Risk and Insurance Specialist (10115)

At the SKAO we are coordinating a global effort to deliver one fo the largest science facilities on the planet. The SKAO telescopes will be next-generation instruments that will help to answer key questions in astrophysics, drive technological innovation and support human capital development. 

More than a dozen partner countries and over a thousand scientists and engineers around the world are already on board, making the SKA project an international collaboration like no other, and one of the most ambitious science and engineering endeavours of the 21st century.

Headquartered in the UK, with telescope sites in Australia and South Africa, the SKAO will be one observatory operating two telescopes, an endeavour spanning three continents. Multinational by design, in early 2021 the SKAO became an intergovernmental organisation, one of only a select handful of science infrastructures to do so worldwide.

Our Global HQ is located near the buzzing city of Manchester at the historic Jodrell Bank Observatory, a UNESCO World Heritage site located in the Cheshire countryside. It is home to a rapidly expanding international team of more than a hundred, working in a highly collaborative and inclusive way, in coordination with SKAO teams in Australia and South Africa as part of a global astronomy and engineering community.

Being part of Team SKA means contributing to something extraordinary: a uniquely exciting project to advance human knowledge that will last for decades. In return, we offer a diverse multicultural working environment, 30 days annual leave plus public holidays, a generous pension scheme, regular social events, a family-friendly environment and much more. Come and join us!

Risk and Insurance Specialist

An unique opportunity for a seasoned risk and insurance specialist with experience in managing complex claims in multiple jurisdictions.

Job Location
UK (Head Office)
Area / Department
Business Support function
Contract Type
Competitive salary with generous pension and leave benefits
Closing Date
Ref No

The Role

The purpose of the Risk and Insurance Specialist role will be to undertake all necessary activities to provide the SKA Observatory with the required and necessary corporate risk management and insurance coverage and to manage any claims against those policies. The incumbent will report to the Head of Assurance and will work closely with the departments that undertake risk management and require insurance cover.

The successful candidate will take overall responsibility for managing risk at the Observatory (together with colleagues) for risk mitigations involving insurance, identifying insurance needs and managing the existing policy portfolio. The scope of insurance in the SKA Observatory is broad, including numerous policies (e.g. HR, construction, logistics, motor, liability, travel and fixed/movable asset policies) enacted in the UK, South Africa, Australia and elsewhere.

Full-time hours will be 35 hours per week. Flexible working may be considered compatible with reviews, milestones and site activities.

Key Responsibilities, Accountabilities and Duties

The postholder will undertake the following responsibilities:

  • Manage the Corporate Risk Register
  • Manage expenditure on insurance of £1m + per annum
  • Manage internal policies regarding what constitutes ‘acceptable risk exposure’ (self-insurance) and what should be insured with an insurer, supporting internal owners of risk
  • Continuously ensure value for money for the spend on insurance and insurance related products
  • Work with the organisation to reduce risk, sell this to insurers (and underwriters) and identify gaps and opportunities,  develop insurance programmes and make recommendations to senior leadership
  • Manage the existing portfolio of insurance policies in respect of renewals and claims, liaising with brokers as appropriate
  • Lead the specification of new policies by working with Observatory Departments who require insurance coverage as their activities develop
  • Ensure that Risk Management at the Observatory level makes use of the correct insurance mitigations and periodically report on the status of insured risks and their associated policies
  • Provide expert advice and support on the procurement process for new policies including the assessment of tenders, driving value and long term benefits within the strategic context of an entire organisation
  • Build and manage strong partnering relationships across SKAO and relevant external suppliers or partners, influencing and challenging approaches to provide best outcomes for SKAO.

Mandatory Knowledge, Skills and Experience

The successful candidate will have the following skills and experience:

  • Ability to think strategically across an entire organisation
  • Experience of successfully managing an insurance portfolio of the order of £1M
  • Experience of providing insurance advice expertise, including decisions on what to insure in an enterprise with a wide range of requirements
  • Extensive and authoritative specialist knowledge and understanding of the types of insurance required by a complex enterprise involved in the knowledge economy but with construction, logistics and maintenance operations in multiple jurisdictions
  • Knowledge of mandatory insurance requirements under the regulations of one or more jurisdictions of UK, South Africa and Australia; able to interpret and apply relevant policies
  • Knowledge and experience of the procurement of a wide range of insurance policies
  • Knowledge and experience of claims handling
  • Able to communicate and influence effectively up to senior levels, listening effectively and shaping conversations, providing clear justification for decisions so that they are accepted by stakeholders
  • Able to build and manage strong partnering relationship across SKAO and with relevant external agencies, able to develop and lead on delivery of joined up solutions, managing change and business improvements effectively
  • A flexible team player who is adaptable to change

Desirable Knowledge, Skills and Experience

  • Experience in working within a Research Infrastructure organisation
  • A Masters Degree in Business Administration or equivalent experience
  • Ability to coach and mentor others

Equality Diversity and Inclusion Statement

SKA Observatory recognises that our diversity is a strength. We aim to create a welcoming and inclusive environment where everyone feels they belong, and diverse perspectives and ideas thrive. As such, Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion are at the core of SKA Observatory’s agenda.

Our aim to is recruit and retain the most talented individuals, regardless of gender, race, disability, age, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, nationality or background. 

 Women have traditionally been under-represented in the fields of science and engineering; SKA Observatory welcomes and encourages female applicants.  
Where applicants with a disability need facilities or adjustments to enable them to participate in the recruitment process, these will be provided.

SKA Observatory welcome all candidates, especially those from member countries.

The “How to Apply” information contained within the SKA Observatory recruitment portal provides more detail regarding our application and selection approach.