QBE's Jonathan Parry tells how he made it to the top

How did you make it to where you are today?

There is no magic formula. I’ve tried to keep my focus on honesty and dealing transparently with colleagues and clients. Despite reinsurance being an international business, success is determined by relationships: a clear and open manner is the only way to succeed.

What has changed the most?

I joined this market 29 years ago. It is now more professional and technically focused, and delivering results is key. Some may think that the loss of long lunches and short days is a negative, but I find it more rewarding.

What advice would you offer?

Reinsurance is a people business. Get to meet as many people as you can. Even if you only become friends with 10% of them, you will have a lot of very good friends.

What is your biggest mistake?

There may have been moments when I focused on keeping people happy rather than sticking with my instinct. Following the herd often leads you away from opportunities or into danger.

What was your biggest success?

When I trusted my instinct in 2006. I wrote US-exposed hurricane business when most of our competitors had lost their nerve.

What is your unique selling point?

I understand the importance of providing a good service to our brokers and clients.

What do you do to relax?

Sudoku – to keep the grey cells ticking over.

What is your favourite book/film/football team?

Catch 22/The Great Escape/Chelsea. GR

Jonathan Parry is managing director, reinsurance and specialist, of QBE European Operations