Adam Marks, Willis Towers Watson
Willis' FINEX Division, Apprenticeship in Providing Financial Services | Professional Indemnity New Busness Account Handler
What is your name?
My name is Adam Marks. I work for Willis Towers Watson where I completed an Apprenticeship in Providing Financial Services.
Where have you worked?
I have worked within FINEX (Financial & Executive Risks) division, specifically the FINEX National Professional Indemnity team placing insurance cover for clients within the UK and Ireland. Willis Towers Watson is a global advisory and broker business employing over 40,000 people in over 100 countries worldwide.
What is your role?
Professional Indemnity (PI) insurance aims to protect a client where it is alleged that they are negligent in the professional service they provide and there is a financial loss to a third party, and my role is to facilitate and advise on the purchase and placement of cover for our clients who work in a wide variety of industry sectors. I work on the high volume, small to medium enterprise (SME) book and these placements typically have a premium of under £10,000. This role is client- and insurer-facing and includes approaching insurers for terms, producing and issuing quotes to the client, binding cover and issuing the client's policy documentation. I also complete all the administration which accompanies these processes and ensure that we work within the compliance requirements set by Willis Towers Watson and the Financial Conduct Authority.
What do you do in a typical working day?
This daily role can vary quite drastically depending on the time of year; with peak workflow being at the end of the calendar and financial year.
What were you doing before this role?
Before this, I worked in retail for two years. This position gave me a lot of experience in customer service which is vital for my client-facing role at Willis Towers Watson.
How did you find out about the company and the Apprenticeship?
My knowledge of Willis Towers Watson stemmed from work experience placements. After these placements I continued to keep in contact through the Education Liaison Team and this led to me applying for the first Apprenticeship scheme which began in September 2012.
How has the Apprenticeship helped you?
I chose an Apprenticeship over university as I liked the idea of being in a position to "earn while you learn". I feel the Apprenticeship has helped me because of the qualification earned and the first-hand experience I have gained in the last 16 months.
How has the Apprenticeship helped your company?
I believe Apprenticeships help companies due to the new perspective that comes with the young employees. This is particularly prominent in the sense that the current generation is so heavily reliant, and therefore highly skilled, in the new communications, media and digital applications that are now seen everywhere around the world. This subsequently brings this new perspective to business and a level of natural innovation to the company.
How does your role fit into the business?
There are many roles within Willis Towers Watson, which can range from analysing and producing data which we provide to clients and insurers, to placing insurance for companies around the world. My role fits within the placing process.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Working in insurance is exciting due to the fast-paced nature of the job and the industry in general. I enjoy interacting with the clients and communicating with insurers. Although the job is technical, it is also a service industry and very people-focused so I also like the balance of the more sociable side of the business which has included attendance at corporate events as well as business and networking lunches.
What is the most challenging part of your role?
As my job is to service a very high-volume book of business, the most challenging part has to be the need to manage my workload and provide good client service to multiple clients at the same time. I found this particularly challenging in the beginning due to coming straight out of a college environment and in to the full-time working environment.
What do you need to be successful in your role?
To be successful in an insurance-placing role, you need to be able to stick to tight deadlines and ensure every one of your clients has adequate cover at the right time. For this, organisational and time management skills are key.
Have you taken any professional qualifications?
I have completed the Insurance, Legal and Regulatory (IF1) paper of the CII Certificate in Insurance as this was a required part of my Apprenticeship. I am aiming to complete the Diploma in Insurance (Dip CII) throughout my next few years and then work towards the Advanced Diploma in Insurance (ACII).
What have been your career highlights so far?
The qualification and experience I have gained throughout my Apprenticeship increases my employability and shows that I can manage and organise my workload whilst studying. This has been demonstrated by gaining a permanent position within FINEX National in the Summer of 2013; this, together with completing my Apprenticeship in November 2013, are my career highlights so far.
What are the main benefits of working in the profession?
The benefits of working in the insurance profession have to include the wide range of jobs available to people. There is a job to suit everyone, whether you have skills that are analytical, mathematical, persuasive or whether you are very people-focused. In addition to this, skills are transferable in that you are able to change roles easily if you are skilled in a particular class of business, for example broker to underwriter.
What do you think you will be doing this time next year?
This time next year, I hope to have cemented my position within the Professional Indemnity team and be involved in some more complex PI risks. I am also striving to be more involved in Cyber Insurance which is a new and emerging product and is likely to see an increased profile when changes to legislation are introduced and clients become more aware of its benefits.
Why did you choose a career in insurance?
I chose insurance as a career as I have always been interested in the business and the finance sector. Since taking Economics in college I have learnt how certain factors can be detrimental or advantageous to the economy. Insurance helps to remove uncertainty for businesses, is a sustainable industry and so should continue to grow and provide jobs.
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