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Hi, I’m Kathryn, I own Cura with my husband Alan. I am a mum of three and an award winning insurance adviser. I have put this page together so that you can get to know me a bit better, where I have come from, what I do and why I do it.
- 2020 – Appointed to the British Insurance Brokers’ Association Access to Insurance (AIC) executive committee
- 2020 Winner – Diversity Champion, Next Gen Planners
- 2019 Winner – Female Diversity Champion of the Year, Cover
- 2019 Winner – Protection Adviser of the Year, Financial Reporter’s Womens Recognitions Awards
- 2019 Winner – Social Media Influencer of the Year, Professional Adviser’s Women In Financial Advice Awards
- 2018 Winner – Woman in Business, Scarborough Business Awards
- 2018 Winner – Social Media Influencer of the Year, Professional Adviser’s Women In Financial Advice Awards
- 2018 – Appointed to the Chartered Insurance Institute New Generation broking team
- 2018 Winner – Individual Protection Adviser of the Year, Protection Review
- 2011 – Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) – A Holistic Framework for Environmental Change – Socio-Environmental Cohesion for Sustainability
A little bit about me
I joined the financial protection industry after completing my PhD in Business Management in 2010. My doctorate focused upon developing bottom-up cultural changes within businesses, to establish an environmental metanorm, working alongside what employees wanted to do and not dictating to them.
My thesis was completed in a case study organisation of over 200 employees using cybernetics, systems thinking, rich picture analysis, soft systems methodology, social network analysis combined with the viable systems model, and team syntegrity. I developed a bespoke environmental rating system, combining ISO 14000 environmental standards and my own set of cultural indicators that evidenced normative change. I know, I know, sounds quite boring! I loved it!!
Financial services was not my initial career path, but I wanted to start work as soon as I finished studying, and was offered a job in this sector. I originally started as an Administrative Manager, with focus upon company finances and developing smooth processes between administrators and insurance advisers. In 2012 I became a Compliance Officer, overseeing the quality of advice recommendations and documentation within our company.
After facing redundancy with our previous employer when he closed his business, my husband and I set up Cura Financial Services in 2013. We are known as the go to experts for high risk protection insurance within our sector, focusing on helping people that have medical conditions and other risks to get insurance.
I had my first son in 2011, second in 2014 and my third in 2017. In my spare time I like to do Zumba and Pilates. I like to support charities when I can and have taken part in a 2 hour zumbathon, completed 5k a race for life, 5k run or dye, 5k bubble run, and raised over £300 for Parkinsons UK by doing veganuary.
What I do
I gained attention within the insurance industry in 2016 by creating a Walking Dead infographic, followed by a Game of Gnomes quiz and video advent calendar, to simplify the message of protection insurance. I produce regular video marketing, CuraVision, where I chat about people we have been able to help and explain how we met their protection needs.
I want to get the message out there, that most people are insurable. Many of our clients have been declined cover in the past, given ridiculous terms or been told that there is no point in them applying for insurance.
In my videos I do not do anything fancy. I am sat with a camera and a cup of tea, just talking. There are no presentations, no statistics, no jargon cluttering up the information that I want to get across. They are designed to be human, empathetic and simple.
The purpose of these videos is to raise awareness in the general public, charities and others in the insurance industry, that having a health condition, working in a dangerous job, travelling around the world, does not make you “uninsurable”.
I talk about how we have arranged insurance for people with cancer, HIV, diabetes, high BMI, bipolar disorder and a history of suicide attempts. I am the face of our company when it comes to social media outreach. I am positioned in these videos as a woman who knows about protection insurance, a business owner, someone who can explain how medical conditions and high risk circumstances mix with insurance.
My challenges are having three young children, owning a company and looking after my two parents who are in poor health. I also have hypermobility syndrome, sinus tachycardia, anxiety issues, a smidgen of POTs and an underachieve thyroid. I would love to say that I have overcome all of these challenges myself, but I haven’t. I am extremely grateful for Grandmas!!
I often feel that I am not doing enough for my children, or contributing enough at work. But, I am doing my best. In regards to my health, for the most part I have lived with my health issues my whole life, so it is not a matter of overcoming them, they are just me, it’s what I have always known. I am a big believer in baby steps and mindfulness. Focus on the task now, not task two, three or four.
Why I do what I do
My motivation comes from showing people that there are solutions out there for them, regardless of their circumstances. Many years ago, I was offered insurance at special terms because of a history of anxiety issues. I was well and it was a kick in the teeth that the insurer felt that I wasn’t back to “normal”.
My passion is to fight industry stereotypes of how healthy a person is, just because they have been labelled with an illness. I have anxiety and hypermobility syndrome, I also have my own business, a PhD and have grown three amazing human beings. My illnesses do not define me, they empower me to fight.
- 24 September 2019: MoneyMarketing: Missed opportunities in income protection
- 1 August 2019: FT Adviser: AIG proves when critical illness cover matters
- 5 June 2019: FT Adviser: Trusts must digitise to engage with millennials
- 8 May 2019: FT Adviser: Holloway Friendly latest offers added benefits
- 24 April 2019: FT Adviser: HealthWise offers more access for members
- 14 March 2019: MoneyMarketing: The importance of stories in protection
- March 2019: Q1 Protection Review Big Read: On the sofa with a cup of tea and a video camera: Video marketing for advisers
- 30 January 2019: FT Adviser: Zurich introduces sign language tool
- 21 January 2019: Kathryn Knowles: Peace of mind on Blue Monday
- 13 December 2018: MoneyMarketing: Changing the female social norms
- 5 December 2018: FT Adviser: Guide to the background to protection planning
- 14 November 2018: FT Adviser: Guardian FS insurance offer gets thumbs up
- 12 November 2018: Cover: Birth, death… but what about ‘the middle’?
- 31 October 2018: FT Adviser: LV adds value to IP offering
- 11 October 2018: FT Adviser: Grow your business by adding a support services angle to protection conversations
- 9 October 2018: MoneyMarketing: Grow your business by adding a support services angle to protection conversations
- 5 October 2018: FT Adviser: Growing your business could be as easy as talking about protection on a human level
- 2 October 2018: FT Adviser: Fit for work?
- 2 October 2018: FT Adviser: Portable protection for Generation Rent
- September 2018: Scottish Widows: From an adviser’s point of view
- 14 September 2018: Money Marketing: ABI takes steps to help end HIV stigma
- 5 September 2018: FTAdviser: Holloway Friendly boasts 100% claim payout record
- 8 August 2018: FTAdviser: Why quirky adopting providers are leading the way
- 1 August 2018: FTAdviser: Diary of an adviser: Kathryn Knowles
- 21 March 2018: FT Adviser: High Risk Need Not Spell Uninsurable
- 19 February 2018: Health Insurance Daily: How can the health and protection industry help workers in the gig economy?
- 5 February 2018: Cover: Mental Health: Insurance Underwriters are Human Beings too
- 12 October 2017: Roger Edwards: Alan and Kathryn Knowles on zombies, gnomes and quirky financial services marketing MAF145
- 21 April 2017: Unbiased: Insurance Cold Callers? Meet the Cure
- June 2016: Informed Choice Radio: Kathryn and Alan talk zombies
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