In September the application process for internships opens, and all students rush to apply for the best internships – which, of course, will be insurance related. After making it through this stage you are then put on a rigorous interview process, and the best are selected.
Out of the many who applied, three were selected per department. So here I am now, in my suit, about to step into the huge world of insurance without a bit of experience.
The introduction to the company was fantastic. They introduced me to the team, as well as the Managing Director. Everyone was friendly and welcoming. On top of this, I received my laptop, as well as all the normal formalities of a new starter, finished off by a tour of my floor.
I attended a presentation hosted by one of the company’s clients, outlining how they value up each claim, where there was magnificent attention to detail. The rest of the day was spent picking out key learning points from this presentation, and seeing how the company can relay these findings to their clients effectively and efficiently.
They introduced me to the magnificent Lloyd’s building, where I toured all the floors; and was amazed by just how much business could occur in one building. Everywhere I looked there was a transaction going on. In addition, everyone was dressed formally – I later realised it is practically considered a taboo to walk into the Lloyd’s building without a tie. The atmosphere in here was so motivational – I was able to see every single aspect of insurance in one building. My favourite floor was the first floor, where all the underwriters and brokers were frantically closing business deals.
I sat down with two members of the team and they went through their day-to-day activities. The first colleague I met handled business in Australia, and the second in Japan. Because it was client services, they handled the processing side of things.
I met two new member of client services who handled different countries and they outlined how processing differs from country to country.
Everyone has been very friendly but today I met the nicest employee in the company. He was an absolute pleasure to talk to, and he introduced me to the major impact culture clash has on the business. Different cultures have different customs, so treating customers with the same respect we give our locals could easily be perceived as an insult. We have to adapt to emulate the company’s fantastic customer service skills.
I was set my first task – to review some figures given by the client, by creating an account in Excel, thus ensuring all figures provided are correct. I loved this part of things, because it was right up my avenue – I study maths. I was able to do a lot of the calculations in my head.
My second task was set. The client had supplied all percentages and figures in its account on a points-based system, but our customer required all statistics provided in normal percentage form. So I had to convert all the figures.
Due to automation, there are a lot of new systems in place to create most of the documents our clients need. But, once created, they need to be submitted to another system so that they are accessible to our Lloyd’s and LIRMA customers. Different customers like their documents submitted in different ways, so we need to cater for this. From this task, I was able to see how easy it was for a system to affect the duration of a simple task. A simple four-hour task took me two days to complete because the system in use kept crashing.
Here I was able to learn that getting angry all the time didn’t solve anything. I need to maintain my composure and ensure I communicate with my manager, so it doesn’t seem like I have not done any work for a long period of time. I don’t want it to look like I am unproductive.
I continued Day 9’s task, and made a start on my charity project – which was to raise as much money as possible for a chosen charity. My group and I wanted to be different, so we made a video outlining everything good which our charity is involved in.
At lunchtime, I saw a colleague who looked very young, so I decided to engage in conversation with him. It turned out he had studied mathematics like me, and he let me know consulting would be a good route for me. So I asked if I could be with his team for a day, and learn a thing or two, and he was more than happy for me to do so.
I used this day to meet my new acquaintance and he ran through what he had to do on a day-to-day basis. It was completely different to what I had been learning in the previous weeks, but very interesting.
Days 13, 14 & 15
I used these days to complete all the compulsory learning modules, as well as working on a fundraising activity. We had a jar full of jellybeans and colleagues had to guess how many there are – from this we raised just over £500. This was fun because it was for a good cause, and it was very interesting to see everyone’s different thought process on how to calculate it. I feel I am learning to adapt my own thought process in tackling obstacles which I face on the internship and in life.
I used this to complete many more tasks of the sort completed previously, as well as work on my charity project. I also went to many events, some at bars and others at different companies. I used this as an opportunity to network, and ended up arranging more work experience at another company later on in the summer. This shows how friendly the people in insurance are – and it is down to you how you use this to your advantage.
To my surprise, at the end of my four-week internship I was asked to stay for an additional two weeks.
Week 5 & 6
I used these extra weeks to gain new Excel skills. My favourite is VLOOKUP, which is a look-up and referencing tool to make finding a particular figure in a column of, for example, 20,000 easy. I was also busy completing any tasks my colleagues had for me.