After graduating with a degree in Law from the University of Westminster, Nousheen joined the insurance industry 10 years ago when she started working for AIG. Since then, she has gone on to found her own consulting business, Innovative Risk Audit, and became a Board Trustee for a youth counselling charity in 2017.
“Who says a career in Insurance as a Risk Management professional is boring? The insights you gain into businesses and the world of financial services are truly fascinating.” – Nousheen Hassan, CEO and founder of Innovative Risk Audit talks us through her career and experience in the sector and offers her advice for prospective insurance graduates.
Why did you choose a career in the industry?
I did not know much about insurance when I started out in my career. When the word insurance was ever mentioned, I would think about car, home and life insurance. After qualifying as a Chartered Internal Auditor with Deloitte, I came across a role in the AIG Internal Audit team and went for it. That was the start of my career in insurance. The many different aspects of insurance were an eye opener and entry into the Lloyd’s of London market was even more insightful.
I learnt that you can virtually insure anything, from fine art, body parts and personal injury to large ships, companies and people. As an Internal Auditor, I was exposed to all areas of the business, helping me to understand how the different functions in an insurer worked. Not only did this include the underwriting teams who bring in the business, but also the claims teams who manage and pay out to customers, the actuaries who help to model and price the risks as well as, give a view on the level of claims reserves. Then there are all the other teams including risk management, compliance, finance and IT to name just a few. With an insight into so many different areas, it gained my attention and I knew I had chosen the right industry.
What is a typical day like for you?
After gaining so much insight into the insurance industry, I set up my own boutique consultancy company offering interim senior support and providing services in risk management and audit to insurance and financial industry clients. I am responsible for seeking out my own business opportunities, clients and building relationships which can all be very intensive. When not working on a client myself or overseeing an Associate, I start my day by reviewing my business emails, and catching up on the latest developments in the industry.
After following up with clients, my day consists of anything from developing business proposals, attending client meetings, researching potential clients and their companies and working with by Administrative Executive to perform business development activities. I work with my Business Development Advisor on further business development initiatives. From time to time, I also touch base with some of my partner firms. I instruct my own company marketing, and manage my finances, although I do have an Accountant to take care of the technical and tax issues! My Administrative Executive takes care of administration and all of this keeps me and my team, pretty busy.
When working for a client, I am usually based at their offices. The work I do will depend on the client. Sometimes, I work as part of a team and can be responsible for team management and supporting team members to deliver work. At other times, I may be responsible for delivering smaller projects on my own and in accordance with the client’s expectations. Either way, I have to reach out to people in the business, attend meetings and review significant amounts of information to get the work done.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I like being able to help clients, through my knowledge, skills and experience. It’s great when I can leave a firm feeling like I have added value to the company and their teams. I also love having the flexibility to work on my own but also as part of a team where I can. Working on your own forces you to challenge yourself and resolve problems independently whilst interacting with others helps to build relationships and gain an understanding of what they do.
What would you like to achieve in the future?
To be able to successfully build a small business where I work with others to service my clients. I want to focus on providing services to clients in the insurance industry as I think the opportunities are endless.
What are the current challenges the industry faces?
We are currently in a world where we face unprecedented situations. With COVID 19 having such a huge impact on businesses, business owners may be struggling to operate, are concerned for their staff and customers, finances and in general how to maintain operational resilience in a world with so much uncertainty. Added to that are the day to day concerns around meeting regulatory requirements as a business, and in the insurance industry in particular, the threat of claims that may influx the market as things start to settle. This whole situation has thrown a light on the new way of working and we may find ourselves working very differently when things get back to normal.
Do you have any advice for anyone want to get into the industry?
Attend industry events where you can and get to know people. Networking is key! If you can try to get onto an internship, apprenticeship programme or just seek out some work experience in an organisation, it will form a good stepping stone for building a career.