Sinead is our Business Development Manager and has been with the ICCI family for over 13 years, specialising in both personal lines and commercial insurance. For Sinead, the best part of her job is developing long lasting relationships with her clients and finding the right insurance solutions to fit her customer’s needs.
We spoke to Sinead to find out more about her career and what she loves to do outside of work...
- You joined ICCI nearly 13½ years go – how did you get into insurance?
I was fresh out of college and knew I needed to get my first full-time job but I honestly didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do, who does? I approached a local recruitment agency for advice and they had an underwriting role at ICCI available. I will never forget it as I was like “what does that [underwriting] mean” and they didn’t know either, so we all Googled it! I thought it sounded interesting, so I went along to the interview and the rest is history as they say!
- How has your career grown since starting with ICCI?
I have been so lucky at ICCI that I have been able to do what I am good at and the business has developed a role to play to my strengths. Not many businesses give people that opportunity. I joined as an Assistant Underwriter dealing with Personal Lines and Commercial insurance. My role then naturally steered towards relationship building type roles, with the Development Manager and the Trading Manager positions. I am now the Business Development Manager for ICCI.
- Describe your role to someone outside the Company?
My role basically involves relationship management between our customers. I work really closely with our Brokers within the islands, as well as assisting the team from a relationship building perspective. I help secure our annual renewals and develop a new business pipeline to bring new business opportunities to the Company.
- How has your role had to adapt during the past year with the pandemic?
My role turned on its head overnight and I had to get comfortable with the uncomfortable very quickly! My role prior to Covid involved travelling once a week to Guernsey from Jersey. As a result of the travel and physical distancing restrictions the way I conducted my role changed. Where I would be mainly 70% Broker facing on a face to face basis, I went to zero face to face interaction. It’s been very challenging but at the same time hugely rewarding. Like everyone else, I have had to embrace new ways of working. It has taken me out of my comfort zone, as I prefer face to face trading, but I have learnt new technology skills and managed our tri-partite relationships successfully. We had built such strong relationships with our Brokers prior, which helped the transition into the new virtual ways of trading.
- What is your favourite part of the job?
Meeting people! I just love meeting and getting to know people and hearing about their lives. Not only do I get to interact with our whole team but I also get to speak to a huge array of different characters and personalities that we work with externally, which I find so fascinating.
- As you know we consider our teams health and wellbeing a priority. What are your 3 top tips for maintaining a healthy work-life balance?
Switch off - I think it’s really important when you are at home to switch off outside of business hours and spend quality time with family and friends.
Golden Hour – I love that ICCI brought in the Golden Hour where you get an hour ‘for you’ each day, in addition to your lunch hour. I’ve used it to get out in the fresh air, have a walk and reset. It has made such a huge difference to have a ‘real’ break each day both mentally and physically.
Don’t be too hard on yourself – Remember you can only do what you can do. As long as you know you are trying your best, in the time you have, that’s all that matters.
- What are 3 words you would use to describe ICCI and why?
Relationships – This is where ICCI excels. We have built such strong relationships within our local communities. We also have such a friendly team who are really respectful of each other and our clients. The nature of our business is to care for people, supporting our local communities and helping them in their hour of need if they have to make a claim.
Supportive – ICCI empowers staff to play to their strengths. The Management team encourage and support the whole team to bring out the best in everyone, empowering staff to play to their strengths and personalities. What I love is that we are all so different with a variety of personalities and different colours [Insight Profiling], yet we compliment and balance each other out.
Flexible – I have been so lucky with the flexibility ICCI has shown me in supporting me become a mum, whilst enabling me career development opportunities.
- Is there an industry trend that you are following closely? What is it and why is it important to you?
The hardening trading market in the insurance industry. With the challenge of increased premiums and the tightening of terms, I think it is more important than ever we proactively work with our Brokers in a timely manner. It is very important our team understands the challenges our Brokers face and find ways to support them, to meet their/our customer’s needs.
- What do you see as the greatest challenge facing the insurance industry? How do you think we can overcome it?
I see two challenges: 1) technology – the global impact of technological advancements replacing human personal trading relationships and 2) climate change – the global impact of rising sea levels and weather patterns from a storm/flood perspective, which is a huge challenge for us locally. I’m interested to see how the industry responds to these challenges over time.
- If you had one piece of advice for someone considering a career in insurance, what would it be?
Don’t do it! I am joking! Seriously, my best piece of advice would be study, study, study and do it early on. I am so pleased I did my CII Certificate & Diploma in Insurance when I was younger and had less commitment/responsibilities outside of work. I have been incredibly lucky that ICCI have encouraged and supported my professional growth and in so doing, I have gained a broader insight to the industry.
- When you are not at the office, what do you like doing?
Spending quality time with my family and friends and being a mum to my 5 year old (going on 15!) daughter Freya, who is my mini-me, and my dog, Ringo, they are what I live for! The highlight of my life is being a mum. It’s the best job in the world, second to being a Business Development Manager!
- What would you do (for a career) if you weren’t doing your role at ICCI?
I think it would have to be a nurse or a doctor, something that involved helping and taking care of people. Since being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at the age of 20, I have spent a lot of time around nurses and doctors and that has been the biggest turning point, in seeing first-hand what they do and how they help people.
- What’s on your bucket list that you haven’t had a chance to complete yet?
For me, all I want in life is to have a happy and healthy family. I love creating memories and I also cannot wait to take Freya and my Partner, Dave, on a road trip to visit Ireland which is where my Granddad was from. My Granddad was born in Tipperary so I want to explore his heritage. I would also love to visit the Guinness factory again! A safari and visiting Mexico, when we can, are also on the bucket list! I would also love to learn to cook – as I cannot cook at all!
- If you could pick one song as your theme song, what would it be and why?
‘Girls just wanna have fun’ – that’s just me, as I love having fun with family and friends.