It’s no secret that the insurance industry is competing in a ‘war for talent’ with many other professions.
Ours is a dynamic sector that offers rewarding careers, but is often overlooked by those entering the workplace in favour of sectors such as Law and Finance.
Eager to address this and bring new blood into the sector, we thought we’d highlight some of the fascinating characters who help make ours such a diverse, entertaining and interesting industry in which to work. First up, we meet with Paul Lawrence, MD of Lawrence Fraser Insurance Brokers. Paul is just coming to the end of his year acting as High Sheriff of West Yorkshire.
Richard Jones (RJ) – Hi Paul, great to meet up this morning. I’ve seen from your Twitter account (@HighSheriffWY) how busy you are, so thanks for your time. We’ve spoken about this a couple of times, but for our readers, what exactly is the Office of High Sheriff of West Yorkshire?
Paul Lawrence (PL) - The Office of High Sheriff is a Royal Appointment for 12 months and dates back to Saxon times when the HS (Shire Reeve) was responsible to the King for the maintenance of Law and Order within the Shire or County and the collection and return of Taxes due to the Crown. The HS receives no remuneration or expenses.
RJ - I had no idea it was Saxon Times, think of all the people who have preceded you! What are the modern day responsibilities?
PL - The High Sheriff supports the Judiciary, Police and Emergency Services in a ceremonial way, and hosts the High Court Judges that sit in Leeds & Bradford Crown Courts.
RJ – You don’t see positions like this in the Evening Post ‘situations vacant’ pages, how did it come about?
PL - I was asked if I would consider the role 4 years ago by the then High Sheriff.
RJ - I’ve seen your ceremonial outfit. How would you describe it and do you get a special Sheriff’s badge?!
PL - Male High Sheriffs wear 18th Century Court Dress with a Court Sword and Silver Buckle Shoes.
RJ – Well it looks very snazzy indeed. What would you say have been the highlights of your year in office?
PL - Meeting all the amazing people of West Yorkshire.....The unsung heroes who are doing amazing work for their community and the greater good.
RJ - What will you miss when your tenure ends?
PL - Reserved parking when attending events! It will be back to using car parks or getting the train and walking!
RJ – Such a big role must have changed you. What do you think you have learnt from your time as High Sheriff?
PL - The role has exceeded my expectations and I have met many people and seen many great community projects run by solid Yorkshire folk. The role has reinforced my view in the goodness in the majority of people.
RJ – Well that’s great to hear, you must have met such a diverse cross section of society. What’s next? Is there another big role on the horizon?
PL - After 6th April 2020 I intend to take a holiday and recharge my batteries. There is nothing on the horizon except the usual; family, work and enjoyment.
RJ – Yes, I can imagine you’re looking forward to a good break and to reflect on a fascinating 12 months. Have you any amusing anecdotes from your year?
PL - The school children in Ilkley who thought I was a superhero and had ridden to their school by Horse.......My wife soon put them right!
RJ – It’s an easy mistake to make I am sure! Have you any claims to fame you’ll be telling the grandkids?
PL - I once flew Concorde with Bill Gates.
RJ – Finally, if you weren’t an Insurance Broker, what would you be?
PL - With my excellent man-management skills, the world would be my Oyster.......But never an Underwriter...!
RJ – Less said the better there I think! Thanks so much for your time Paul, and congratulations on your year in office as the High Sheriff!