On Tuesday 29th September, Gerald Williams, a Director of FitzGerald Consulting, celebrated forty years as an insurance loss adjuster. Having previously qualified as a Chartered Accountant, it was on that date in 1975 that Gerald took his first job as a Business Interruption specialist at Howell and Brooks, marking the beginning of a long and successful career in the profession – and one which shows no sign of slowing down yet!
Gerald stayed for five and a half years at Howell and Brooks, whom he credits with giving him an excellent training in all aspects of the business, before leaving to join Thomas Howell early in 1981. It was there that he met Bev FitzGerald, beginning a business relationship which would see the two of them work together at four different firms, including, of course, FitzGerald Consulting, for over 30 years.
Gerald remained at Thomas Howell for 15 years, before moving to Cunningham’s in 1996 where he has fond memories of handling a multi-million pound claim from Eurostar following the first major fire in the Channel Tunnel. At that time it was the most high-profile claim he had managed and, for several reasons, he cites it as one of his career highlights.
During a brief stint at Miller’s in the early eighties Gerald was then honoured and delighted to be appointed as President of the Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters for the period 2001 – 2002. Without doubt, he says, this was another career highlight but then, just when he began to think it might be all down hill, he joined the then nascent FitzGerald Consulting in April 2002 and things immediately began to take off again.
Although Gerald has enjoyed every aspect of his career immensely, he says, “To date the absolute best part has been what we’ve done over the last 13 years or so with FitzGerald Consulting. We’ve gone from strength to strength and I’m proud to have been able to take a prominent role in building a brand which is now widely recognised throughout the insurance market, both in the UK and around the world.”
Another career highlight arose out of the appalling tragedy in New York in September 2001 when the World Trade Centre was destroyed by terrorists. This produced some of the largest and most complex claims ever to have hit the global financial institutions and, according to Gerald, he “never dreamt that he’d be involved with handling such high-profile claims many of which were settled for hundreds of million dollars.”
Since then there have been a whole range of tremendous opportunities within FitzGerald Consulting including working in Mexico in 2006 after Hurricane Wilma destroyed many of the hotels on the Yucatán Peninsula, Chile in 2010/11 when the major earthquake in February 2010 destroyed so much of the country’s infrastructure, New Zealand in 2012 following the devastating Christchurch earthquakes, and then the Canadian floods in 2013 – to name just a few. In addition he’s worked in places as far apart as Russia, the US, Australasia and many different countries in Europe including, from time to time, “good old England”.
One of the aspects of his career that Gerald has enjoyed the most – and continues to relish – is the privilege of meeting a huge range of different people and experiencing many different cultures and customs around the world. He says he loves the fact that, through his work, “he has met people from all walks of life and made some excellent friends along the way” many of whom he is still in close contact with.
In summary, Gerald says that “Despite this major milestone in my career (which must be an excuse for a party isn’t it?!) I have no plans to retire any time soon. Indeed, exactly the opposite as I have various new projects in the pipeline, including taking a course in corporate mediation with CEDR (Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution) which I hope will open up even more avenues for FitzGerald Consulting to develop. Looking back I may only say that, to date it’s been a great career which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed and I’m definitely going to carry on now for as long as it wants me!”