A diverse range of occupations exist within the insurance sector, making it an exciting industry, providing a host of interesting and diverse career prospects.
The typical entry requirements to the insurance sector depend on the role. New starters are generally at a minimum school leavers with their Leaving Certificate, or college graduates from various fields within business studies, certificate through to masters level.
The Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship is all about building a career – not just getting a job.
nsurance is about delivering peace of mind. Insurance companies offer financial protection and security to individuals and businesses, allowing them to take the risks necessary to grow and expand.
Nicole Feighery is a Customer Care Manager at Chill Insurance. Nicole graduated from TCD with a degree in Natural Science. Throughout her time working in the financial services sector she has obtained a number of relevant qualifications and is currently studying towards a Management Diploma in Insurance.
What were the main 'career decision' milestones in your life so far?
The decision to commit to a career in financial services as apposed to the scientific career path that I had chosen when I left school at 17.
Identifying not only something that you have skills and competencies in but that you also enjoy doing on a daily basis is difficult to find, I decided to settle into a career in financial services as I found it challenging and exciting but provided a relevant service to people everyday.
A major step change for me in my career was making the commitments necessary to progress as far as possible, it represented a change in mind, dedication and some sacrifices in order to be successful.
Who are the people who most influenced your career direction?
I am a highly motivated individual so throughout my academic and professional life to date, I have always pushed myself to my limits in terms of achievement in work or study.
As Chill is a progressive and growing company, I have had the opportunity of working with some exceptional people who have mentored me in my Career in insurance.
I have had the pleasure of working with individuals in senior management roles that showed drive, passion and tenacity in their roles that laid a path for like minded people such as myself to be as successful in the future. Whilst working with them, I aspired to not only have a similar career path but to mirror their outlook , perspective and commitment to succeed.
How did you go about getting your current job?
A Customer Service Manager role is a hybrid between a contact centre manager and an insurance service manager. In order to show I was capable of such a diverse and dynamic position, I began looking at ways to build the required skills and knowledge.
In June 2014, I Began a QQI certificate in contact centre management, this helped me develop new skills such as scheduling, forecasting and Workforce management needed in a busy contact centre like ours.
I’m also studying towards my MDI qualification with the III to give me a competitive edge and improved technical competency in insurance and insurance products.
Describe a typical day?
A typical day in Customer Care for me consists of Working directly with my team leaders to plan and organise call centre operations for the day ahead.
- Resolving complex insurance issues and managing customer complaints.
- Monitoring and analysing trends, metrics and customer feedback to ensure that we are consistently offering an excellent service.
- Liaising with other operational managers to ensure a concerted approach to organisational goals and projects
- Supporting and mentoring staff towards achieving goals and targets daily
- Working closely with Insurer Partners to resolve any potential issues and improve delivery and efficacy of service between both parties in the best interests of our mutual customers.
- Looking at process and service enhancements that will positively impact our customer’s experience.
What are the main tasks and responsibilities?
Some of my main tasks and responsibilities include:
- Oversee Contact centre operations daily
- Forecasting and planning for effective operation of the Care function.
- Ensure delivery of effective, efficient and friendly service to our customers.
- Ensure that the Customer experience with our company is best in class.
- Motivate and drive team towards operational goals, departmental SLAs and targets.
- Ensure processes and procedures are kept up to date and compliant at all times
- Working on various projects to develop and improve Chill operationally.
- Ensure that Staff receive adequate training and support to advise customers on insurance matters appropriately as an insurance professional.
- Monitor Quality and calls to ensure agents are delivering on brand values.
What are the main challenges?
Some of the main challenges in managing a call centre in Insurance are:
- The Variety of customer service queries and requests based on several different policy types and schemes, this requires us a team to be dynamic and adaptable to the customers needs at all times. I need to ensure that my team are fully trained and kept up to date on any changes in the industry.
- The call centre is a bustling and demanding environment, it requires a degree of resilience, a lot of focus and an ability to organise to keep on top of things.
- Keeping the team motivated and buoyant in difficult times for example high call volumes or complaints.
- Agent development is also a challenge as we do our best to encourage agents to strive for improvement however to progress up the ranks, they must achieve academically also.
What's not so cool?
As a call centre and a developing business, we are always striving to meet the needs of our customers, part of that is that we operate 6 days a week and open late mid week.
Whilst a lot of insurance brokers operate on a 9-5 basis, this represents a challenge in managing and monitoring a call centre with extended hours. When resourcing the department it can also be difficult to find staff that will commit to shift work.
What particular skills do you bring to your workplace?
What subjects did you take in school and how have these influenced your career path?
What is your education to date?
I finished my Leaving Certificate with all honours from Loreto secondary, from there I attended Trinity College, studying Natural Sciences and majoring in Microbiology. I left Trinity in 2007 with a 2:1 honours degree in Microbiology. During my working life in financial Services, I have completed my QFA diploma through the institute of bankers and continued to complete my APA in 2010 whilst working with Chill. I recently completed a level 7 QQI certificate in Contact centre management. I am continuing my studies with regard to Insurance through the management diploma in insurance, I have completed MDI- 01 and will continue with MDI 04 in may 2016.
What aspects of your education have proven most important for your job?
When studying MDI 01 Insurance and Irish law, I found it very interesting and relevant to my current role. Particularly when dealing with complex insurance and complaint related issues, I found it gave me a better insight into the rights and responsibilities of each party and also more confidence when handling more technical issues.
What have been the most rewarding events in your career so far?
Watching my team progress, grow and develop over a period of time to evolve into a well organised effective unit. Watching agents that I have hired, trained and mentored progress and become some of the strongest team leaders in the business. This is a measure of how effective I have been as a manager so far.
What personal qualities do you have that helps you in your career?
What is your dream job?
As a sociable person, I think that I mostly enjoy working with people. I enjoy variety so I am not sure that I would confine myself to one job type. I would be happy to build a successful career in a job role once I am helping people in a relevant way as part of my job. Insurance is a necessity of modern life which is why I enjoy working in the industry.
Does your job allow you to have a lifestyle you are happy with?
Chill Is a large Insurance Broker that operates as a call centre. It is an extremely busy and challenging environment to work in. I love that I am constantly learning in my job, each day that comes presents new challenges and opportunities for me to grow, learn and develop in my career.
The insurance industry has a very diverse mix of people, working for an MAI has allowed me to meet new people and build new relationships which have contributed to my progress to date. I believe in working hard however I feel it’s important to have a good balance between work and home life.
What advice would you give to someone considering this job?
What are the three most important personal characteristics required for the job?
Have you undertaken, or do you plan to undertake any further training as part of your job?
What kinds of work experience would provide a good background for this position?