Spotlight interview

Annabelle Barnes
Underwriting Apprentice

You’ve very recently joined our apprenticeship scheme. It’s been brilliant to have you onboard! How has it been for you so far?

I have really enjoyed my apprenticeship so far. Insurance was not something I had previously thought about as a career path. However, coming back to Guernsey during a global pandemic meant that I was open to any opportunities the Island had to offer. I was so lucky to have landed such a great opportunity with such a fun and welcoming office environment. Although I have not been with the company for long I have learnt a lot in a short space of time and enjoy the work that I do.

It’s obviously been a challenging time to join in light of current lockdown restrictions in the Channel Islands. How has that effected you as a new team member and have you been able to find your feet on your new career path?

It is quite intimidating to be so new within a company and be working from home. Having to overcome wifi issues, computer malfunctions and countless ‘sorry the phone cut out can you say that again please’, I now feel settled into my new normal. Along with my daily workload, I receive training calls to talk through more difficult cases and review my work. My team have 3 meetings a week which is great to catch up and still be part of some form of normality. We have been able to do zoom socials, which is a great opportunity to relax together as a team and get to know my colleagues.

What do you do to break up the working day during lockdown? Do you have any recommendations like particular podcasts, hobbies or exercises, for example?

I have enjoyed being able to spend lots of time with my black Labrador puppy, Henry. I am trying to teach him some cute dance moves and it’s going well! I have also been doing an embroidery project which has kept me relaxed. To get me though the day I have been listening to Radio 1’s Scott Mills Daily Podcast, and an endless amount of musical theatre soundtracks.

What are you working towards through the scheme and do you have particular ambitions?

After my probation period, I will work towards gaining qualifications, starting with the Certificate in Insurance. I am excited about the ability to keep progressing in the underwriting field, with achievable milestones to reach along the way. As I progress in my career I aim to develop my insurance licence to allow me to deal with larger cases.

What drew you to our apprenticeship scheme?

When starting my job search my priorities were to find an office where there was a community atmosphere, as well as the ability to progress in my career. Having had little office experience prior to applying I was looking for a role in which I would be supported to learn from scratch on the job and so an apprenticeship was perfect for what I wanted. What drew me to this apprenticeship is that it builds a strong foundation in underwriting which I then have the ability to keep developing through self-study and qualifications.

We value our apprentices and the apprenticeship scheme highly. Have you felt supported during your apprenticeship so far?

I have definitely felt supported during my apprenticeship. Especially whilst working from home it has been very reassuring to have such a helpful and supportive team. Knowing where I can go if I need advice, whether about work or not.

It is early days but what do you feel you have learned so far from your experience?

A priority that ICCI have had in my training is that I develop an understanding of the whole company including the processes that the customer would go through. This meant sitting with different members of staff in a range of teams. This was really helpful in knowing the purpose of my role and how my work impacts and is impacted by the other teams. Along with this I received one-to-one training and shadowed members of my team. As the weeks have progressed I have become more and more independent and feel confident in the work I am doing.

One last question: do you have any advice for anyone that is looking for a new career path?

My advice for anyone looking for a new career path is to be open to new experiences. I think it is important to have priorities in terms of the environment in which you wish to work and how you want to progress, not to go into a job search with a preconceived idea about the perfect job, be open-minded and ask questions.