day to tell us about what she does and why she particularly likes working with BLM’s London Market clients.
Perhaps we can start by you introducing yourself Louise and telling us about some of things you do at BLM?
I have been at BLM for nearly ten years and was recently promoted, becoming a Partner at the firm. I am part of the London Casualty & Motor team. We cover a broad range of classes within this practice area, my own expertise laying in Employers Liability, Public Liability, and Health and Safety. More specifically, I generally deal with high value complex injury claims. Being based in London, I have developed a good level of understanding of the London Market and their working methodologies and in particular, an in-depth understanding of the corporate risks market. This knowledge has enabled me to advise outside of claims work on single and multiparty policy and contractual matters.
How will your promotion to Partner change your daily working life?
Case work and the like will be very much as before. The real changes for me will be access to opportunities that will help shape the future direction of the firm, developing our service initiatives and the business relationships that we continue to build to meet the equally changing challenges they face. Internally, this promotion will allow me to act as a mentor for those on their own career paths within BLM.
Clearly your work sees you covering a broad spectrum of issues. Are there a few that are currently very much front-of-mind for you and your clients?
BLM has covered the Civil Liability Bill extensively via blogs and articles. A particular concern has been the much-publicised discount rate changes. The original changes on 20 March 2017 had a largely negative impact on our clients, especially on the higher value personal injury claims. This has and continues to be vociferously debated on all sides and is a topic for regular conversation.
The new GDPR requirements are now in place. It is something that concerns every one of us, personally and professionally. I am sure things will gently transition into a business as usual mode fairly soon. But, in the days leading up to deadline day and the weeks immediately following, it is still a matter that is concerning many of our clients.
Brexit continues to rumble along. We still see a lot of uncertainty around the future loss of passporting rights and access to the European Single Market. Two of the key issues being presented to us are about how clients will trade cross-border and then, should there be resulting disputes, how they will be dealt with.
The issues you’ve flagged above are common across all areas of the sector. Putting your London Market hat on, are there any which you see as more of a priority for them?
Cyber risks have to be the number one standout matter that almost all our London Market clients raise at some point or another. Whilst I don’t generally cover these risks but refer to expert colleagues who do, it is important that we are fully appraised to the emerging risks that are confronting our clients and thereby ensure we are able to respond intelligently across the firm.
The London Market is undergoing its own transformation in claims with an agenda to meet excellence in its operating models, ensuring claims are handled as efficiently and effectively as possible. By harnessing the vast data these claims can create, we are able to use advanced tools to analyse the data which can assist in spotting key trends and patterns.
If we could add one wish into these improvements, then it would be to see much greater uniformity in how information is held and then shared centrally within the Market. Achieving this would, in my opinion, help to take a lot of friction out of the process. We see many pockets of ambition to achieve this, but it still feels like it is a way off full implementation.
You mention harnessing data. We are aware of the initiatives you have running within BLM, in particular the joint venture with the London School of Economics. Could you share some thoughts on what BLM is doing?
None of us can escape (nor should we) from the capabilities that using data allows us to enhance. A key aspect of BLM’s strategic ambition is to provide an innovative offering shaped around the advanced analytics capability brought into the firm in 2017, starting with the appointment of Andrew Dunkley. The announcement of this partnership with the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), in which a team of three professors will work with BLM, further accelerates this capability. The team will develop prediction models to guide BLM’s advice to its clients, as well as more sophisticated approaches to value litigation risk, improve decision-making and better manage portfolios of litigation risk.
As a brief example of this in action and going back to my earlier comments about discount rates, the availability of such data tools means we are now able to make informed decisions, earlier in the process of a claim’s life regarding defence decisions , and at what levels to settle.
You previously mentioned how you’ve spent a good deal of your career at BLM working within the London Market. What is it about the Market and those working in it that you really like?
If I was to encapsulate that into one word it would be diverse. I love the wide range of organisations that I work with, big corporation or smaller niche business, each with their own character. I love the diversity of work and challenges that it throws up, no two days ever feel the same. Internally, this means I can dip back into our own equally diverse areas of expertise. Be it our non-London Market colleagues working across our UK & Ireland branches or those supporting our fast-growing international legal network, there is always someone on-hand to help.
As soon as I began working with our London Market clients, I was struck by how much of a community of like-minded people it was. I am pleased to say that, in the intervening years, none of this has diminished on my part, and despite all the advances in the Market, this character trait hasn’t changed within our clients either. Understanding this and adding something to the Market is still as important today and, in my opinion, will be for a long time to come.
To test your proper London Market knowledge... with a rich coffee-based heritage within EC3, where’s your favourite place for a caffeine hit?
Easy choice. Taylor Street Baristas in Botolph Alley is a hidden gem.
And finally, three words that for you describe BLM and its relationship with the London Market
Trusted – Respected - Involved
Louise Carroll is based at BLM’s London offices in Plantation Place, in the heart of the London Insurance Market.