‘I particularly enjoy working with great people, all striving to do their best every day, and being able to give those people the opportunity to do so.’ – Nigel Fryer talks us through his career in insurance so far and offers an insight into gaining professional qualifications and the vast array of career opportunities available to those with ambition.
How did you get in to the business?
I graduated from Lancaster University with a degree in Business Studies. I joined NFU Mutual as a graduate trainee back in 2002, applying through their standard process. Since then I have held a number of roles in the claims department – including Strategic Analyst, Intelligence Analyst, Project Manager – before taking up the Large Loss Manager role in 2013.
That is one of the benefits of working in insurance – there are many career pathways open to you and you are not defined by your first role in the sector.
What do you do in a typical working day?
I manage a team who handle the largest injury claims – typically in excess of £500,000. We therefore interact with other insurers and other professionals such as claimant and defendant lawyers to settle these claims. My role is to provide them with the tools and the environment to allow them to do what they do best – effectively settle claims whilst delivering excellent customer service.
A typical day is therefore working with the team on continuous improvements, their development and how we can continue to drive excellence in performance.
One aspect I particularly enjoy is working with great people, all striving to do their best every day, and being able to give those people the opportunity to do so.
I work in the claims function. From a customer point of view that means really being able to help them at their time of need – a key function of insurance. This can be a truly rewarding experience, as a claim is when a customer looks to you to help them, and is the true test of what you’ve sold them.
There are so many opportunities within claims that you can never get bored – this was an important factor in my career choice and has enabled me to grow and develop my career in a way that fits my ambition.
What are the most challenging aspects of your role?
Finding the time to do everything I want to do! There are so many great ideas on how we can improve our business and processes that prioritising them and seeing what works is key to ensuring we deliver the right outcomes. That is a challenge but also a fantastic opportunity for me and my team, since my colleagues will feed back to me on what the current issues are as well as potential business improvements.
Have you achieved any professional qualifications?
Yes, I have completed my Advanced Diploma in Insurance (known by its designatory letters ACII), which is a degree-level professional qualification that you can find within most graduate schemes. It is something that takes two or three years to complete and does mean your social life is put on hold for a while! However, completing this qualification gave me the platform to build a successful career, since I learned about all the key aspects of how insurance works.
What have been your career highlights so far?
There have been many, but I was particularly proud of being involved in the CII’s New Generation Programme in 2013. Our work group helped to deliver a new process in the sector that related to requests for information made under Section 29(3) of the Data Protection Act.
The programme was an excellent way for future leaders from different companies to get together and help develop an idea collaboratively. It was great to be able to work with this team, and work with the sector to help solve a problem, rather than undertake a project for its own sake. This was a really rewarding experience. Our team also won a Fraud Award for our efforts, which was the icing on the cake.
Why did you choose a career in insurance?
As I said above, it was important to me to find a career where I could have the opportunity to try new things. Insurance has definitely given me that in that I’ve been able to shape my own career in a range of roles including Project Management, Strategic Analyst and now Large Loss Manager.