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On the Bright side

I ended up in this industry as a result of a three-week rugby tour to the US. At the end of the tour, I missed my plane home (don’t ask), met a girl, married her and, having obtained my Green Card, followed the very pointed advice of my new mother-in-law to “find a proper job”.

I began working for Transamerica Occidental Life in Los Angeles as a trainee underwriter. I left them six years later as a senior underwriter working on large group medical insurance plans.

In 1987, my wife and I (and our two-year-old son) returned to the UK and I spent a year with Allied Dunbar in Swindon. It was quite a change of direction for me to work as a consultant in its life marketing department.

Much of my role involved coaching and training the Dunbar associates to improve their sales of individual and business protection. What I learned there helped lay some very solid foundations for my career later on.

My other half was also working for Dunbar as a broker consultant. That job really appealed to me so I decided to try something similar to help to broaden my new sales skills.

I was recruited by Scottish Provident as a life inspector (remember them?) in its Bristol office and thoroughly enjoyed two years “on the road” in Somerset.

During that time, I concentrated on pensions and, being something of an anorak, I was pretty strong on the technical aspects of all the schemes in those days.

As a result, I was asked to take on a pension consultant role in the Birmingham pensions office working on employer schemes of various shapes and sizes.

That was a great role for me, combining salesmanship and technical knowhow in one package.

In 1993, following its purchase of Prolific Life and Pensions, Scottish Provident decided to expand its marketing department in Edinburgh and I was asked to take on the role of pensions marketing manager.

As the role was to be based in Edinburgh, it was a big decision for me to up sticks from Bristol and head north but it is one I have never regretted.

I managed the pension marketing team until 1996, when the company stopped selling pensions and investments and concentrated on protection.

My role then became defunct and so I moved back into sales to set up the IFA training operation. That was an incredibly exciting time as we were marketing a revolutionary new protection product and helping advisers with the steep learning curve to get to grips with it.

In April 2002, I joined Bright Grey and have been running our intermediary training and development team ever since.

I love my job and work with brilliant people. My dad died very young, leaving my mum and five kids with very little life cover, so I have always been passion- ate about the need to protect families properly.

After a long career in the industry, it was a huge privilege to be part of the team that helped launch Bright Grey. More importantly, the business has grown immensely in the last six years.

Obviously, we are pleased to be successful in the competitive protection market but I take more personal pleasure from knowing that we are helping advisers to protect their clients adequately.

It is always a challenge and I have to deploy all the skills I have acquired in the last 28 years. I love it.

Robin Carr is intermediary development manager at Bright Grey

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