After originally joining financial services as a web programmer, Alan was quickly tempted by the dark side of financial services and became a protection adviser. Alan now runs Cura, a multi award-winning protection intermediary, specialising in hard-to-place protection cases, such as people with health conditions. Alan is also the current Chair of the Protection Distributors Group (PDG), member of the Executive team at the Income Protection Taskforce (IPTF) and member of the Access to Insurance Working Party.
Alan Lakey has been gainfully occupied in the industry since 1978. He's been a financial adviser since 1986 and started the acclaimed CIExpert system in 2012. He is an ex-Director of Adviser Alliance and an ex-Council member of APFA. He also spent eight unhappy years working for an assortment of insurers and distributors and is the winner of 20 awards for advisory excellence. He is the author of Growing Old Disgracefully, a biography of seminal ‘60s rock band The Pretty Things and recently wrote ‘Idiocy in Commercial Life: Practical Ways to Navigate Through Nonsense'.
With 35 years of financial services experience, Angela started her career at Barclays Bank, working 22 years before furthering her career as an independent mortgage and protection adviser. Becoming a business development manager at Royal London in 2014, and with Zurich in 2018, Angela started her own company ‘Passion for Protection’ in 2019 in which she provided protection sales training. Now in her role as Head of Protection at Mortgage Intelligence, her mission is to continue supporting advisers by fuelling great protection conversations that will result in more clients being protected.
An avid reader, Ted Talks follower and lifelong learner.
Debbie was appointed Chief Executive Officer of LifeSearch in November 2021. She leads the largest protection adviser in the UK, following a career as a strategic and global financial services executive.
Prior to joining LifeSearch, Debbie has built several protection businesses; including rebranding, new propositions and new operating models. She has a wealth of experience in the life insurance industry. She joined LV= as Protection MD in July 2019 from MLC Life Insurance, based in Melbourne, Australia where she was General Manager New Business & Change and was previously Chief Underwriting Officer. Debbie played a pivotal role as Group Head of Protection Strategy with Royal London. She was responsible for the successful rebrand and launch of Royal London Intermediary Protection in 2014.
Debbie has held a number of senior management positions at Direct Offices, Reinsurers and BPOs including Swiss Re, AXA and Capita. Her focus has been on creating innovative solutions for the Protection market. From first to market predictive underwriting solutions, to the creation of a condition specific product for customers with diabetes and those requiring mental health support. Debbie has a keen interest in the power of digital and data science, to make propositions relevant and engaging for today’s customers as well as customers of the future.
Debbie is an active supporter of the Protection industry and has Chaired the ABI Genetics Committee. She is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and holds a Masters in Leadership and Management, with a particular focus on leading virtual teams.
Emma Astley is the founder and director of Cover My Bubble Ltd, a family life insurance broker based near Accrington, Lancashire. Together with her husband Chris and best friends Jo-Anne, Gemma and Sara they provide personal protection insurance to mainly families.
Having lost her daughter Lillie-Beth in 2006, her young family suffered financially, as well as emotionally for years to follow. Another life event in 2010, whilst waiting to pick her son up from school, meant Emma and her family had to try to get by on Chris’ wage alone. They firmly believe that if they had known about the insurances available to them and been advised on the benefits, they could have grieved and supported their family better.
Years on, Emma was determined to make a career for herself. A chance opportunity came about at a local insurance firm where she rose quickly within the team. After a few years there, Emma was keen to start the own business and do it “her way”, so she finally decided to go it alone.
Cover My Bubble was set up in 2018 with Emma’s passion to cover ‘bubbles’ with suitable and affordable insurance and to raise awareness to young families about the importance of it. The company is in memory of her daughter and Emma says, “Lillie is my rainbow covering your family”.
She is proud to now call Cover My Bubble a multi award winning business; Protection Guru’s ‘Above & Beyond’ and ‘Best Claim Communication or Case Study’, Theo Paphitis’ #SBS Winner and several local awards. She was also a finalist in last year’s Cover Excellence Awards, for Small Business and Customer Service.
Emma is Head of Protection & GI Propositions at Sesame Bankhall Group and has worked in the protection market for over 20 years. She has both provider and distributor experience as well as a strong reputation for campaigning for better consumer outcomes and is using that expertise to further strengthen SBG’s focus on helping more consumers access protection cover across both its Sesame and PMS brands. After being diagnosed with breast cancer and becoming a claimant herself in 2019, she’s become even more committed to helping consumers benefit from protection insurance. Emma has been an active member of various industry groups for many years, including the Income Protection Task Force and is a board member of the Protection Distributors Group. She’s also founder and Chair of the Women in Protection Network, an organisation established to support women working within the industry, to encourage more female consumers become more financially resilient and to help ensure our profession is more representative of the society it serves. I'm
Hemma Visavadia joined COVER as a reporter in January 2022. She previously worked as a reporter at Mulberry Media writing for a number of B2B magazines including Insurance Wire, Retail Sector and Accountancy Today. Prior to that, Hemma studied Journalism and English at De Montfort University.
