Julie Hopkins (pictured), director of underwriting & claims strategy at Guardian, will retire at the end of this month. 

Hopkins has spent 50 years in the reinsurance and protection market including over 25 years at Hannover Re.

Katya MacLean, Guardian CEO, said: “Anyone who knows Julie knows that insurance is her passion. As she’d say herself, it’s not just a job.

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“We’ve been so lucky to have had access to her skills and talent for so long at this stage of her career. She’s been an incredible part of our journey and an inspiration to everyone who works here.

“She leaves behind fantastic underwriting and claims teams, who will build on her successes, but she’ll be sorely missed by us all. We wish her well for her retirement.”

Hopkins said: “Who can believe that when I started my career at Guardian in 1970 that I’d be finishing it 50 years later at the same company!

“Needless to say, it’s been a blast! I can only think I’ve lasted this long because I’m passionate about doing the right thing and I value what we do.

“My focus has always been on how to make things better for the customer, so when Guardian came along (again) – with its clear commitment to doing the right thing – I jumped at the chance to be part of this exciting challenger. It felt like the right culmination of my life’s work.

“While I’ll obviously miss everyone, I leave the team in great hands.”

Roy McLoughlin, Cavendish Ware associate director, added: “Julie is in many ways the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the protection industry.

“Engaging and educational, she bridged the gap between re-insurers and advisers particularly at a time when our industry needed this understanding.

“She took the time to appreciate advisers and broke down barriers with her positivity, mutual understanding and empathy. Loved by all she would always light up the room with her infectious personality and she was hugely popular.

“We will all miss that smile and I know the protection industry will implore her to never be a stranger.”