Dean Sobers, Senior Writer/Researcher - Insurance Lead, Which?

In today's Money Talks, Headlinemoney Awards 2023 winner Dean Sobers offers advice on how to navigate personal finance jargon, reveals his shock at the valuation of some beachside sheds, and discusses his love of music.
Dean Sobers, Senior Writer/Researcher - Insurance Lead, Which?

What are the main beats that you cover?


What has been your proudest moment working in financial journalism?

Maybe 2021. I won some journalism awards recognising work from 2020 - a tumultuous, tough year to say the least. I felt pretty validated. 

Congratulations on your success at the 2023 Headlinemoney Awards! How did you feel when your name was announced as the winner?        

I felt great. 

How can PRs help you with your work? 

Put me on your mailing lists. If you’re touting a press release or report, you don’t need to call and pitch me the toplines first - just email it to me.   

When are the best times for PRs/press offices to contact you?

Any time, really. If I don’t get back to you it doesn’t mean you’ve approached me at the wrong time of day or committed some faux pas. It more likely means I’m snowed under or you’ve sent me something that isn’t for us at that time.  

What is the financial interview you’d most like to arrange?

At the moment, I’m trying to interview some loss adjusters. Any about?

What is the piece of financial services research you’d most like to read?

Probably something that can bring me up to speed on how the insurance industry is grappling with climate change and what this means for consumers. This is an area in which I seriously need to improve my knowledge!

What was the last article you read that really shocked you?

Articles about and by ChatGPT and generative AI. I’m a bit freaked out by all that stuff. Closer to home, there was a recent piece in our July magazine by Joe Wright about the boom in the value of beach huts. I have to admit to being flabbergasted by the idea of these beachside sheds being worth £400-£500k! 

What is the one piece of advice you’d give to someone starting out in financial journalism?

The questions you’re most likely to skip over for worry of sounding uninformed are typically the most important questions. That might come across as trite or patronising but it’s what I have to keep reminding myself. There’s so much jargon and convolutedness in personal finance that you easily fall into a trap of thinking that being straightforward is the same as being simplistic.

Sum up your time as a financial journalist in three words:

Really interesting - honestly.

If you were up for an award for any hobbies/activities outside of work, what would you be likely to win, and why?

I make and play music as a hobby in a couple of ‘bands’ (the inverted commas mean we don’t do much gigging; mostly noodling about in home studios). This is my only current hobby - and it’s pretty much vital to my sanity. But if I’m deeply, brutally honest, I don’t see any Grammys in my future! 

Finally, if you had to eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Fried kippers with sweetcorn, onions, and pepper sauce, with rice. It was the first meal I learned to cook, and I’m not sick of it 30ish years later - so probably the wise choice.

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