Sarah McNeill

Griffiths & Armour Professional Risks
Client Services Director

Sarah McNeill

Griffiths & Armour Professional Risks
Client Services Director

Sarah joined Griffiths & Armour’s Graduate Training Programme over 20 years ago, having graduated from the University of Liverpool. After spending some time in different areas throughout the business and a brief spell in our Dublin office, Sarah joined the Professional Risks Division, where she continues to successfully advise a portfolio of clients across the construction professions.

As well as advising many leading and award winning Architectural and Engineering firms, Sarah’s prime area of responsibility on the Client Services Board is the oversight and delivery of our Contract Review Service – which is a part of our overall Risk Management offering and area of support which clients highly value. In addition to overseeing the contracts team, Sarah also works closely with our legal partners to ensure that our service continues to evolve.

Sarah, can you tell us more about the Contract Review Service team at G&A?

In 2017,  we took the decision to centralise our contract reviewers and I was asked to run this newly formed team.  We now have a strong team of six individuals who are absolutely committed to supporting our clients.

On average, we review and provide insurance and risk management commentary on 600 – 650 contracts per month.

It’s a major exercise and one of the key areas we have worked on over the last couple of years has been looking at ways to streamline the processes to ensure we are able to service our clients effectively whilst providing them with clarity and certainty; that’s extremely important in supporting their contract negotiations and providing the necessary confidence from a coverage perspective.

Whilst other brokers may offer some support in this area, it tends to be outsourced. Having the resource in-house means that those reviewing contracts are fully integrated into the business, they work alongside brokers and claims handlers and have an in-depth understanding of our clients’ PI insurance programmes. That in turn leads to greater quality, consistency and faster turnaround times.

How has the Client Services Board improved the client experience?

The Board is absolutely focused on continuous improvement. It provides us with a forum to discuss and debate how we can better serve our clients’ interests and it brings together people from across the Division. We all have our own client portfolio and sometimes it is not about major projects but rather understanding how small changes can help to enhance the client experience; whether that’s how we respond on contracts, the support provided on claims or establishing guiding principles on client service etc.

More than anything I think the Board supports better collaboration across teams and offices, helping us to deliver a seamless proposition and ensuring we stay alive to any issues that may impact upon our clients from a liability or insurance perspective. The environment they’re operating in is changing and it’s important we understand the implications of that. New legislation such as the Building Safety Act will have far reaching consequences and working alongside colleagues like my fellow Director, Claire Meade, helps provide much greater insight into these kind of issues and how we should be looking to support our clients.

What have been some highlights from your career at G&A?

One of the most rewarding experiences in my role is getting to work with clients who are involved with extremely interesting and innovative construction projects, the excitement of seeing the building works through the construction phase and of course, the final result. I have been lucky enough to work with a number of the same clients for many years, building strong relationships with key individuals and developing an in-depth understanding of their business.

Working alongside my colleagues at Griffiths & Armour also continues to be a highlight and one of the reasons why I believe we have such low staff turnover. I have always felt supported and been offered flexibility in my working patterns, without having to sacrifice my family life. I believe that flexibility has only ever served to improve the level of support I am able to offer our clients whilst also delivering real job satisfaction. My promotions over the years, especially the appointment to Client Services Director, are all meaningful recognition of my contributions to the firm and I’m pleased to be at a point where I’m now able to support the development of others.


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