Artex Steps Forward London, England

Nov 20, 2020

Welcome to London, England

The 19th and final stop in our walk around the world.

We’re here! London is our final destination, bringing us full circle back to where we launched our journey at the beginning of September. Together we’ve walked nearly 28,000 miles!

We have a diverse team in London which covers a variety of areas for us.

Let’s start with Russell Mandel, Managing Director – London. Russell leads our London office, comprised of 12 talented insurance professionals, which operates under the name of Amber Insurance and Risk Management. This team manages bespoke insurance programs for major clients with particular expertise in franchise groups, including insurance placement, claims management and risk management. We asked Russell about one of his proudest moments, and he told us, “Overseeing the transition from managing claims for clients to also handling claims for the insurer. This involved upskilling a whole team and persuading the client/insurer to put faith in our abilities and appoint us.” When it comes to starting a career within insurance, Russell recommends, “Look after your clients and your clients will look after you. Operate with integrity, and present your boss with solutions rather than just problems.” When Russell isn’t in the office, you can find him keeping fit through football (soccer for the Americans), squash and cycling. He also is Chairman of the Board of Governor’s at Ronald McDonald House Oxford. Russell and the team in London are fabulous supporters of the Ronald McDonald House Charities UK, donating their time and money at various functions throughout the year.

Additionally, we have a second team in London, this one led by JB Crozet, Senior Vice President Advisory Services and Head of London for Horseshoe. JB’s small team specializes in ILS insurance management and advisory services, referring to the team as part of the foundational group that enables investors to take positions on catastrophe risks. For those entering the insurance field, JB offers the following advice: “Don’t forget that insurance is more than financial transactions. It is about helping people and businesses when they’re having tough times.” Born and raised in France, JB received his actuarial degree in Lyon, France and subsequently moved to London to earn a Fellowship at the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries and begin his actuarial career. Away from the office, JB is a very keen swimmer and trains 4-5 hours a week in the “masters” section of his local club, Greenwich Royals. He finds that this helps him switch off from work, although he admits that thinking about work sometimes helps go through the pain and boredom of long swim sets. He also enjoys mixing with people from different backgrounds and the fun of team trips, like “warm-weather training” in Spain or a lake swim in Scotland.

In London, we also have two members of our executive committee – Steve Thompsett and Andy Parsons. As Chief Operating Officer, Steve’s role enables the business to grow, create efficiencies and service our clients to the best of our abilities. This can include business integration, operational change, process improvement, and the implementation of effective governance and controls….to name a few. For newcomers, Steve’s advice is practical. “It can often feel like insurance has its own unique vocabulary. Never be afraid to ask someone to explain an insurance acronym/term to help demystify the phraseology….it is not always quite as complex as it might initially sound!” Outside of the office, you will inevitably find Steve on a bicycle. This year alone he will most likely tip the scales at over 9,500 miles on the bike. According to Steve, it gives him a sense of freedom and allows him to challenge himself both physically and mentally to feed his competitive nature. In April this year, Steve actually participated in a challenge on his static trainer in the attic to ride up the equivalent meters of Mount Everest for charity. That means that he climbed 8854 meters (including the actual incline, as if he was there); 134.5 miles; 10+ hours; and burned 6700 calories and 3 kgs of weight lost in 24 hours. Talk about dedication!

Last up, we’ve got Andy Parsons, HR Director. Andy is responsible for the people strategy across the global Artex landscape, including culture and engagement, reward and incentivisation, performance management, recruitment and retention, succession and talent development. Andy loves to spend time with his wife and two sons, and one of their favorite things to do is watch movies together, especially Marvel and Star Wars. He loves sports, including soccer and rugby, as well as American baseball (Go Cubs!) and American football – he even played on the four-time, national championship winning team in US Football, the Hull Sharks, while at University in the UK.

Fun facts about London:

  • 22% of Londoners say they speak a second language. In fact, there are over 300 languages spoken in London.
  • Big Ben is one of London’s most famous landmarks, but its actual name is “The Clock Tower.” Big Ben is the name of the bell.
  • Lloyd’s of London is regarded by many to the birthplace of modern insurance.
  • London blue plaques started in 1866 and is thought to be the oldest scheme of its kind in the world. Across the capital over 900 plaques are on both humble and grand buildings, honoring the notable men and women who have lived or worked in them. Interestingly there is only one blue plaque in the “Square Mile” (financial district), and it isn’t blue (it is terracotta). It is dedicated to Dr. Samuel Johnson, one of the greatest literary figures of the 18th century, known for writing the Dictionary of the English language.
  • London’s Underground system, called “The Tube”, used to be powered by steam trains, back in 1863 when it was launched, also making it one of the oldest underground systems in the world.. Electric trains weren’t introduced until 1890. They actually considered putting water in the underground system and using barges to move people, but that idea was eventually dismissed. Good thing, because more than half of the Underground really runs overground!
  • Parts of London have been inhabited since 4000BC.
  • London is a very diverse city, with 170 museums; 22,000+ musical performances a year; and more Indian restaurants than Mumbai! Check out these ideas for how to virtually explore this magnificent city.


Follow our journey, including our milestones, as we trek nearly 28,000 miles around the globe here.