How professional services can weather the storm

October 2, 2020

As the region’s economy works to recover from the impact of coronavirus, Paul Jennings, chief executive of North P&I Club, explains how innovation and collaboration is the key to future success

As a business with a long history in the North East – 160 years, to be precise – we believe that our region has the strength, collaborative spirit and determination to come back fighting from coronavirus.

North P&I Club (North) has been based in the region since 1860, growing to become one of the world’s leading maritime insurers with over 12 per cent global market share – that means North insures one in every eight merchant ships that trade across the globe.

Like many long-established organisations in the professional services sector, we enjoy our fair share of historical quirks.

For example, like all of the leading global P&I Clubs, our year-end falls on February 20 every year – a date that, traditionally, sailing ships leaving the Tyne were taken from the winter lay-up and made ready to resume trade to ports in the Baltic.

From being at the heart of the global shipping trade, to becoming a hub of digital, scientific and manufacturing innovation, we’ve seen our region change beyond recognition.

What has remained consistent is the spirit of the people who live and work in the North East.

The determination to succeed, to overcome barriers and to find unique solutions to real-world problems is what characterises those of us in this region, especially in the professional services sector.

It’s this attitude that comes through time-and-time again in our business. We regularly survey our members and policyholders on what they value most about the service we provide, and the friendliness, hard work and warmth of our team top the list year-after-year.

Over the years, our service offering at North and our global office network have grown substantially but our business has remained grounded and headquartered where it all began – on the banks of the River Tyne.

Our purpose has always been the same too: to enable those we insure – shipowners, our members – to trade with confidence.

Our teams in the UK and overseas have demonstrated what it means to come together during challenging times, supporting each other and ensuring that our service to members remains unaffected.

It’s this spirit of comradeship and collaboration that will be key to the region in recovering from the economic impact of COVID-19. As businesses return to the workplace and we cautiously welcome the reopening of the wider economy, all of us in the North East must continue to bang the drum for our region.

We must work together, support each other through tough times, share vital insight on how best to weather what lies ahead, and consistently highlight the strengths the North East has to offer for businesses, partners and talent and to encourage more investment and governmental support for this great region.

Over the last 160 years, we’ve seen the professional services sector evolve and adapt to the changing needs of the global market. Now is the time for our region to demonstrate how adaptable and innovative we are. If we work together, we can and will emerge stronger from these challenging times– just as we have in the past.

North P&I

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