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Asta: cultural change starts at the top

Asta create and manage underwriting businesses, from entrepreneurial underwriters and insurtechs, to established insurers and MGAs seeking access to the Lloyd’s market. They currently provide 18 clients with a full range of services, including governance, operational support, oversight and compliance.

As a relatively small London-based firm with 150 staff, Asta sees maintaining a positive culture as crucial to the way they work. Excellence, collaboration and adaptability are their core values, and of these three, collaboration underpins a team-working ethos that enables them to maintain high levels of service while ensuring colleagues are engaged, motivated and appreciated.

As Asta continues to grow, it is more important than ever to ensure the firm’s values are firmly embedded in its culture and this is fully supported by Chairman, Paul Jardine, along with the rest of the Board. Turning words into actions that reflect what the company stands for is a strategic priority, and key to attracting and retaining the best people. As a result, the firm recently set up a culture committee which brings together colleagues from across the business and it is chaired by CEO, Julian Tighe. Their main purpose is to promote a diverse and inclusive culture, encourage behaviours in line with Asta’s values, making Asta ‘an employer of choice’ and ensure there is a healthy working environment that supports positive wellbeing.

Examples of action undertaken to by Asta to improve their culture includes the introduction of a flexible working policy that provides the home/work balance their people value while guaranteeing business as usual for their clients. Improved family friendly policies allowing staff to spend time with their families and ensuring their careers are not disadvantaged by doing so. On the recruitment side, they have anonymised CVs and follow Lloyd’s inclusive hiring principles. The firm also monitors their remuneration and talent practices for bias and publishes gender and ethnicity data internally when there is no legal requirement to do so.  This reinforces their commitment to identify and reduce pay gaps and promote an inclusive workplace where all colleagues are properly rewarded for what they do.

Asta knows first-hand that culture is incredibly important for their clients and having the right “cultural fit” is a major factor when start-ups choose them as their partner. This philosophy is evidenced by the regular sharing of news, views and insights that reflect and elevate the various voices within their business and those of their clients. Interviews, Q&As and blog articles on a wide range of topics showcase the authenticity of Asta’s culture and further reinforces their commitment to putting words into action.

Over the coming months, Asta is planning to run their own culture survey, while the topic of culture is a standing item on their board meeting agendas, highlighting its continuing strategic importance to the business. The message from Asta is clear and positive - in a small firm with an open culture it doesn’t take much to move the dial: commitment from the top, sponsorship of change by leaders, and a willingness to leave the door open for colleagues to share different perspectives and experiences can make a big difference in a short space of time.