Ben Geffen, Brightside Group

Ben Geffen, Brightside Group

BA Philosophy I Graduate Trainee Insurance Broker

What is your role?

I am a Graduate Trainee Insurance Broker currently specialising in Public and Employers’ Liability, Professional Indemnity and Property insurance. 

What were you doing before this role?

I was studying Philosophy at the University of Leeds.

What do you do in a typical working day?

At the moment, my typical working day is well-balanced between dealing with new clients and working on projects for/with senior management. When I am dealing with new clients I am responsible for ensuring they are put on the correct cover and all their needs have been met - I am usually their first point of contact with Brightside. 

I also work on projects for the senior management team. I am very lucky here in that if I go to management with an idea, which they approve, then they will let me lead the project.

How does your role fit into the wider insurance picture?

Given an insurance broker is the intermediary between the client and the underwriter I am lucky enough to be involved in a role that is at the forefront of the insurance profession. In a nutshell, a broker takes a client’s business to the underwriter and ensures that the client has the most appropriate level of cover arranged. This allows me to understand how terms are agreed, understand renewals processes and how to place clients’ risks. Insurance broking plays a key part in the fast-paced and dynamic sector. 

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I love the buzz of handling risk. On a day-to-day basis I regularly come across niche situations which clients are looking to cover. For example, the other day I had a Fire Eater looking to cover her trade just in case she set herself or her surroundings on fire. Every new client brings a new risk and I really enjoy the diversity and ever-changing environment that being an insurance broker brings.  

What is the most challenging part of your role?

Similar to the above - the fact that every client brings a different risk means that, especially in the early stages of my time here, the most challenging part of my role is definitely knowing how to categorise and truly understand the full extent of a client’s risk.  

What do you need to be successful in your role?

In my experience, communication skills and a strong willingness to learn are essential. You need to be able to engage a client to fully understand the extent of their needs. If you are confident in yourself and enjoy dealing with a range of people then there is no reason why you will not excel as a broker. 

The reason I believe a strong willingness to learn is essential is due to every client bringing a new risk meaning you are learning every day. You need this strong willingness to learn to stay on top of things.  

Have you taken any professional qualifications?

Not yet - I will start my CII qualifications in 2017 which Brightside has set up for me and are giving me suitable time to study towards as well as paying for the exams.

What have been your career highlights so far?

Brightside devotes a lot of time to making sure that we understand how to talk to clients and how we handle clients’ risks correctly. As part of this, they review the quality and compliance standards of our client-broker relations that we form as individuals. My biggest highlight so far would be receiving one of the highest client quality reviews across the company.    

My other highlight would be how the senior management team have supported me by letting me
lead my own projects - Brightside really want to see what I can do.

What are the main benefits of working in the profession?

The personal development is second-to-none. The profession is so diverse, fast-paced and demanding that you are continuously learning, building confidence and understanding how to deal with clients and business professionals alike. I would highly recommend this profession to anyone that enjoys building relationships and a fast-paced dynamic environment.

Why did you choose a career in insurance?

I was offered a one-week work experience placement with a London broker during my time at university. It was not a sector that had previously caught my attention but I thought it would do no harm having the experience on my CV. I was surprised by how exciting the profession was, given my initial expectations. This sparked my interest in insurance and led me to Brightside. 

When were you a Discover member?

As part of the work experience mentioned above I was lucky enough to be made a Discover member which was just over a year ago. 

What did you value the most from your Discover membership?

What I found with Discover Risk is that it is the only really good platform out there that explains insurance in simple terms to those who want to get into it. Everything else that I came across assumes a certain level of knowledge regarding insurance but Discover Risk is really good for those starting from scratch. 

On top of this, the monthly updates explaining what is happening in the sector are excellent as well as the notifications of any available jobs/internships. 

Overall, it was my first point of contact when looking to keep up to date with any industry news and I would always check the website before any interviews with brokers to refresh my knowledge.  « Back to case studies