Insurance Corporation Staff Spotlight Series – Annabelle Barnes, Underwriting Apprentice
Q: You’ve very recently joined our apprenticeship scheme. It’s been brilliant to have you onboard! How has it been for you so far?
A: 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.
Q: 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?
A: 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.
Q: 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?
A: 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.
Q: What are you working towards through the scheme and do you have particular ambitions?
A: 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.
Q: What drew you to our apprenticeship scheme?
A: 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.
Q: We value our apprentices and the apprenticeship scheme highly. Have you felt supported during your apprenticeship so far?
A: 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.
Q: It is early days but what do you feel you have learned so far from your experience?
A: 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.
Q: One last question: do you have any advice for anyone that is looking for a new career path?
A: 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.
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