Family Fortunes & Philanthropy
London, United Kingdom
‘My job is to provide good advice and give people peace of mind,’ says Aston Lark director David Foster, who has been ‘in the business of solving insurance problems and making sure clients feel in safe hands’ for 30 years. The nice thing about having done the job for so long, he says, is that he’s ‘experienced a pretty wide spectrum of clients and problems, coming across most things at one time or another.’
Another benefit of Foster’s wealth of experience is the network he has built within the private client world, meaning that he can offer his clients a holistic service. ‘I can often point them in the right direction for whatever non-insurance advice they need, whether it be security, valuations or sourcing staff,’ he says, before reverting to his straightforward refrain:‘Our clients have complicated insurance needs - I aim to make things simple for them.’
‘As brokers we are in the middle between clients and insurers, their respective interests don’t always align,’ Foster elaborates. ‘Many of our clients are fantastic business people, time-poor, extremely intelligent, and know what they want. Insurers can be large. impersonal beasts, difficult to navigate and communicate with. We have to listen really well, understand and sometimes translate the obligations that the insured has to the insurer, and vice versa.’
Sometimes an insurer needs to be told to do the right thing, and sometimes a client needs to be persuaded to take on board advice and act on it, according to the director. It is his job to give excellent advice, and not to ‘soft soap’ people.
Foster recalls a pivotal moment in his career, the first time that he was involved with a total loss fire claim. ‘Seeing someone lose their home and all their possessions is both horrific and very humbling,’ he recalls.
‘I was in contact with the client and their family constantly over about 18 months and got to know them really well.
‘The claim was not straightforward, and the client needed constant support and help to negotiate their way through the various issues, both technical and human.
‘I still have the “thank you” letter which I received after the claim, and that experience informs and shapes the way I deal with clients and the advice I give.’