“Who says a career in Insurance as a Risk Management professional is boring? The insights you gain into businesses and the world of financial services are truly fascinating.” – Nousheen Hassan, CEO and founder of Innovative Risk Audit talks us through her career and experience in the sector, plus offers her advice for prospective insurance graduates.
Why did you choose a career in the industry?
I did not know much about insurance when I started out in my career. When the word insurance was ever mentioned, I would think about car, home and life insurance. After qualifying as a Chartered Internal Auditor with Deloitte, I came across a role in the AIG Internal Audit team and went for it. That was the start of my career in insurance. The many different aspects of insurance were an eye opener and entry into the Lloyd’s of London market was even more insightful.
I learnt that you can virtually insure anything, from fine art, body parts and personal injury to large ships, companies and people. As an Internal Auditor, I was exposed to all areas of the business, helping me to understand how the different functions in an insurer worked. Not only did this include the underwriting teams who bring in the business, but also the claims teams who manage and pay out to customers, the actuaries who help to model and price the risks as well as, give a view on the level of claims reserves. Then there are all the other teams including risk management, compliance, finance and IT to name just a few. With an insight into so many different areas, it gained my attention and knew I had chosen the right industry.
What is a typical day like for you?
After gaining so much insight into the insurance industry, I decided to become a Senior Risk and Audit Consultant and set up my own company to offer services to insurance clients. I am responsible for seeking out my own business opportunities, clients and building relationships which can all be very intensive. When not working on a client, I start my day by reviewing my business emails, and catching up on the latest developments in the financial services industry.
After following up with clients when required, my day can consist of developing business proposals, attending client meetings or general business development activities. I am responsible for my own marketing, administration and finances which is all very interesting but also keeps me very busy.
When working for a client, I am usually based at their offices. The work I do will depend on the client. Sometimes, I work as part of a team and can be responsible for team management and supporting team members to deliver work. At other times, I may be responsible for delivering smaller projects on my own and in accordance with the client’s expectations. Either way, I have to reach out to people in the business, attend meetings and review significant amounts of information to get the work done.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I like being able to help clients, through my knowledge, skills and experience. It’s great when I can leave a firm feeling like I have added value to the company and their teams. I also love having the flexibility to work on my own but also as part of a team where I can. Working on your own forces you to challenge yourself and resolve problems independently whilst interacting with others helps to build relationships and gain an understanding of what they do.
What would you like to achieve in the future?
To be able to successfully build a small business where I work with others to service my clients. I want to focus on providing services to clients in the insurance industry as I think the opportunities are endless.
What are the current challenges the industry faces?
Regulators such as the PRA and FCA continue to impose stringent regulatory requirements on insurers and reinsurers to make sure customers are protected, products and services being offered are fair and financial stability is maintained. Whilst this is good, it can be time consuming and costly for insurers who are seeking to also run their own businesses, a soft market consisting of low premiums and broad insurance coverage has resulted in increased competition. This has been challenging for businesses who must make profits whilst remaining competitive and also managing their expenses.
Insuretech firms are on the increase and can offer customers quick and easy insurance solutions through the use of technology. This is becoming a threat to insurers who do not have the same capabilities, resources or knowledge to offer such products.
Do you have any advice for anyone want to get into the industry?
Attend industry events where you can and get to know people. Networking is key! If you can try to get onto an internship, apprenticeship programme or just seek out some work experience in an organisation, it will form a good stepping stone for building a career.