Why did you choose a job in this sector?
I knew I wanted to work in “the City” but, having graduated with a Sport and Exercise Science degree and diverted from a career in teaching, I wasn’t sure which profession to pursue. I hadn’t even considered a career in insurance until after I graduated, partly because the London insurance market is a hidden gem that not many students and graduates know about. However, having done some research into the sector, it became apparent that it is a very diverse and sociable industry that offers excellent career prospects and the opportunity to continually develop throughout your career. I was also attracted by the opportunity to travel (I have only been at THB Group for six months but already have trips planned to Holland and to visit our parent company AmWINS in the USA) and the fact that a career in insurance can be financially rewarding whilst maintaining a good work-life balance relative to other financial sectors.
How did you get your job at THB Group? What was the application process like – any advice?
I got my job at THB Group on their Graduate Programme. Like most graduate schemes, the application process consisted of several stages that tested your soft skills and knowledge of the Company and insurance industry. The preliminary stages included an online application, a telephone interview and numerical/verbal reasoning tests. The final round was an assessment day which consisted of a written exercise, a group task, interviews and a presentation. Whilst very demanding, the whole application process at THB was not as intimidating as applications are made out to be and it was an enjoyable and engaging way to find out more about the company and its inclusive culture. If I was to give someone advice about the application process it would be to research contemporary issues surrounding the insurance industry and your prospective company, but also fully understand the role you’re applying for and don’t be afraid to express why you think you’re suitable.
What does the THB Group Graduate Programme entail?
The Graduate Programme at THB Group is an 18-month rotational programme which gives a well-rounded introduction to the insurance industry by providing:
- an induction programme that will give you the essential skills and knowledge needed to succeed at THB
- exposure to different parts of the business
- a short term external underwriting placement
- an appreciation of the roles of the central operations, claims and technician teams
- relevant workshops through the in-house THB Learning and Development initiative
- a THB mentor and buddy who provide advice and support throughout the scheme
- an active network of colleagues and resources
- support towards achieving ACII accreditation
What are your main roles?
Throughout my first six months on the rotational Programme I have worked with a claims team, two broking teams and my next placement is with Unicorn Underwriting, so my duties throughout the 18-month Graduate Programme will vary considerably. For example at the start of the Graduate Programme I helped facilitate the movement of claims monies to clients in North America and the Caribbean in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. I also helped North American property brokers process new insurance risks and prepare documents to be presented to underwriters. Whereas now I am working in the marine department and I am responsible for managing new accounts and broking these new risks in Lloyd’s of London, namely cargo risks situated in South America and Eurasia.
Outside my day-to-day job, THB Group has enabled me to enroll with a number of volunteering and charity initiatives within the London Market such as the Festival for Diversity and Inclusion and the Lloyd’s of London Reading Partner Programme. It has been very encouraging to see that the insurance industry offers a variety of opportunities outside of the corporate environment.
Is it a 9-5 job?
My set hours are 9-5 and I typically stick to these, however certain periods of the year are busier than others and I will work longer if need be. That said, THB understand the need for a work/life balance so if a shorter working day is ever necessary, they are flexible as long as I have completed my work.
What skills are useful in this sector?
The insurance industry is all about building and maintaining relationships with people from a variety of backgrounds. Being able to build a rapport with clients whilst negotiating business can be one of the biggest challenges so it is imperative for individuals to have excellent interpersonal and communication skills. I am very fortunate that the in-house Learning and Development initiatives at THB have enabled me to develop these soft and technical skills. The insurance sector is also varied, competitive and fast-paced so being organised and having the ability to analyse and solve problems quickly is very valuable.
What would you like to achieve in the future?
In most industries your first job can shape the rest of your career, however the great thing about the insurance industry is that your career path does not have to be linear. For example, you may start off working in claims but could end up working in compliance, loss adjusting, underwriting or broking. It is important to keep your options open however I have thoroughly enjoyed my broking experience so far and can see myself doing it for the foreseeable future. Therefore, my aim for now is to continue developing my knowledge base and skill set and become an expert in my chosen field. Alongside this I am also planning to achieve my ACII qualification within the next two years.
Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to get into the industry?
Identify the skillset required and emphasise any of your previous experiences that demonstrate these skills. Then when you have secured a job in the industry, make the most of any opportunities your company and various insurance institutes offer.