Cornish Mutual’s longest-serving employee has explained how contracting mumps when he was 18 paved the way for a 47-year career in insurance.
In 1971, school leaver Derek Endean had to cancel his job interview with Cornwall Council as a result of the illness. After he had recovered, a call from the Job Centre alerted him to a position as a clerk with Cornish Mutual. Derek recalls cycling down to the company’s office, in his home city of Truro, for an interview with the General Manager.
Derek is now preparing to enjoy his retirement after spending his working life with the South West insurer.
“When the Job Centre called me that day, I had not actually heard of Cornish Mutual and I certainly hadn’t planned on working in insurance,” says Derek. “I passed the interview though and was immediately offered a job as a Cover Note Clerk, which involved handwriting motor insurance cover notes. I have held many positions since then, including supervising several teams within the company, from the fire department and home and motor insurance teams, to IT and accounts.
“Probably the biggest change in my time here are the advances in technology. There were no computers when I joined, so everything was done by hand with big ledger books being used for our accounts.”
Derek’s final roles with Cornish Mutual were as Continuous Improvement Leader and finally, a member of the Validation and Support team. This involved Derek acting as a coach and mentor to the company’s new joiners, including accompanying Field Force team members on visits to farms and businesses.
Derek says: “It has been great to be able to use all the knowledge and experience I’ve picked up during my career to support the newer members of the team. Also, I’ve dealt with so many local farming families and having spent so many years on the phones to Members, it has been lovely to be out and about meeting some of them face to face.”
Joining Cornish Mutual also steered Derek’s personal life in a new direction. “Not only did I gain a fantastic career, I also met my wife at Cornish Mutual,” he says. Derek asked telephone receptionist Sue out for a drink one Christmas and the couple, who have two sons, celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary last August.
Derek celebrated his retirement from Cornish Mutual with colleagues, including the company’s eight longest-serving employees, who are celebrating a combined 318 years of service.
Cornish Mutual Managing Director Alan Goddard said: “At Cornish Mutual we work hard to ensure our employees are given every opportunity to progress and develop their skills and interests. As a result, we are rewarded with a number of people choosing to stay with us for many years. As our longest-serving employee, Derek is a fantastic example of this and I would like to thank him for his loyalty and commitment to the company.
“We are very sad to see Derek go, but he leaves behind a fantastic legacy, having shared so much of his knowledge across our teams. We wish him all the very best for his retirement.”
Derek suffered a heart attack last year and has since become a keen walker and member of a gym. In his retirement, he plans to spend more time as a Volunteer Walk Leader for Walking for Health Cornwall. He is also aiming to volunteer for the CLIC Sargent shop in Truro.
Reflecting on his career, Derek said: “I’ve had a wonderful time with Cornish Mutual. As a company, they invest a lot in people and provide so many opportunities to progress in your career. I’ve stayed for so long because I’ve always enjoyed my work and there has always been a new role for me to step into and another challenge to take up. While things have changed over the years, Cornish Mutual has retained that very approachable feel – it’s like being part of a family.