Our Board of Directors is comprised of highly experienced professionals from the insurance and education sectors. The Board is responsible for UMAL’s strategy and their experience and expertise ensures that our business operates effectively, delivers the best products and service possible and protects our Members interests at all times.

Allan Guest, ACII/FCCI

Independent Non-Executive Director, appointed in 2010 and became Chairman in 2011. Previously an approved active Underwriter at Lloyd’s of London, CEO of Mitsui Syndicate Insurance Group for the UK and Europe, a Director of Nuclear Risk Influences Ltd and a past Vice President of the Insurance Institute of London.

An FCA Approved Person having extensive experience of Underwriting and Financial Management in the Commercial Insurance Sector and actively involved in establishing UMAL in 1992.

Paul Cusition
Chief Executive

Email: [email protected]

Tel: 020 7847 8672

Paul joined UMAL as CEO in January 2018. Paul began his career as an Accountant in private practice, qualifying in 1981. He then joined Sun Alliance (now RSA) where, following a number of roles, he became a Director for their Global Risks Division, which encompassed their Major Clients and London Market Operation.

In 1999, he joined Travelers, a major US Insurance Group, where he became their Chief Underwriting Officer for their International operations, covering UK, Lloyds, Ireland and Canada. He was also a Director of their Lloyd’s Managing Agency.

In 2012 Paul was recruited to become the Active Underwriter of a Lloyd’s Syndicate which had been purchased by Private Equity Investors. Following a successful turn round of this business Paul established a Managing General Agency writing business on behalf of Munich Re which was sold in December 2017.

Paul has over 35 years of experience in a wide range of Insurance operations and has been an FCA approved person since 1998.

Mike Davies, FCCA
Non Executive Director

Most recently, Mike was the Director of Finance at Bangor University from 2009 to 2020. He qualified as an accountant in 1982 and moved into the HE sector after extensive senior level experience in the Construction, Engineering, Transport and Services sectors.

Andrew Keeble, ACA
Director of Finance,
University of Essex

Andrew began his current term of office as a Director of UMAL in August 2016. He has 19 years of experience as a University finance director at SOAS, Queen Mary and, currently, at the University of Essex.

Andrew qualified as a Chartered Public Finance Accountant through the Essex County Council graduate trainee scheme before progressing to work in the Regulatory Services Group at Lloyd’s of London where he secured the Lloyd’s Market Certificate; a Chartered Insurance Institute qualification. Inspired by his time as a student, Andrew then joined the University of Essex, as Assistant Director of Finance, and was instrumental in Essex becoming one of the founding members of UMAL in 1993.

Andrew has been involved in insurance, investments and financial accounting for over 25 years and is a member of the UMAL Investment and Audit Committees. In addition to his accountancy and insurance qualifications, Andrew has a BSc in Economics from the University of Salford.


Simon Holt Ba (Hons), ACII, MBA
Insurance Manager,

University of Bath

Non-executive Director since 2012. Simon has been Insurance Manager at University of Bath since 2007, prior to which he had been a full-time postgraduate student there, achieving an MBA in 2004. He is an Associate of the Chartered Insurance Institute and also holds a degree from University of London.

Simon has 30 years’ experience in the risk and insurance sector. His previous career had been in Insurance Broking, with roles at Aon and AJ Gallagher, specialising in the Education and Construction sectors. He has been involved in the Mutual sector since 2007 having been a Director of UM Association (Special Risks) Ltd from 2007 to 2016.

Lawrence Jenkins
Deputy Chief Executive,
North Kent College Group

Lawrence is a member of the Chartered Institute of Global Management Accountants, qualifying in 2000.

Lawrence has worked in the Further Education sector for the past 20 years. He started at North Kent College in 2012 firstly as its Director of Finance, and more recently as its Deputy Principal of Finance and Resources. He has significant experience in financial and change management, as well as building and resource development.

In addition, Lawrence has also worked in a number of differing sectors through his career, with the National Trust, Media and Advertising, and the National Health Service.

James Lacey
Director of Finance,
Nottingham Trent University

James began his career as a Trainee Accountant. Following successful completion of his professional exams at Nottingham Trent University’s Business School, James gained experience as a Management Accountant with a manufacturer and wholesaler of convenience foods for large retailers such as Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury’s.  The systems development aspects of the role led James to study for an MA in Information Technology at the University of Nottingham.  On graduation, James joined Mars Inc as Plant Accountant at Pedigree Petfoods.   In 1997 James joined Nottingham Trent University as a Management Accountant, following a series of internal promotions, he became Director of Finance in 2005.  James is responsible for group finance; financial operations; business partnering, research; enterprise accounting; and procurement.

Mike McCall
Director of Finance,
Robert Gordon University

Mike joined the Board of UMAL in January 2020. He has been the Finance Director of Robert Gordon University since 2009.

Qualifying as a chartered accountant in 1989, he remained in private practice as an Audit Manager in the City of London till the mid 1990s. He then moved to Poland with one of the ‘Big 4’ before deciding to leave practice for industry. Mike gained experience in the Engineering and Manufacturing sectors before moving into Education, joining Robert Gordon University as Assistant Director of Finance in 2003.

Mike has long experience of financial, investment and insurance management. He has serviced and supported the Robert Gordon University Finance, Audit and Investment Committees’ for many years. He is a director of the university’s subsidiary company, Univation Limited.

Nicola Cardenas Blanco

Director of Legal Services,
University of Birmingham

Nicola is a solicitor with over 16 years of post-qualification experience. Her background is in civil litigation and regulatory law, where she worked in private practice in national and international firms and advised a range of commercial organisations and further and higher education institutions. In 2014, Nicola made the move to practice in-house for a UK university.

She is Director of Legal Services at the University of Birmingham. Nicola is a part-time doctoral student with a research interest in overseas risk management in UK universities, and is also a member of the Association of University Legal Practitioners.


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