60 Second Q&A with Dermot Murray of the Insurance Institute

Business, Interviews | Wed 17 May | Author – Business & Finance

Dermot Murray, CEO of The Insurance Institute says that building great teams is essential for success, and reveals their three key ingredients for career development.

What was your first job?

I started in the household insurance department in the NEM in the late 1970s. It was a great training ground, where I really learned the trade and made my first business contacts, many of whom I’m still in touch with today.

What would you regard as your greatest achievement to date?

I’ve achieved a lot of good things over the years, but great is probably pushing it! Throughout my career, I’ve been lucky enough to work with some very good people and my biggest achievements are some of the teams I helped build. Having a good team around you is essential for success and building them is what gives me the greatest satisfaction. Many of the teams I have worked with in the past have continued to thrive and go from strength to strength.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

I was told many years ago that there’s a lot of luck in business and I truly believe that good and bad fortune can play a very big role in business outcomes. The important lesson from that is not to get carried away with your successes or hung up on your failures. Just because something didn’t work in the past, doesn’t mean it won’t work in the future – or vice versa.

How do you relax?

From the comfort of my armchair….I spend a lot of time watching sport and have a keen interest in all the major spectator sports, in particular GAA, rugby, soccer and horse racing. I also leave the armchair at least once a week and struggle my way around the local golf course!

If you could step into the shoes of one business person for a day, who would it be and why?

I can’t think of a business person whose shoes I’d like to step into, but I would love to take over from someone like José Mourinho, Jim Gavin, Willie Mullins or Joe Schmidt for a day.

What’s your motto?

Usually I’m not one for motto’s but at The Insurance Institute our motto since 1885 has been Educate, Inspire, Connect. I believe these are the three key ingredients for career development.

In three words or less, how would you define success?


How do you motivate yourself and your staff?

That’s easy – it’s all about creating the right working environment. For me, the critical components are good humour, collaboration, growth and energy. That sort of environment has always worked for me and the people I’ve worked with. This ethos also existed in The Insurance Institute before I arrived, and it’s the reason why we’re the proud holders of the Irish Institute of Training and Development (IITD) award for Best Learning and Development Organisation in the Not-for-Profit category for the last two years.

What are your aspirations for the future of your business?

The Insurance Institute has been educating inspiring and connecting for over 130 years and we will continue to bring innovation, thought-leadership and creativity to the programmes we deliver to all of our members, in the hope that our business will continue to thrive for the next 130 years.