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Reuben Overmark’s ABIversary Reflections

In a few weeks, I will be celebrating my one-year anniversary at the ABI! It has been a great ride, with some fantastic colleagues. I have enjoyed meeting with members across the country and getting a chance to dig deeper into some complex policy issues. For this blog post I thought I would discuss three things that I have learned about the insurance, savings and investment industries that have surprised me over the past year. 

Green Finance 

The remit of my job at the ABI covers most accumulation issues in the long-term savings space, including investment innovation and patient capital. While I am passionate about environmental issues it was not until I started working at the ABI that I realised my pension could be invested in assets which would benefit the environment. It therefore came as a pleasant surprise when I was tasked with writing our response to a consultation on investment innovation and was able to use my voice, through the ABI, to help get green infrastructure projects off the ground. The ABI has helped lead Government, regulators and industry on climate issues and recently established a cross-organisational team on green finance and climate change, to allow us to take a more proactive and comprehensive approach to climate issues, please contact Alisa Dolgova for more information. 

Helping vulnerable customers 

I did not fully appreciate the work industry does to help customers with various vulnerabilities until I started working at the ABI, and I did not understand how a person can shift in and out of being vulnerable until it happened to myself. Last fall, as I was conducting a survey on the industry’s work on vulnerability and organising a working group meeting on the topic, my family dog of more than 16 years, Lennon, passed away. A family dog is a cherished part of any family, Lennon when he died had been around for the majority of my life and I thought of him as a four-legged, furry brother. While I did not realise it at the time, I became vulnerable due to the loss and I can only imagine the difficulties of people going through death, divorce and other crises. Looking back, my reasoning was impacted and thus, I have a newfound appreciation for the work the industry does and the training customer service agents go through (over 2 or more years) to properly assist all customers. If you would like to learn more about our work to help vulnerable customers, please contact Holly Singleton

Providing customers with peace of mind financially 

An issue that has taken up quite a bit of my time recently is savings adequacy and ensuring individuals have enough saved for a retirement that may last 30+ years. Being able to save for the long-term has always been a pride for me, a symbol of my own financial empowerment and I was saddened and worried to learn in my first few weeks in this job that there are an estimated 11.9 million people in the UK who are under-saving for their retirement. Over the coming months I will continue working with our members to develop a position for the ABI on savings adequacy and how to best implement the recommendations of the 2017 Automatic Enrolment Review. Please get in touch if you would like to contribute to this process. 

I am looking forward to the next year at the ABI and continuing to work on these and other issues. We are always more than happy to hear members views on issues and if there is anything on your radar that you think we should be working on. Never hesitate to email or pick up the phone if you should ever need anything. 

Last updated 20/06/2019