UK Broker ‘Unsung Hero’ Award 2014
Mary Holt is Free Spirit’s Manager who joined the company in 2000. On the 5th September 2014, Mary was recognised for her hard work and dedication by being awarded the UK Broker ‘Unsung Hero’ Award 2014. The judges were moved by Mary’s tireless pursuit to help medically ill people get travel insurance. On receiving the award Mary said: “I’m very honoured. On a day-to-day basis the award doesn’t mean a great deal to my work – but it is the best thing that has ever happened to me.”
Much of Mary’s work involves delivering insurance solutions to people struggling to purchase travel insurance due to health problems. Mary’s empathy with clients is unprecedented. Bearing in mind these trips are often needed to aid recovery from surgery, travel for complex treatments, or in some cases a last trip; such conversations are not easy and it takes a special person to really get people with, for example, a terminal medical condition, to open up.
In a recent interview with Insurance Age, Mary said: “she has always taught people to work with compassion, asking ‘if the boot were on the other foot, how would you hope to be treated?'”
The following comment comes from one of our underwriters: “there are few within the industry that work so conscientiously and with such dedication to ensure colleagues, customers and suppliers receive an unparalleled service…….. Her ability to draw information around complex medical information to ensure underwriters can properly underwrite the risk so as to allow those customer’s to travel within the UK or abroad, never ceases to amaze”
Treating customers fairly is at the heart of everything Mary does. This is reflected through her interaction with her colleagues, many of whom are now close friends. She is approachable and willing to listen as well as hard working and ever present.
It is fair to say that Mary has been personally responsible for advance in travel medical underwriting, which has enabled numerous families and individuals to enjoy ‘dream’ holidays to destinations that would previously been impossible, due to a lack of understanding of medical conditions and risks in a sector which has traditionally taken a rather blunt approach to underwriting.
Having fought and won a battle with a very serious illness herself; since returning to work the way she has applied that experience, underwriting knowledge and her natural gift to care about our customers, is an inspiration to us all. Mary says “I believe this has helped me in my work life to do my job better. It means I can apply empathy and think outside the box.”
Despite being over retirement age, Mary doesn’t show any signs of slowing down saying she won’t retire until other people make her! She said: “I’m not getting any younger, but at least I don’t feel any older.”