A Greek lawyer building a career in insurance.
“What I really enjoy about my job is that I can apply both my legal knowledge and my commercial awareness when handling claims. Being a Claim Professional on Travelers’ Marine team, which has a long history of protecting companies in the maritime industry, means I get to manage claims of varying degrees of complexity and size.” Garyfallia Konstantopolou tells us all about her career as a claims professional in the marine insurance industry.
After earning my Law degree in Greece, I was motivated by my family’s marine background to study a postgraduate in Maritime Law at City University of London. During my Master’s, I discovered the exciting world of Lloyd’s and realised that I wanted to join the London insurance market. I applied for the Travelers Graduate Scheme and completed the two-year training programme, during which I was given the opportunity to experience structured learning and work assignments by rotating across multiple departments and within different teams. It was from this experience that I knew I wanted to work within marine claims. I am proud to say that since September 2018, I have been working at Travelers as a Claim Professional within the marine team.
Why did you choose a career in the industry?
I was completely unfamiliar with the Lloyd’s market before attending a careers event during my postgraduate studies. When I has the opportunity to visit Lloyd’s of London, I was highly impressed. The way the London market operates with underwriters collaborating to share risks in order to provide insurance solutions to insureds 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 is a typical day like for you?
Claims is a vital part of each and every insurance organisation. We are the professionals who deliver the fundamental promise to policyholders, namely the timely payment of all valid claims. As a Claim Professional at Travelers, I have responsibility to handle and progress matters when claims are made under the insurance policy.
I look after different classes of business within the marine underwriting book. This means I get to handle claims being presented under insurance policies taken out by ports and terminals, ship and yacht owners and marina operators – to name just a few.
A typical day would see me reviewing claim advices, legal documents and survey reports to make decisions about the progress of a claim or claim settlements. A vital part of my role rests with ascertaining whether the insurance policy responds to the circumstances of the claim, which involves daily interaction with external partners such as solicitors or loss adjusters and brokers.
Collaboration is a big part of what makes our company successful, and so I also prepare reports on claim trends to keep our underwriters and Risk Control team briefed on the latest information.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
What I really enjoy about my job is that I can apply both my legal knowledge and my commercial awareness when handling claims. Being a Claim Professional on Travelers’ Marine team, which has a long history of protecting companies in the maritime industry, means I get to manage claims of varying degrees of complexity and size. We are proud to insure 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.
What would you like to achieve in the future?
I would like to continue to expand my knowledge and broaden my experience so that I can progress my career. My ambition is to become a successful leader and help set Travelers’ future strategy.
What are the current challenges the industry faces?
Policyholders require a hassle-free and speedy experience from the time they purchase an insurance product to the time their claim is being settled. How does the insurance industry keep up? I think embracing the emerging digital technology can help us get there and create new value for customers.
Attracting talent is another challenge within the wider industry. Graduate schemes and apprenticeships are a great way of bringing talented employees to the market. The next step is retaining those employees by creating career paths, and this is something that can continue to be improved.
Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to get into the industry?
Applying for a graduate scheme is a good way to explore what this market has to offer. The great thing about the insurance industry is that there is no particular subject that you need to have studied to enter, so everyone brings something different. In addition, getting work experience can help you understand what organisations expect from their employees and, in return, you learn about the opportunities these organisations can offer you. I am confident that once you join the industry, you will not want to leave!