Career profile: what to expect on Lloyd's graduate scheme

Freddie found the right graduate career for him when he completed an internship at specialist insurance market Lloyd's. On his graduate scheme, he's dealt with everything from Wagyu beef to architects' legal liability.
When applying for internships or graduate schemes, don't waste time sending out 50 average applications.

Lloyd’s is a specialist insurance and reinsurance market, which enables its members to join together as collective bodies (syndicates) and pool financial risk. I currently work on reinsurance exposure management within underwriting as the last of four placements. Each placement specialises in a different area of insurance and is based with a different syndicate member. I’m currently only employed for the period of the graduate scheme, but from this cohort onward graduate trainees will become permanent employees.

Becoming an intern at Lloyd's

At university I modelled damage outcomes of earthquakes and nurtured an interest in risk calculation. I talked to a friend who works in insurance and he steered me towards the Lloyd’s internship. I applied for the internship just before Christmas in my second year of university. After completing this, I secured a place on the graduate scheme through an interview.

Working life on the graduate scheme

Throughout my placements, I’ve been able to sample different sectors as a kind of litmus test for finding my preferences, which has helped me think about the areas that I’d be interested in moving to in the future. I’ve had the opportunity to focus on different specialisms: broking, claims and underwriting. The variety is great and I’ve been a part of operations that I never thought I’d be involved in. For example, on my broking placement I was a cargo technician at Marsh. One task was researching risks around the importation of Wagyu beef from New Zealand, such as damage or refrigeration malfunction in transit. My following claims placement was at Beazley looking at professional liability.

My current placement is at Liberty Specialty Markets, which is something I particularly enjoy. I can be juggling lots of ongoing work at one time, but I’ve got good habits for making sure I keep on top of my work: I flag important emails, write lists and give myself deadlines. I’ve had independence working on tasks, but also a steady hand from my managers.

This combination has been great in terms of guidance and learning on the job. One task that I’ve been at the helm of was concerned with reviewing architectural indemnity claims. This essentially means that I was looking into the issues surrounding the construction sector, such as investigating legal liability of architects. I’ve also seen software I’ve worked on being implemented, such as my ‘syndicate business forecast tool’, which is designed to pull up projected results that look inaccurate or don’t match objectives. The times where you find yourself in charge can be the most rewarding; I’ve been given more responsibility than I thought a graduate would have.

Dealing with variety

There is a challenge in switching roles every six months with all the aspects to become acclimatised to: your team, your manager, the style of work and the systems you use. The advantage of this is that you learn to adapt to a new environment; I now feel capable of integrating myself quickly and efficiently into new scenarios. What’s helpful about the scheme is that there’s lots of training. For instance, I’ve completed personality type tests to better understand how I interact with colleagues. The feedback is that I’m fairly analytical and technical. I need to be conscious when I’m conversing with non-technical people that I don’t assume knowledge of terminology and certain concepts.

The amount of training can be daunting, but it’s ultimately beneficial. I’m actually working towards completing an advanced diploma in insurance, called the ‘ACII’, which is a mark of professional ability. With all this training, there’s an amazing support system in place. I’ve had really good guidance from people in the office, such as in my first placement at Lloyd’s, where I had to compile a 50-page report. My manager gave me tips on how to collate information on trends. I’ve also had a mentor throughout all this who is not part of Lloyd’s. He has 30 years’ experience in the field and he’s great to talk to because he provides impartial advice.

Future career plans

There’s kudos for being an ex-graduate at Lloyd’s with its alumni network. I believe that upon leaving the company the scheme will have set me up to be desirable to other employers. When the scheme ends I’ll work with Lloyd’s to find a position that suits my aspirations. I’m attracted to reinsurance with the magnitude of the numbers and the level of detail; I could potentially go into casualty or property reinsurance. I also like the topical aspects of my work: a breaking news story could suddenly be put on my desk when I’m asked to evaluate the costs.

How to get ahead in your graduate job search

What I’ve noticed about being a successful applicant is that it’s imperative you prepare and get ample work experience. Being proactive at university is one way you can do this. I was part of the Bristol PLUS Award, which is an employability award run by the careers service; we had CV and interview workshops that reiterated tips on good manners and body language when meeting interviewers. I was also a senior editor at the Geographical Society publication after its two-decade hiatus. I worked with senior lecturers in a one-on-one capacity; this was good to reference when the application asked for experience in this kind of interaction.

When applying for internships or graduate schemes, it’s important to not send out 50 average applications. Pick a handful you want and focus on creating strong applications, since tailoring these shows you’re genuinely interested in working for the company, something all recruiters like to see.

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