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Sam Newman - Expert Spotlight

What is your role now since leaving corporate life?

My company is called Light The Spark. I help businesses sell more stuff to more people and businesses.

I do that in three ways:

  1. Direct assistance with business development - connecting clients to people I know in the industry who need, or could use, what they offer

  2. Helping clients understand what people and businesses working in insurance need, what is going on in that world, how to approach and talk to them.

  3. Helping people come up with new ideas and new ways of reaching people, getting their message “out there”.

Working with me on business development achieves results faster and more easily, with greater insight and understanding. It saves clients a lot of time and hassle!

I spend a lot of my time drinking coffee (well, Diet Coke or wine, actually) listening to people talk about what they are up to. I find it absolutely fascinating, learn a lot by listening, and am often able to help with ideas or connections.

How long have you been a Camelot Expert?

I joined at the end of 2021. I was delighted when David Clamp asked me to take on the role of Lead Expert Ambassador in June 2022 - I work (very!) part-time, putting in place events and activities for our Experts, and making sure they get what they want from their membership.

Have you been a panel Expert on any Road Tests?

I’ve done quite a few since joining Camelot - they’re great fun. It’s a really good way to understand what our Corporate Partners have to offer. It is also very useful when I am talking to my clients!

One common theme is that Corporate Partners usually have a product with (for the sake of argument) 100 amazing features - and they are keen to talk about ALL of them whenever they have the opportunity to meet someone. I think that’s a big mistake - it’s too much to take in.

My advice is to work out which 3 or 4 features are your USP (Unique Selling Point), the things that will really make a difference - and concentrate on those. You can do the other 96 features once you have someone on the hook.

Areas of expertise?

Business development, sales, marketing, customers

Highest/proudest/most recognisable previous role

I think that covers my 10+ years at Hiscox, really! I had three roles while there, and they were all high profile, highly visible roles with lots of direct contact with brokers - that’s how I built up my network.

My first role was as Product Head for Emerging Professional Indemnity - where I focussed on understanding what policyholders wanted/needed, and then found ways to bring it to life for them and for brokers. I mainly do this by telling stories, and giving examples of really interesting professions. “Intimacy Co-ordinator” - helping actors navigate sex-scenes on stage/screen - who knew?!

Then I was Regional Manager for the Maidenhead office, responsible for a team of underwriters in both HNW and Commercial business. This involved a lot of liaison on a daily basis with brokers, understanding their needs and concerns.

After that I became Head of Marketing for both Brokers and Partnerships. Same role - understanding what brokers and policyholders want/need, but working differently to support them.

There’s a theme running through what I have done throughout my career, in whatever role and industry, and in what I do now. I try to understand what the retailer/broker wants and needs, understand what *their* end customer wants and needs, and then look for ways to help that retailer/broker achieve their aims - growing my business as a result. In a nutshell, listening, talking, coming up with ideas.

How long have you been doing this subject/area?

I’ve been working in sales/business development for big names (Procter & Gamble, Mars Confectionery, Pepsico, BBC Worldwide, Hiscox) for 30+ years - but only “fell” into insurance in 2011. So around 13 years in the insurance world - love it.

What is your company name? Light the Spark Limited

Do you have a website?

What is your LinkedIn profile URL?

Please can you provide some examples of recent projects that you’ve worked on?

I have introduced one of my clients to several of the networks of brokers and AR’s in the industry, opening doors to senior people and getting them set up as an official, recommended supplier to those networks. I have also facilitated the opportunity for my client to attend the network conferences and events, and helped them create and deliver training to those brokers/AR’s.

In another example, I was aware of an insurer with a very specific challenge they were facing - and I knew one of my clients could assist with it. Using my relationship with that insurer, I introduced my client and set up meetings to explore things further, making sure my client was fully briefed/prepared. It’s still relatively early days, but my client is now actively engaged in developing a business opportunity where none previously existed.

I open doors for my clients, getting them real and significant business opportunities quickly and effectively that they can then take further for themselves. I “light the spark”.

What is your USP? What makes your business approach unique?

It’s all about my relationships - the people I know. I spend a lot of time talking to my friends in the industry, understanding their challenges. Often I have ideas that can help - that I give away for free. Why would I not help my friends? Sometimes I am lucky that those ideas “match” with a client for whom I work. The more I talk to people, understand their problems, the luckier I seem to get!

Do you have a favourite quote?

SUMO: shut up and move on

I saw Paul McGee - - talk at a conference some years ago and loved his approach. Life will always bite you on the bum - when it does, you are entitled to sulk (“hippo time” - wallow in the mud of misery) for a period of time. But keep it short and snappy, then shut up and move on - because after the initial wallow, it gets you nowhere. Love it.

Any professional goals for the upcoming year?

Make a difference to more people.

I do that for my friends in the industry, for my clients, for Camelot Experts, and in my voluntary roles (Enterprise Adviser for a school, Parish Councillor, Home Visitor for a cat charity). Helping people with ideas and connections, getting things done - that makes me happy.

And… last but not least, how does being a Camelot Expert help you/or add value to your business?

Being a part of Camelot gives me access to lots of lovely people to talk to and meet! I try to meet every Expert when they join - to help them and make sure they get the most from their membership. I love it when I see it work for them, helping them in their businesses.

I also get access to all the Corporate Partners, who want help getting into the industry. Some of them have products and solutions I really like - so I have the opportunity to offer them my services to open doors quickly and effectively. That’s really valuable for me.

If you’d like to network with our members, register for our next Camelot Connect

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