Case study

Account handler — Andrew

Andrew enjoys the combination of hard work and socialising that is a feature of working in insurance. Find out how his role is developing with a leading insurance broker

How did you get into insurance?

While working as an apprentice carpenter after graduating with a 2:1 degree in economics, I applied to graduate schemes at top London insurance brokers.

accepted my application and I went through the process in the usual way. It consisted of numerous psychometric tests, an assessment day and final interviews.

What's a typical day like as an account handler?

I work usual office hours with the exception of busy renewal periods. My main responsibilities as an account handler are tailoring each policy to clients' needs and dealing with client requests and queries; and as a broker I negotiate new risks, renewals and policy endorsements with insurers.

My days are supplemented by extensive research, data farming and other administrative tasks.

What do you enjoy about working in insurance?

The insurance industry is known to be sociable and this is certainly a highlight for me.

I have had the opportunity to meet many industry professionals and build relationships, both in a professional and social setting. This is especially true within JLT itself due to the emphasis of 'flat' management. This has created a very genuine feeling of camaraderie within our division and I can honestly say that I have strong relationships with colleagues both inside and outside of the office.

What are the challenges?

There is always something new to learn within my role. It's almost as though working as an insurance broker is as much a 'trade' as it is a 'profession', with great weight being placed on experience.

The greatest challenge to me, therefore, is to open myself to as many difference experiences and opportunities as possible.

Was your economics degree essential for the job?

I believe the experience of obtaining a 2:1 at university was in itself excellent preparation for my job because it requires you to balance social engagements with hard work and exams.

Economics as a degree has sharpened my analytical skills and has allowed me to understand how the economic environment influences the mechanics of business in general.

How has your role at JLT developed?

As an aerospace graduate on the JLT Specialty graduate programme, I was given the opportunity to rotate through all the teams within the division. This involved time in claims, technical services, broking, business research and account handling.

My final rotational position was account handling with aviation products, which has evolved to include broking as well as multiple data and research responsibilities.

How do I get a job in insurance?

Gain as broad a range of life experience as you possibly can, whether it is sport, travel or literature - anything at all. Insurance is a relationships business and the more things you're interested in the more people you open yourself up to.

Also research the company and the industry thoroughly. However, don't waste time trying to gain specific technical knowledge that is beyond the scope of the application process.

Finally practise being interviewed and giving presentations.

It's extremely time-consuming applying to a number of different companies and many of the brightest people with the best degrees will fail at the most unexpected times. Don't give up.

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