About us

The Independent Schools’ Mutual has been specifically designed for independent schools. It aims to maintain or improve the current level of cover and service, whilst creating opportunities to drive down costs.

“The Independent Schools’ Mutual is part of a growing renewed purpose amongst mutuals to deliver better outcomes for their members.”

Martin ShawAssociation of Financial Mutuals

How does the Mutual work?

A mutual is a company owned and controlled by its members – its customers. It acts for the benefit of its members at all times, there are no shareholders seeking a profit, which means:

  • The Mutual aims to be a cost-effective alternative to insurance products and services
  • Members pay contributions into the mutual fund based upon the risks they bring
  • Contributions are used to pay agreed claims up to a pre-determined amount (the retention)
  • Contributions are also used to buy the insurance which protects the Mutual and its Members, and meets the Mutual’s running costs
  • The  Board has discretion on the payment of claims and can use its discretion to approve claims that fall outside the terms of a Member’s protection.
  • Any mutual trading surplus belongs to the Members and can only be used for their benefit or as the Members may agree.

Our Board of Directors

Ralph Arundell

Ralph Arundell

Director

Ralph was educated at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and completed a 30-year career in the British Army. He commanded 3rd Battalion The Rifles on operations in Iraq, Afganistan and Lebanon, and served on operations extensively in Northern Ireland and other parts of the world. Ralph has two Masters degrees; the first in Defence Studies and the second in Strategic Leadership and National Security Policy Formulation. His final military post was as an Assistant Director in the Ministry of Defence. At Harrow, he is responsible for the delivery of all non-teaching aspects of the School. Ralph is a Trustee of the Rifles Regimental Charity and sits on the Grants Committee supporting Riflemen and their families and is a Director of the Hampton Pool Trust providing community open-air swimming in South West London.

Rod Cook

Rod Cook

Director

Rod is a chartered accountant, qualified in 1980 and then spent 15 years in practice (10 as a partner in regional practices) before becoming CFO at Nisbets PLC in 1995. He became a bursar in 2000 and since then has been a bursar in both independent schools and a finance director of a multi-academy trust. He became a bursar of Queen Elizabeth’s Hospital, an independent school of over 700 pupils in Bristol, since 2000 and retired on 31 May 2019. Rod has also served as a director of the Independent Schools’ Bursars Association for 5 years and was the ISBA appointee director of the Independent Schools Inspectorate in 2016/17.

Justin Hodges

Justin Hodges

Director

Prior to Abingdon, Justin was at Vodafone for 12 years where he held various positions, including Head of Financial Planning & Analysis at Vodafone UK, Southern Europe Financial Controller for Vodafone Group, Head of Strategy at Vodafone Italy and Director of Vodafone Ventures. Prior to this, he worked for Goldman Sachs investment bank in London and San Francisco. Justin graduated from Oxford University with a MEng in Engineering, Economics & Management, and a MSc in Management Studies. Justin is also an OA. Justin joined Abingdon School as Director of Finance & Operations in 2015. His responsibilities are Foundation-wide and include finance, facilities development and maintenance, compliance, security, IT and Information Systems, health and safety, grounds, gardens, catering, housekeeping, financial assistance programmes, company secretary as well as commercial activities in Abingdon School Enterprises.

David Russell

David Russell

Director

David attended Leeds Central High School, joined the Royal Navy in 1970 and commanded three submarines and a surface warship during a career in which he reached the rank of Commodore. He was the first Commanding Officer of HMS VANGUARD, the UK’s lead Trident submarine, and led the British effort to rescue survivors from the sunken Russian submarine Kursk in the Barents Sea in 2000. He attended the Royal College of Defence Studies in 1995, the Higher Command and Staff Course in 1998, the Financial Seminar for Senior Managers at London Business School in May 2002 and the Foundation Endowment and Asset Management Course at the Judge Business School in 2009. He gained a first class honours degree in law with the Open University in 2003 and has spoken at the Oxford Union, Harvard Business School and Lausanne University. David joined the Harpur Trust as Chief Executive in 2002. During his time as Chief Executive, the Charity has adopted its first three strategic plans, under which it has increased its grant making, widened access to its schools, merged two of its girls’ schools, changed its legal structure, initiated a programme of social investment, revised its governance arrangements and sponsored a Multi Academy Trust in Bedford. His interests include opera, sailing, hill walking, personal fitness, travel and reading for pleasure.

Julie Lerbech

Julie Lerbech

Director

Julie has been the Bursar and Clerk to the Governors at Colfe’s School since 2010. After completing Bachelor and Masters degrees in Natural Sciences at Jesus College, Cambridge, Julie joined EY and gained her Chartered Accountancy qualification. Whilst at EY Julie specialised in insurance audit and advisory and worked with a number of listed insurers and Lloyd’s syndicates.

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