Colm Tully, MAPFRE Group
University I Account Executive I Commercial Manager I ACII, Chartered Insurer
Who is your employer?
MAPFRE ASSISTANCE Agency Ireland, who are the Irish branch of MAPFRE ASISTENCIA, the assistance and speciality risks company of the MAPFRE Group.
What is your role?
I am the Commercial Manager for MAPFRE in Ireland, so carry overall responsibility for commercial strategy, product development and client relationship management for the Branch.
What were you doing before this role?
Prior to joining MAPFRE and indeed the Insurer space, I worked in broking as an Account Executive with Aon in Ireland, specialising in the Logistics sector.
What degree did you study for, and from which university?
I originally entered a business and management degree programme with the Dublin Institute of Technology in 2000 but opted to enter the ‘real world’ after completing my certificate 2 years later.
How has your degree helped you in your career so far?
My time in college made me realise that I needed to mature, gain real life working experience and then pursue further education down the line but, frankly, I had no idea what I wanted to do when leaving college. In hindsight, it was a great move as I am now preparing to commence work on my Masters, having been accepted for the MBA programme at the University of Leicester (via the CII) starting in April 2018.
What do you do in a typical working day?
50% of my time is on the road, meeting clients and prospects, with the rest of the time spent working on product development and refinement, monitoring contract performance and understanding how our business is performing at any given moment.
How does your role fit into the wider sector picture?
Our organisation is unique in that we are an Insurer, Reinsurer and Service Company all rolled into one. We are Ireland’s 2nd largest travel underwriter, we have substantial market share in the assistance space and we also operate a couple of retail brands in the travel and automotive sector. My role allows me to be involved in all the different elements of our commercial operation, which means no two days are the same.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I’ve been told that I talk a lot, so the client interaction is fun and it never hurts getting to go to the big matches either! I do enjoy product development, so taking a problem and creating a solution for it but I do have to lean on my colleagues a lot to get the product rolled out!
What is the most challenging part of your role?
Balancing time can be a challenge, as a day on the road is a day without real visibility of emails etc so I often find myself answering emails from the kitchen table at night. It isn’t ideal but needs must and all that.
What do you need to be successful in your role?
An ability to listen to my customers, an open mind and a hunger to succeed.
Have you taken any professional qualifications?
Since I joined the Insurance Industry, I have flirted with the professional exams and my first boss hammered home their importance so much that it must have stuck with me. In Ireland, I hold the APA, CIP and MDI qualifications and I attained my ACII in 2016.
What have been your career highlights so far?
Undoubtedly, achieving my ACII is right up there; It was a very proud moment for myself and my family. Taking a risk by joining a new division within Aon turned out to be a highlight as it helped catapult me into the role I am in now. Fingers crossed, I will complete my MBA in 2020, which will assist me in achieving my FCII, so I hope to add that to this list in the future!
What are the main benefits of working in the profession?
Although it changes at a slower pace than some sectors (understatement alert), it is a constantly changing industry. Whilst the basic principles remain the same, service delivery, subscription methods and distribution channels have evolved hugely since I joined the sector in 2003. It offers new challenges every single day and it really can cater for every type of personality.
Why did you choose a career in insurance?
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Honestly, I fell into it accidentally as I originally wanted to move into corporate finance but once I got my teeth into the Insurance industry, I knew I was a lifer!