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My international career in insurance, by a Lloyd's graduate

Declan’s wide-ranging graduate programme led him to a role with international importance: assisting Lloyd’s in preparation for Brexit.
Editing a student magazine gave me examples for interview questions about leadership skills, attention to detail or thinking creatively

Lloyd's is a financial market in which over 50 insurance and reinsurance companies join together in order to trade and offset the financial risks that they are exposed to: in case they will need to pay out on a high number of claims simultaneously, for example.

In this respect Lloyd’s is structured very differently from most employers in the insurance profession, which is what appealed to me when I was applying for internships and again when I was applying for graduate schemes. Being a market, Lloyd’s provides a great overview of the different companies in insurance.

Developing a broad skillset

My internship at Lloyd’s helped massively when I was applying for the graduate programme. For the duration of the internship I was placed in the claims team at Lloyd’s and was assigned a project related to how quickly the Lloyd’s market was handling claims from customers. I analysed the speed of the service and identified areas for improvement. This demonstrated my interest in insurance.

However, if you have experience in different sectors you can also draw on these during recruitment processes as long as you can adapt what you’ve done to what an employer is looking for. Working for my student union bar during university developed my customer relationship management skills and ability to work in a team with people from lots of different backgrounds. I also wrote for and edited a student magazine, which gave me examples to talk about whenever I received an interview question about leadership skills, attention to detail or thinking creatively. Lots of my interviewers commented that it’s rare for someone to have these softer skills as well as numerical and analytical skills.

Life as a Lloyd’s graduate

My graduate programme lasted two years and consisted of four six-month rotations. We could submit preferences but the placements we were allocated depended on business needs. The teams I was placed in varied widely. I had a placement in underwriting that was very analytical and commercial focused, and then I moved to a claims team that concentrated more on the legal aspects such as reviewing contracts. Spending six months learning the skills for one role and then moving somewhere entirely different was a real challenge but it added to the excitement.

Alongside the placements, I studied towards the Advanced Diploma in Insurance qualification, which means that the insurance professional body the Chartered Insurance Institute has ratified my professional competency. Lloyd’s provided monthly training days to help us learn the technical knowledge required for the exams. My tutors were incredibly knowledgeable and I felt that I could ask them any questions I wanted.

One reason that I think the Lloyd’s graduate programme stands apart from others is the mentorship and guidance it offers. My mentor, a senior manager within the insurance market, met with me every month or two and I was able to discuss anything completely confidentially. I was also allocated a buddy in the year above me who gave me advice on managing study alongside full-time work. Lloyd’s has a very small graduate cohort – there were 14 of us in my year – so we ate lunch together most days and could tell each other what the different placements were like.

From London to the world

Experiencing the different rotations helped me decide what to do after I finished the programme. I chose to stay at Lloyd’s, working in international regulation as this was the placement I had enjoyed most. We are responsible for defending and developing Lloyd’s’ trading licenses around the world. For example, if Lloyd’s is looking to expand into a certain area we approach local regulators to ask about the application process and find out what’s necessary (for example, do we need people on the ground or a hub office in the area?) and whether these are commercially viable.

Something I really love about my current job as an EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) associate is having contact with people from many different countries, not only while making calls to local offices but in London too; I have colleagues in my office from Asia, South America and different parts of Europe, for example. It’s nice being able to work in such a diverse environment.

Hearing about something on the news and then seeing how it filters into my work is a real point of interest for me. Brexit and the political legislation that comes out of it has a massive effect on Lloyd’s’ European markets. Lloyd’s has chosen to set up an office in Brussels from scratch and I’ve been able to assist with preparations such as applying to be part of a regulator membership association. It’s very exciting to have been given exposure to this so early in my career.

A picture of an EMEA associate at Lloyd's
Declan Rooney
Job title: 
EMEA associate

2012–2015 Studied for, and graduated with, a degree in physics from University College London.
2014 Completed a summer internship at Lloyd’s.
2015 Joined the Lloyd’s graduate programme.
2017 Finished the graduate programme and began working as an international markets associate at Lloyd’s.
2018 Promoted to current role.

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