• Role: Claim Graduate Trainee
  • Location: London
  • University: City
  • Degree: LLB Law School of Athens, Masters Maritime Law City, University of London

Garyfallia Konstantopoulou

Claims handlers play a vital role in each and every insurance organisation. We are the professionals who deliver the fundamental promise to policyholders, namely the timely payment of all valid claims. In my role at Travelers, I have responsibility to handle and progress matters when claims are made under the insurance policy. This means that when our policyholders present a claim, either for a loss they suffered or for a loss they caused, I have to ascertain whether the insurance policy responds to the circumstances of the loss.

After progressing on the graduate scheme, I was given responsibility to settle claims within a specified financial authority and have been able to make decisions about claim settlements. This involves regularly liaising with external partners, for instance solicitors or loss adjusters. The latter are appointed to investigate the circumstances of the loss and assess the extent of damages, whilst lawyers are appointed to defend the insured should a claim be brought by a third party. Complying with all regulations and claims best practices is a must for us, and we always use our best endeavours to ensure our policyholders, and any potentially injured third party, are both treated fairly.

Travelers tailors its graduate programme to each and every student according to their skills and the company’s talent needs. I was given the opportunity to experience structured learning and work assignments by rotating across our departments and working within different teams. I have completed secondments in our Underwriting, Legal, Marketing and Client Relationship Management teams. Through these placements, I gained exposure to different teams, grew my understanding of how our functions support each other to deliver for our clients, and met many new people.

Projects

Projects make up a significant part of our graduate programme. Recently, myself and fellow graduates were involved in a project to reimagine one of the business models we have here. It was a ‘real life’ project – our recommendations impacted business planning. It gave me the opportunity to meet stakeholders across the organisation and work with them during a three-month period. I not only grew my knowledge about our business planning and process, I also improved my soft skillset, as we had to present our recommendation to our leadership team.

How did you get your job at Travelers?

During my postgraduate studies at City, University of London I found out about the exciting world of Lloyd’s and realised I wanted to join the London insurance market. A graduate scheme seemed to be a great way to explore this path. When I found the Travelers scheme and learned about its structure and the great opportunities, I was motivated to apply.

What was the application process like? Any advice?

The application process consisted of four stages: an online application form, a telephone interview, an assessment day and then a final face-to-face interview. The assessment day was well-structured. We were split in teams and given a couple of interactive and group exercises. During the day, we had the opportunity to meet Travelers employees, including current graduates, which I found exciting as I got to learn more about their experience in the programme and about the organisation I hoped to join.

The advice I would give to anyone who is interested in applying for a graduate scheme is to be yourself, be prepared, and don’t overdo it! It may not be an obvious one, but think about the social aspects of assessment centres. Lunch and coffee breaks are good opportunities to get involved in group discussions and find out more about the people you are sharing the experience with. The great thing about graduate schemes is that there’s no particular subject you need to have studied to enter the market, so everyone brings something different. I would say to make an effort to talk to as many people as possible. I would also suggest getting work experience can help you understand what organisations expect from future graduates and, in return, you get to learn about the opportunities these organisations can offer you.

Why did you chose a job in this sector?

I had no idea about the Lloyd’s market before attending a careers event during my postgraduate studies. But when I visited Lloyd’s of London, I was impressed. The way the London market operates, with underwriters collaborating to share risks in order to provide solutions to the insured, fascinated me. The London insurance market is a fun and dynamic industry and is the hub of global insurance transactions. There is a lot going on every single day. And so far in my career, I have not been disappointed.

What do you really enjoy about your job?

What I really enjoy about my job is that I can apply both my legal knowledge and my commercial awareness. Being a claims graduate in the marine team at Travelers means I get to manage claims of all sorts of complexity and size. Travelers has a long history of protecting companies in the maritime industry. We are proud to protect some of the largest ports and harbours in the UK and Ireland, as well as individual yacht owners, sail makers, boat yards, marinas and marine equipment manufacturers. I find it really rewarding that I can be there to assist our customers when losses occur, helping them when they need it most.

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