It’s National Apprenticeship Week! We are huge supporters of the apprenticeship scheme here at ICCI. Last year when our apprentices first joined us, we sat down with both Annabelle Barnes & Jasmine Shepherd to get to know them. Since then our Apprentices have become vital members of our ICCI team. They are now a year into their apprenticeship journey and it has been a pleasure watching them become confident, capable and innovative professionals.
This National Apprenticeship week, we caught up with Annabelle who has been working as an Apprentice Underwriter in our Commercial underwriting team. We asked Annabelle about her experience as an apprentice and how it has helped her start her career in insurance.
How did you hear about the opportunity for your apprenticeship at ICCI?
I heard about the apprenticeship opportunity through a recruitment agency. I was looking for a career where I could do training on the job and progress through a defined pathway.
How have you found your apprenticeship in general so far?
I have really enjoyed my apprenticeship so far. It has exceeded my expectations in a lot of ways. The role as an apprentice has meant that a good structure has been put into place, providing me with a well-rounded understanding of the business not just the day-to-day tasks. This has been done by shadowing my colleagues in personal and commercial underwriting, claims and accounts, as well as attending professional development courses online and at the GTA.
What has been your biggest challenge during your apprenticeship?
My biggest challenge during my apprenticeship has been working from home. The first lockdown was only a few weeks into the start of my apprenticeship and learning the systems through zoom calls was difficult, but it made me more independent and driven to learn.
What has been the biggest highlight of your apprenticeship?
The biggest highlight of my apprenticeship so far has been working towards my Certificate In Insurance. I have passed two of my exams so far and I am aiming to do my final exam in March. Achieving my Cert is a requirement for my apprenticeship and I am proud that my hard work towards it has paid off. Studying for these exams has given me a wider understanding in underwriting as well as other areas such as claims, compliance and accounts.
What is it like working for ICCI?
The culture at ICCI is a relaxed and positive environment. I work on the underwriting floor in the commercial team and everyone is always up for a chat and making a round of teas and coffees is a great excuse to catch up. We have been able to do lots of fun activities as a whole company as well as team outings, including a trip to the Rocquettes Cider and Tennerfest dinners. My favourite activity was our volunteer day where we went to the GSPCA and provided support.
What kind of tasks do you complete on a daily basis?
On a daily basis, I review the smaller sized commercial cases. These can vary from shop policies to rented flats. I check a wide range of risk features such as whether the properties are in a flood area, occupancy details, the claims history and then write a review on how the policy is running. I also make any mid-term adjustments to existing policies that are needed and provide quotations to brokers for new policies.
How is ICCI supporting you during your apprenticeship journey?
When I first started at ICCI, I was taken through a plan of the apprenticeship with short-term and long-term targets to work towards. I have regular meetings to discuss how I am progressing against my plan. These targets are gradually achieved as I progress in my career and there is no pressure to achieve them under a time restraint. The benefit of working towards a plan is that I can see where I need to develop and what the clear steps are for my professional development. An example of this is achieving the Certificate In Insurance. ICCI have supported my work towards the Certificate In Insurance by financing and providing study leave for each exam. I have worked with a mentor to prepare for my exams and knowing my colleagues have all been in the same position means that everyone is very understanding and willing to help.
Where do you see yourself in the next year or two at Insurance Corporation?
In the next year or two I will be working towards my Diploma. I also aim to work on my licence progression in both property owners and commercial packages. Higher levels of licences would allow me to have more authority and show my understanding and development in underwriting.
Do you have any advice for people looking to do an apprenticeship with us and a career in insurance?
ICCI is a friendly, local company with the support of our parent company RSA and so there are a large amount of opportunities, with strong career progression opportunities in multiple areas of insurance. Before joining ICCI my knowledge and understanding of insurance was limited but I have learnt so much in a short period of time and so my advice for anyone looking to do an apprenticeship would be to reach out and ask for information on the different areas involved in insurance.