An interview with Steve Taylor-Gooby, managing director for the Tillinghast insurance consulting business of Towers Perrin.
Steve Taylor-Gooby, the managing director of Towers Perrin’s insurance consulting business, Tillinghast, is responsible for 36 offices and 6,000 employees worldwide. He advises the senior management of many of Europe’s leading multinational insurance companies.
His main objectives since joining the company in 1985 have been to ensure that it employs the best consultants and is constantly developing ideas to help improve clients’ businesses. This has included a focus on helping insurers embrace enterprise risk management and adapt to Solvency II. He has also worked hard to ensure Towers Perrin has the project management expertise to deliver on large-scale projects.
Today, his passion remains the same as when he joined the company – developing solutions to the key challenges facing the insurance sector.
Taylor-Gooby has a BSc with first-class honours in mathematics from Bristol University, and is a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries.
Choose four adjectives to describe yourself.
Strong-willed, impatient, sympathetic and fair.
Which historical figure do you most admire?
Mahatma Gandhi. He changed the lives of huge numbers of people without compromising his principles.
Who do you most admire in this industry?
Henri de Castries. He is the complete all-round chief executive officer.
What issue are you most passionate about away from work?
Trying to improve my own life, without interfering in the lives of others.
What qualities do you admire in others?
Honesty, straightforwardness and being willing to say what they’re thinking.
What qualities do you dislike?
Hypocrisy and cheating.
What do you wish you’d known when you started?
How much the insurance industry had to learn about risk management. I believe it is still the most important issue it needs to address.
What was the last thing that surprised you?
The speed with which the market attacked one bank after another when they were perceived to have a risk of failure.
How do you unwind?
What motivates you on a Monday morning?
My colleagues. I couldn’t have a brighter and more interesting bunch of people to work with.
Whose job would you like?
I’d stay put. Tillinghast has a lot going for it.
Your biggest regret?
Not learning to ski when I was still young and flexible.
What are you most proud of having achieved?
Devising the reconstructions of many with-profits funds, for the benefit of both policyholders and shareholders.
What factors have got you where you are today?
Luck, ability and hard work.