• Name: Samah Sabreen
  • Job Title: Graduate Trainee Broker
  • Location: London
  • University: -Other UK-
  • Degree: King’s College London - Neuroscience MSci
  • Areas of Specialism: Broking
Aon Samah Sabreen

Why did you choose this profession?

As someone who was tied to the lab during her degree and very much isolated in a slow-paced environment, it was constantly frustrating to not see the difference my work made. Hence, I sought a more fast-paced environment in an ever-evolving field which revolved around relationships and constant problem-solving, where I could visibly see the difference my contributions made. Insurance was a career path which was not heavily advertised, and I had never really considered it until university, when I had taken a few introductory courses and had meaningful conversations with those working in the industry. Working in insurance is certainly rewarding – being able to directly work on insurance placements to protect clients during adverse events and directly contributing to the growth of the insurance sector. Also, it is thoroughly interesting; you are learning something new every day be it through your day-to-day tasks or through your ACII studies and no two days are the same. I also appreciate the demands of being a broker, a pleasant balance between social and admin-type tasks, both enjoyable and enlightening in their own respects.

What was the application process like?

It was a fairly standard process designed to assess whether your skills and motivations match your chosen role. It consisted of the online application, online assessments which involved numerical reasoning, quick thinking and problem solving, a video interview with standard interview questions and an assessment centre. Although quite daunting at first, the assessment centre was an enjoyable process. We undertook group activities to test how we interacted with others and the type of contributions we made to the task. We also conducted a personal pitch and technical presentation on a chosen topic and this was followed by an informal interview. I made extremely valuable connections through the process, it provided more insight into the role, and it had certainly prepared me for the cascade of networking ahead.

What are your main duties?

During my first rotation in North American Property, I was quickly introduced to the electronic platforms for creating the slip and placing the risk and assisted with creating slips and endorsing slip amendments. I also had the opportunity to take part in client-underwriter lunches and dinners where the risk is presented and subsequently discussed and the type of questions that arise are certainly thought-provoking. Currently, as part of the Healthcare team I help produce submissions to present various clinical trial, medical malpractice and professional liability-type risks to insurers. I am also heavily involved in data analytics such as loss run and exposure analysis, a critical aspect of the submissions enabling us to create high-level snapshots of the risk to assist negotiations. Also, since we have a team dedicated to creating slips and endorsements, I have more time to shadow other brokers during renewal negotiations and client meetings and I have been able to do an assisted broke – I am currently progressing towards broking independently! Other than this, I also routinely deal with requests for information and queries, critically indexing correspondence between the network/client, and I have been tasked to update our team’s new business pipeline to ensure accurate team statistics for our Town Hall meetings.

What skills are useful in this profession?

Organisation and time management are key and, combined together with the ability to prioritise effectively, will enable you to work on multiple accounts at a time which is a core skill you will need especially for the busy periods. Excel is also widely used so the quicker you can become proficient at it, the more you can do with excel to enhance the quality and efficiency of your work. Some teams may utilise excel more than others and for purposes such as analysis and tracking but it will be a constant regardless of team and role. Interpersonal skills such as verbal and non-verbal communication, the ability to handle conflict, listening, and teamwork are also critical for relationship development and management. Finally, a can-do attitude is very important: take on every opportunity presented to you (given you have the capacity) and take it as a chance to learn more and grow.

Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to enter the profession?

Research the field thoroughly: there is a plethora of great resources out there to inform you of the different roles within and related to insurance and help you to better understand where you may be best placed e.g. insurer, retail broker, wholesale broker. Also, Coursera is a great place to gain a basic introduction to insurance and the CII have great videos on YouTube which break down key insurance concepts. And be sure to attend careers fairs hosted by universities or in partnership with other organisations as this is a great way to directly speak to someone who works within the industry and if you are not shy, connect with people of interest on LinkedIn.

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