• Role: Corporate Underwriting Team assistant & intern
  • Location: Birmingham
  • University: Nottingham
  • Organisation: Zurich

Nicholas Pritchard

Typical Day in the Life of a Zurich Intern

08:45 – Respond to urgent emails.
09:00 – Attend a weekly business unit call
, representing your team. Present the major risks and operational challenges faced in the prior week, to the numerous stakeholders on the call. Report valuable information and feedback to your team.
10.00 – Insight Session with a Claims Handler in the Catastrophic Claims Team. Explore interesting case studies of major claims. Discuss the implications for the customer and how the business coordinates its response.
11.00 – Complete research task for group Intern Project. Compare your views as a new-starter with some of your experienced colleagues within the team.
12.00 – Conduct group meeting for Intern Project. Work through the agenda and issue action points for work off the back of the meeting. Briefly catch up with other Interns to increase awareness of the opportunities you have been involved with and to illustrate any key learning points picked up along the way.
13.00 – Lunch with your Graduate Buddy. Relax and enjoy your spare time. Raise any challenges that you may be facing and discuss ways to alleviate these issues.
14.00 – Shadow an Underwriter within your team as they travel to a renewal meeting at a broker’s office. Take notes and make valuable contributions to the discussions with the broker and client, utilising prior preparation and analysis with the Underwriter.
14.45 – Analyse profitability within your business unit using data provided by your manager. Draw upon prior conversations and reading to suggest reasons for trends in the data. Create graphs in order to illustrate your findings.
16.30 – Deliver the profitability analysis to your manager, stating the key findings and the suggested areas for improvements. Evaluate methods of executing these improvements. Reflect on your presentation skills and discuss ways and opportunities to enhance the impact in your delivery.
17.00 – Familiarise yourself with your plan for tomorrow before heading home for the evening.

Project Involvement

Profitability Analysis: In order to roll out new marketing material, a project was undertaken to analyse which areas of the account were most profitable. I collated historical data from across the UK and then applied appropriate tools to identify target areas of business, as well as less favourable areas. This work shaped the future Underwriting appetite of a significant book of business.

Pipelining Task: Off the back of the findings of the project mentioned above, I was urged to explore untapped areas of the market. My objective was to apply the appetite shift by investigating potential business prospects. I then presented my proposal, with justifications, to a Sales Manager. It felt really empowering to be part of both areas of the project and to see my work realised within the new sales initiative.

Financial Modelling: I created a budgeting tool for Management. The application enabled the managers to view their team’s positioning in comparison to their targets. This model received great feedback as it served a forward-looking function that aided real-time strategy changes.

Value Proposition Group Research Project: 5 Interns and I researched innovative solutions to leveraging effective Employee Value Propositions within what is an incredibly competitive Financial Services job market. This project enabled us to build an unrivalled network as we explored the views of employees of differing ages, with varying levels of superiority across a range of teams. Our suggestions were then presented at the end of the programme to numerous stakeholders.

Why did you choose to do an internship?

Prior to university, I had very little hands-on experience in a real job except for voluntary work. I realised that in order to get to where I wanted to be after graduation, I needed to boost my CV with a reputable name and apply many of the soft skills I had learned, to live situations. Due to my degree, I had aspirations of working in Finance; so I looked at internships that had opportunities to progress onto a graduate scheme within this sector. I knew that if I could land an internship with a sufficiently broad enough scope, I would have ample opportunity to prove my value to the company. Zurich’s programme provided the independence I needed to build knowledge and leave a lasting impression.

How did it tie in with your overall career plans?

Zurich’s programme allowed me to explore all areas of Insurance, enabling me to make a judgement on whether this was the right industry for me and which role best suited me going forward. After enjoying the summer, I was offered my current role based in London, as a Market Underwriter as part of Zurich’s graduate scheme. Importantly, this gave me job security going into the final year of my degree, meaning that I could focus on my course.

What attracted you to the role?

Zurich promised flexibility and responsibility, which was crucial when deciding which firms to apply to. The flexibility freed me up to discover people and concepts that enhanced my understanding exponentially, whilst the responsibility prepared me for the intensity of a graduate role.

What skills did you acquire or improve during your internship?

One of the main skills that I developed across the summer was the ability to utilise different forms of communication depending on the situation. For instance, on any given day I could be involved in group project calls, external stakeholder meetings and presentation delivery – which all require tailored approaches. Additionally, I saw huge increases in my commercial acumen and also my time-management skills. Vitally, I also learned how to express my personality in a workplace environment, which is something that can often be both tricky and daunting.

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