How did you get into the insurance industry?
I grew up with a passion for mathematics and became interested in how you could assign a monetary value to the probability of something happening. Whilst finishing my degree in Mathematics at King’s College London, I attended a lot of networking and recruitment events. It was at one of these events that I discovered the insurance industry. I spoke to a Catastrophe Modeller and their role sounded amazing, so I applied and got the job! After working for an insurer analysing the risk associated with Terrorism and Property insurance, I later moved to another company to focus on Medical Malpractice. Working closely with Underwriters and Actuaries helped me to identify the link between risk and technology. With the world constantly evolving, there are always new vulnerabilities emerging. This leads to the creation of new insurance products that utilise the vast amount of data available. From insuring a footballers’ legs, to understanding the risks involved with insuring satellites, the insurance industry required me to be creative, find numerical solutions and think on my feet.
What’s a challenge you’ve encountered in your career and how did you overcome it?
I’m quite an innovative person and always have a lot of ideas. I remember explaining this to someone in the industry when I first started. Their response was ‘don’t be too ambitious’ and ‘it's not a matter of how good you are or what you can bring, it’s a matter of doing your time’. That was extremely demotivating for me, I just didn’t understand that attitude at all. Unfortunately, I listened to them as I was new to the working world and I thought that was just how it was. I have realised now that it was the worst type of advice you could give to someone who is young and ambitious. It was very challenging for me as it stunted my career growth.
What gives you the most confidence?
I call it the “achievement factor”. For me, it’s the sense of pride I get from learning something new, making progress on a difficult task, or even giving a good presentation. It motivates me and gives me the confidence to achieve my goals. Being prepared, well-presented and clear on what you are trying to achieve, whilst thoroughly knowing your topic, gives your confidence a huge boost. I believe confidence and opportunity go hand in hand. I recently read a study that showed the differences in perception when a man and a woman looked at the same job description. Women tended to rule themselves out as they focused on the small sections that they couldn’t do, whereas men tended to go for it as they focused on the small sections they could do. It’s important for young women to have the confidence to go for new roles, even if they are not 100% qualified from day one!
Have you had a mentor throughout your career?
Yes, during the last two years of my previous job. We worked extremely well together even though we were based in different countries! We built up a great working relationship and he helped me realise it was okay to explore new opportunities, I think I needed that push. Moving into InsurTech was risky for me as it’s not the typical insurance career path, however I'm so glad I did it! I also found it really helpful to have conversations about other parts of my life outside of my career to ensure my career goals aligned to my personal goals. I think it’s very important to have someone who can help guide you, open your mind to new opportunities and push you outside your comfort zone.
What do you like doing outside of work?
I’m quite outgoing and enjoy having drinks with friends and colleagues! I LOVE reading and have recently helped set up the Concirrus book club which is going really well. We’ve recently finished reading ‘Believe me’ by J.P Delaney. I don’t quite go to the gym yet...watch this space though!
What advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?
I’ve realised throughout my twenties that you only get one chance at life. With that in mind I would tell my 18-year-old self to take every opportunity, don’t let one pass you by and don’t let fear stop you. Do more things that scare you, you can achieve anything if you set your mind to it. It may be hard work, but if others can do it, why not you?
What is your favourite part about working in the technology sector?
I love that there is so much to learn. The people within the industry are so nice, it doesn’t feel like we’re in competition. ‘Techies’ are very happy to share knowledge and it’s a very collaborative environment to work in. Tech is always evolving so everyone is excited about innovation and doing things efficiently. At Concirrus, we’re creating innovative solutions with complex technology for a sector that really needs it. Helping clients move into a digital space and seeing the impact it has on them, from their day-to day work to their business returns, is very rewarding! A huge bonus for me in joining Concirrus is that I feel comfortable and I'm encouraged to bring new ideas to the table and it’s great to know that my input is valued.
What do you think tech companies can do to get more women on board?
Women may be less likely to put themselves out there, so go out and find talented women instead of waiting for them to come to you. There are many ‘women in tech’ events and networks these days, for example; DevelopHer so join in and get involved! Another important issue to consider is retaining women once you’ve recruited them. Providing initiatives where staff can grow within their role and move through an organisation is extremely important.
How do you see this field changing in the future?
With technology advancing as quickly as it is, I think many manual tasks will become automated, streamlining workflows. It will be interesting to see how this changes the capabilities of those working within the industry. I’m looking forward to the ‘tech savvy’ insurance industry that will arise in the coming years.
To end this interview, we’d love to hear a funny story from your time here at Concirrus
It was my first day here at Concirrus and I had just left a company that gave you lunch at the same time every day, so I didn’t really need to think about it. So, as I sat at my desk it got to around 1pm, I could hear my stomach rumbling and thought ‘I’ll go get some food with my colleague when he goes out’. However, my colleague forgot to tell me about his diet and that he doesn’t ever eat lunch, so I was just waiting around for nothing! When I finally realised this, I quickly went by myself to grab lunch at the first place I saw at about 3pm. Ever since then I've always had lunch with other people and at a reasonable time!
Read more of our Women in tech series' here.