Jiten has been in Financial Services since October 2000. Starting in a Call Centre for a Fund Supermarket, he quickly worked his way up to become a Financial Adviser for one of the larger UK Banks. Following redundancy, he has worked as an Independent Financial, Mortgage and Protection Adviser since February 2013.
By understanding the role that Financial Planning plays in the daily life of a client, Jiten strives to deliver Simple, Smart Advice in plain and clear English. His advice is tailored to the unique needs of each client, and when required will implement solutions to help ensure they can achieve their personal and financial goals.
Amongst his many qualifications, he holds the Chartered Insurance Institute’s Certificate in Advance Mortgage Advice and has featured in the top 250 UK IFA’s in The Sunday Times.
Jiten brings with him experience in Mortgage Planning together with a speciality in providing bespoke Lifestyle Protection Planning.
John Brazier is an experienced B2B journalist and editor. He has been editor of COVER since February 2021 and has chaired several protection industry conferences and events.
John was previously editor of The Trade, a buy-side publication for a readership of global asset managers, hedge funds and traders. Prior to this, John spent three years with WatersTechnology, a fintech publication with a global audience, where he held roles of European staff writer and then deputy editor, working across the buy- and sell-side brands of the title.
He has also written for a number of energy, personal finance and technology brands, and has personal interests in literature, technology and environmental issues.
Karla Edwards is the founder of The Protection Parent, where we aim to make sure parents are protecting what matters most.
I have been in the industry for 3 years and have loved every minute, I endeavour to make sure that the industry is showcased as much as possible through social media. Customers rarely understand what is available to them and through videos, promotions, social channels we can promote insurance in a positive manner - changing the industry one post at a time.
Naomi started her career working in the corporate space of the Life Assurance sector in 2002, helping advisers understand the products available in the UK market whilst giving training and development on the benefits of personal and business products. In 2014 Naomi founded specialist brokerage Heath Protection Solutions, which offers Private Clients and Businesses whole of market advice on a full range of insurance solutions. In addition to running her own business Naomi has brought her deep understanding of the UK life assurance market to LDNfinance as Protection Director, where she supports the development of their protection advice to mortgage clients. Naomi has become an Ambassador for the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), working to raise awareness of the importance of protection products for women. She speaks at events in London on the education and guidance of young women and the importance of protecting their futures regularly appearing at events such as ‘She’s on the Money’. Recently awarded the Woman of the year in Protection Advice Award at the Women in Financial Awards 2019, Naomi looks to continue raising the awareness of the need for Protection Advice by supporting the education of both brokers and clients.
Robyn is a one of a kind protection adviser. She started her career in financial services 17 years ago and has spent that time carving her own path to become a confident adviser that wants to support not only her clients, but other advisers and individuals within the industry. Her energy and enthusiasm are infectious, and her use of TikTok & LinkedIn to create a new type of content within the industry have inspired many others to be more of themselves and less of who they think they should be.
For her, the people come first, whether that’s customers or other people in her world. Everyone is treated as an individual and is the focus of the conversation, because without finding out what makes a person tick you can’t give them the best advice. Robyn is an incredibly active member of her local community as well. She is a school governor, a charity trustee and the current President of the Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce.
Setul has close to 20 years of financial services experience, in Strategy, Distribution, Operations, Governance and Development. Spanning across Protection, Mortgages, Wealth Management, GI, FinTech, Asset Management and the value chain within.
Along with his role within The Openwork Partnership focusing on distribution growth, Setul is a Steering Group member for the IPTF, part of The Access to Insurance Working Group and Protection Practionner Group Member for iLAG.
Alongside financial services, he supports the education sector as a Board Trustee within a growing Multi-Academy Trust and an interim school standards board member at a 45 cluster school.
Outside of work he spends time with his young family, a keen sports fan and supporting The Openwork Foundation.
Steve has over thirty years’ experience working in the life insurance market in the UK, Europe and the Far East. A Chartered Insurer, he has been responsible for some of the more innovative developments within the protection market specifically wrapping around the customer. Originally trained as an underwriter, Steve has extensive experience of working in product development, distribution management and risk assessment. He is the current Chairman of ILAG and a Advisory Board member for LegaCare.
Tom Conner is the co-founder and director of Drewberry, a multi award winning financial advisory business, with deep foundations in protection. Drewberry was a founding member of the Protection Distributors Group (PDG) and Tom currently sits on the PDG board. Tom graduated with an MPhil in Finance from the University of Cambridge.