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Hannah Gurga delivers speech at SFE London Summer Reception

Hannah at SFE event.pngThank you Sandy and good evening everyone. It’s an honour to join you tonight and I’m grateful to SFE for the invitation to say a few words.

While we may be in London, I am going to be unapologetic in my praise of Scotland. And unapologetic in my praise for the strong and steadfast links between Scotland and the City of London, which share a proud history of collaboration as well as an enduring spirit of innovation.

Television. Tarmac. Telephones. Toasters. Refrigerators. ATMs. Penicillin. Steam trains.

Every one of these is a Scottish invention. And I have not even mentioned the Spinning Jenny, the device that kick-started the entire industrial revolution. 

For centuries, Scotland has been a nation of innovators and inventors – visionary thinkers who have transformed the lives of billions around the globe.

This spirit lives on in Scotland’s world-class universities, its businesses and one of its largest industries – the industry that I have the privilege to represent – insurance and long term savings.

Today we need that spirit more than ever.

Because today we stand at a crossroads of profound transformation. The landscape of finance is rapidly evolving, and our industry is being shaped by powerful forces: the advent of digital technology, changing expectations of customers and the pressing need for a more sustainable future.

These forces challenge us as an industry, but more importantly they present us with an enormous opportunity: to help reshape our society and our infrastructure in a sustainable direction whilst transforming the lives of the citizens and communities around us for the better.

Let me tell you how I believe Scotland and our industry can drive this transformation.

There are three key ingredients:

  • Innovation.
  • Talent.
  • And investment.

Scotland is a land of innovation. From the birth of the industrial revolution, where steam and steel sparked a new era, to the shipbuilding prowess that transformed global trade, Scotland has innovated, invented and adapted to change.

But innovation is not just about technological advances. It is also about investment in our most valuable resource: our people. Initiatives like the SFE’s Skills Action Plan and the ABI’s DEI Blueprint are vital if we are to nurture the next generation of talent, and strengthen the skills that the financial services industry needs to continue to grow, compete and to thrive.

Investment is also vital to the success of our industry, our economy and our society.  

Solar farms.

Off-shore wind.

Eco-friendly care homes.

Electric buses.

On-street electric vehicle chargers. 

These are just some of the examples of how ABI members are already investing, in Scotland and elsewhere across the UK.

The new Solvency UK regime, which will be implemented over the course of 2024, has the potential to unlock £100bn for insurers to invest in good and green infrastructure.

To support our members, the ABI has taken a bold step. We have launched a new initiative – the Investment Delivery Forum.

It will be a catalyst for driving more investment into infrastructure projects across the UK. Projects that deliver the best possible outcomes for customers, the economy and our environment.

The Forum is chaired by Baroness Nicky Morgan, and has seven founding members: Aviva, Rothesay, M&G, Phoenix, Scottish Widows, Royal London, and Just. It brings together industry leaders with government, devolved and local authorities and other key partners including the Scottish National Investment Bank. The aim is:

  • To identify the projects that need investment;
  • To develop a shared understanding of the needs of insurers when acting as investors;
  • And to explore how financing can be structured to create the greatest opportunities for the insurance sector and the society it serves.

Of course, the power of our industry extends beyond the physical infrastructure we can build. Each investment we make has the potential to create jobs, fuel  growth and enable communities to flourish. Each policy we write, each pension we manage, is a promise of a secure future – not just for the individual, but for society as a whole.

So, my friends, let me leave you this thought. We are more than just insurers, bankers, or pension providers. We are innovators, creators, and custodians of the future.  

I am proud to be part of this vibrant industry, and to embark with you on this journey of innovation and impact. Together, we can build a future that reflects the best of our past and shines with the promise of our potential.

Thank you.

Last updated 20/07/2023