Mark O'Callaghan, Associate Underwriter,Travelers Insurance Company Ltd

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What path did you follow to your job?

There are two distinct pathways into insurance for graduates. The first is a general graduate programme, which gives you experience of the different rotations within the industry – claims, underwriting, actuarial, sales and finance. But I knew I wanted to go into underwriting so I just went directly into that role.

What is the most important trait?

The technical skills are the foundation of your career. Develop relationships with your clients - this can involve socialising but you have to careful to socialise professionally – in order to generate business for the company in the future.

What supports exist for professional qualifications?

Industry standard insurance is the CIP exam. Most insurance companies will offer you study supports in the form of tutorials, lectures, funding and study leave, all of which are hugely beneficial.

Do you have any advice for students?

You will develop your technical skills on the job but you should start developing relationships with your classmates because they are probably going to be the people you will be dealing with in your career. It’s an invaluable network to build before you enter the industry. A lot of my former classmates are in the industry and dealing with me on a daily basis.

What are your career pathways?

One of my big goals is to get the CIP exam and then move on to the SEIA exams. Without these, progression to the more senior levels of the company isn’t going to be feasible. Another massive goal of mine is to work in the market in London.

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