With more than 10 years worth of industry experience ,Michael Jacksonjoined MERJE in December, mere weeks before Lockdown 3.0, to establish our new Broking & Claims offering.
In our latest MERJE Markets, Michael explains what his new role entails, while sharing the most up-to-date insights across the Broking & Claims sector and, not least, the impact of the current health crisis.
You joined MERJE in early December 2020. How have you found settling into a new business during this challenging time and what is your perception of the business one month in?
Settling in to MERJE has been fantastic, everybody has been so welcoming and supportive from the moment I entered the office. MERJE is very similar to me, that’s probably the reason I have hit the ground running. I care about my clients and candidates alike across the UK and MERJE shares the same professionalism too.
My first month has been amazing, while I appreciate that we have to be sensitive towards our clients and candidates at this time, my desk has been in high demand as Broking, Claims and Insurance personnel are always needed.
You came to MERJE to set up our new Broking and Claims offering. Firstly, for our readers, what exactly does your area encompass and what are the types of roles which you recruit into?
Where do I start?! My sectors cover a wide range of opportunities. I work on roles with small, independent and national brokers from Administration (account handlers) through to heads of office. In addition, I also work across Claims and Sales related opportunities. Claims is the forefront of my sector and, with this, I specialise in First Notice of Loss through to Recovery (cradle to grave), including senior level hires across Legal (Paralegal & Fee Earning), Broking, Insurance and Loss Adjusting, and many other roles in between.
Why MERJE and what attracted you to setting up a new division?
I was approached six years ago to work for MERJE but I had already agreed to join my previous employer to set up and grow an Insurance & Claims desk which, after much blood, sweat and tears, ended up being a very successful offering. However, I felt that that journey had come to an end and the opportunity to take on the same project again at MERJE is something which doesn’t become available every day.
MERJE already has a fantastic name in the Financial Lines markets and, given the fact that I would be joining a business who pride themselves on providing an excellent level of service, it was a very easy decision.
Things have already started off positively and anybody who knows me is aware that I am full of tenacity, drive and energy. I am determined to make my sector be successful by offering a fantastic service to all candidates and clients across the UK, while complementing the other experts within MERJE as a business.
How has the Broking & Claims market been impacted by Covid-19 and what do you think are the medium to longer term implications?
Initially, during Lockdown 1.0, the market almost came to a standstill which was very scary. However, as a nation people came together to support each other, not just in my sectors but across all networks.
Once the correct measures and strategies were put in motion, I noticed a slight increase in roles and demand by clients. Now, under Lockdown 3.0, I have seen my clients adapt to what is required to keep staff and the public safe by offering home working roles and that has had a positive impact across Insurance, Broking and Claims roles, as well as other sectors within MERJE.
You have been in recruitment for almost 11 years and have a great reputation in your market. What would you say is the key to your success?
My philosophy is quite basic really, just be nice. What I mean is to treat every candidate and client with the utmost respect, treat everybody, no matter what experience they have or where they are in their employment, as you would want to be treated yourself.
It also helps to have a never-give-up attitude. At times, recruitment is like a rollercoaster; some days you are up and some days you are down. But by believing in yourself and having a positive outlook on life you should never be disappointed with your work. Positivity breeds positivity and most colleagues who work with me or have previously worked alongside me will say that I never give up and that I always have a smile on my face.
The recruitment industry has changed significantly during your 11 years, with increased competition, direct hiring and the use of social media to attract talent directly. How do you set yourself apart from your competitors and how do you look to evolve and adapt in this ever changing industry?
Respect is something I have instilled in myself from my first days in recruitment. I have always been a caring person who would see the good in people. If you give a candidate or client the best service possible then they will recommend your services to others and with a name like mine, you have to go above and beyond at all times because it’s not exactly a name people will easily forget!
It’s fair to say, 2020 was a year like no other. How has Covid-19 and the events of the past year changed your outlook on a personal and/or professional level?
For me, 2019 was the year which made the biggest impact on my life. I was, unfortunately, the Manchester United fan stabbed in Paris on March 6th, 2019 after we played PSG in the Champions League. People say that I was a hero for what I did because I saved an innocent female fan’s life, which resulted in me being attacked, stabbed in the chest and fighting for my life.
Since then I have felt truly thankful to my family, friends, colleagues and clients across the UK for their support, something I will never forget. If anything, it has changed my perspective on life, my career and everything I do. When Covid-19 hit Europe and the UK, while it did impact my desk, it reaffirmed the notion that life is so precious.
The year of 2020 started very well for me, but then April 2020 arrived, along with the Coronavirus pandemic, and I looked into the sky one day and said whatever next? However, I have continued to support and show empathy to others as much as I can, including clients and candidates, and I feel that, slowly but surely, the economy is starting to pick up momentum.
We go into 2021 with the Covid-19 vaccine rollout and, hopefully, a return to some normality. What three things are you hoping for in 2021?
The biggest thing I am hoping for is that people will be allowed to heal properly following on from the pandemic. It’s been such a traumatic and upsetting time for many people in the UK and around the globe.
Secondly, I would like to grow my desk in Broking & Claims, my presence at MERJE and across all of my markets to show potential and existing clients what fantastic services we offer as a whole.
Thirdly, it would be amazing to watch Manchester United lift the Premier League trophy for the 21st time, but that’s more than hoping, that would be a miracle!
Finally, what would people be surprised to learn about you?
Throughout my life I have experienced the highs and lows of having a name like Michael Jackson, but people will be even more surprised to hear that my mum really is called Janet Jackson! I also grew up with a friend called Gary Barlow and my ex-colleague is called Tom Daly. All true!
If you would like to talk to Michael in more detail about the Broking & Claims arena or your specific recruitment requirements, please get in touch with him for a chat: firstname.lastname@example.org