Howden Professional Indemnity Pi magazine - issue 2


George Orwell’s 1984 demonstrated that no matter how strong the controls and penalties, individuals will stray from the path – particularly if they’ve failed to buy into the prevailing culture.

Very few firms will choose to implement an Orwellian culture but, as the banking crisis of 2007 demonstrated, even businesses with supposedly rigorous procedures in place can be affected by the ‘few’ who choose, for whatever reason, to break the rules.

So what really defines risk in a business? Certainly, well implemented procedures have a role to play; but ultimately it’s the people – not just employees but all key stakeholders, from clients to suppliers – and the culture. The two are of course intrinsically linked. To build a strong culture, whether at a macro or micro level, people have to share its values.

So, for those opening this edition of Pi magazine and asking why it focuses almost exclusive on people, their selection, their management and their protection, you have your answer.

Technology is playing an increasingly important role in helping us not only understand where risk lies but also how to control it by forcing the adoption of a particular process. However, while some parts of the professional services sector lend themselves to a more transactional approach with limited human interaction, for the most part we all work in industries where the quality of the service is defined by the people or team providing it.

A demotivated, inexperienced or badly managed team or individual is still, I suspect, the most common root cause of a professional negligence allegation. This explains why it is so vital that firms focus on getting their people right. Not just the right people in the right jobs but people who are supported, equipped and encouraged to do a great job, because great jobs should mean happy clients and  happy clients are less likely to make allegations of negligence.

Finally, I would like to thank all those who have contacted us to congratulate us on the first edition of Pi magazine. Good feedback is great to receive but comments as to what we can do better will help ensure that this magazine really does cover the topics you want to hear about, so do get in touch. 


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