Hastings Insurance Brokers are strong advocates for The Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship and Trish O’Hagan, Personal Lines Operation Manager at the company believes the programme presents opportunities for the industry at a time when it is facing many challenges. We chatted with Trish to learn more about her experience of the apprenticeship and why she would recommend it to others.
The Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship offers an opportunity to hire the best and brightest but also a chance to upskill your current employees; what advantages has the programme offered your company?
There’s a great advantage to an employer in having someone who has been through the apprenticeship process as the candidate has been working four days a week for three years building up their experience on the practical level and they also have the Level-8 Honours Degree, not to mention the technical understanding as well as the modern business skills (such as data analytics) they have acquired during their studies. They have established a relationship with the insurers and are fully familiar with the systems to use along with the procedures required in respect of compliance, underwriting and claims. Adding a candidate to your team who can hit the ground running is invaluable as training is extremely time consuming and complex and a person coming out of college may decide this career is not for them however an apprentice after three years is very much invested in your company.
Has the COVID-19 crisis affected your options while hiring and does The Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship present an opportunity in the current market? How so?
Covid-19 has changed nearly every aspect of life and business - the area of hiring people is no different, from the basics of the interview now taking place via Zoom or if you do invite them in for a socially distanced interview then the relevant declaration forms must be completed prior to them entering the building.
Within the industry The Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship is well recognised and the experience that comes with it is very much valued by potential employers – therefore it definitely does present opportunities at a time when everything is more challenging. With the apprenticeship, there is also the option whereby an existing novice staff member can join the programme – this isn’t something we have done, but I know of other employers who have had a junior member of staff join the programme successfully – it’s a great option for someone who wants to progress their career in insurance within a well defined training structure and which also provides them with a qualification.
Has the availability of The Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship and the opportunity to progress their careers within the company changed the atmosphere among your other staff?
Most of our employees are qualified whether that’s APA/CIP/ACII or Grandfathered and if not they are currently working towards the CIP qualification. Education and progression are very much valued and encouraged within our company. I think The Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship suits some people, it is a wonderful opportunity for those who are keen to progress within the industry and get a third level qualification but it takes a lot of commitment and dedication – it is not for everyone. Studying while working full time is challenging and while there are many benefits to putting into practise all that you are learning from your studies on a daily basis, other employees who have major commitments outside of work are quite happy to progress on the natural route of becoming a Certified Insurance Practitioner (which in itself is a feat as there is still a requirement for study outside of work). Education and learning are essential to a career in insurance and if you have what it takes to commit yourself to the apprenticeship programme then I would strongly encourage you to consider it.
If you would like to learn more about the apprenticeship please log on to earnandlearn.ie