• Bio: Claire has nearly 30 years’ experience in the insurance sector since starting in an A level trainee role and hasn’t looked back since! She can count being made the first female manager for AGCS in London amongst her accolades. Read on to see if you might like to follow in Claire’s footsteps!
  • Role: Global Practice Leader, International Insurance Solutions

Claire McDonald

Why did you choose not to attend university?

I had a place to do biology with french – I realised I wanted to do the french more than the biology so it seemed pointless to go. I couldn’t do a whole new set of A levels so I went job hunting instead!

What do you do in a typical working day?

Problem solving and making the various different parts of the company work together is one of the bigger parts of my job. I ensure that we sell our product correctly and, when we have global clients with international programmes, that we provide the service expected of us. I am in Germany frequently and often have the opportunity to meet the risk managers of our insured clients to understand what we are doing right and what needs to be improved.

How does your role fit into the wider insurance picture?

Large multinational companies do not want individual negotiations in each country – they want to have one central conversation with an insurer and be able to implement from that central point. My job is about how Allianz sells and delivers that mechanism.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The variety. No two days are the same – I speak to people from all over the world and I am working on something that our clients care about.

What is the most challenging part of your role?

Trying to predict what our clients will expect from us in the future in terms of digital delivery in what has been, to date, a very relationship-driven area.

What do you need to be successful in your role?

To enjoy solving problems, constant learning, developing networks and keeping an ear to the ground.
Have you obtained any professional qualifications during your career?
As a condition of my first contract, I had to take the CII Advanced Diploma in Insurance (ACII). It was a very good foundation, which I recommend to all starters in insurance.

What have been your career highlights so far?

  • Being the first female manager for AGCS in London
  • Creating and executing a London office strategy
  • Change management in Paris – very different to the UK, and all in french
  • Getting my new job!

What are the main benefits of working in risk?

There are so many different jobs you can do, through the different roles I have taken – I have travelled (lots of countries from Kuwait to Australia, Bahrain to South Africa), lived in another country, been able to have a diverse career all whilst working for one employer. Who knows what or where my next role will be – to be nearly 30 years in and still learning is fantastic!

Why did you choose a career in insurance?

I didn’t – I knew nothing about insurance. I picked my first job as it was an A level trainee role where there was guaranteed training and job progression linked to exam performance and on-the-job success. Other influencing factors were that the receptionist knew my name and that my offer letter came the very next morning! No regrets at all though.

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