As my first job since graduating, I had no idea what to expect when starting work at Haggie Partners. Due to COVID-19, I was interviewed, began work and completed my three-month probation all without physically meeting any of my new colleagues, let alone stepping foot inside an office. It was certainly surreal starting my first day in a virtual environment while actually in my childhood bedroom. Having acclimatised to an online existence, the challenge then came in meeting and working with people I’d known for six months but never actually met.
Besides getting to know my new colleagues and the office, I also had to get to know the world of insurance. Before Haggie Partners, I had no experience of the sector, beyond my dad’s mobile phone coverage coming to my rescue and his travel insurance saving his wallet (and blood pressure) after I injured my knee skiing a few years back. I’m now fast beginning to see how re/insurance is ever-present in almost all areas of life.
Most people are only aware of home, car and life insurance but who knew there was a whole other world of legacy, political violence and terrorism, bloodstock and cyber insurance? That’s just to name a few of the classes specialised in by our clients who we look after here at Haggie Partners. It’s a varied and competitive world I never knew existed and am fast learning why a company like ours is needed to protect, maintain and grow the reputations of insurance businesses.
With email at the core of everything we do, I wonder how PR companies operated before the internet age. What would I be doing all day? Work is organised by email, ‘To Do’ folders are gospel, and everything is confirmed by the indelible, traceable medium of email, even if the person is sitting next to you. When you do get to meet somebody, it’s usually following a series of emails confirming every detail of said meeting. The internet is also a crucial tool, with much of my time spent monitoring the media for coverage and mentions of our clients. I can only think if I’d started work in 1986, it would’ve been like a Brothers Grimm fairytale, with me locked in a room trawling through knee-deep piles of newspapers on a never-ending basis!
Besides sharpening my computer proficiency, I also quickly realised my literacy skills would come under scrutiny and that was before I even met our resident ‘Captain Comma’. Now, I check everything I write, especially punctuation, before it gets sent ‘upstairs’. I’ve also discovered there are at least 10 different ways of saying ‘I hope you are well’ at the start of an email. My personal favourite is ‘I hope you are staying positive and testing negative’, but I haven’t tried it with any of the partners yet.
Now I’m in the office three days a week, other observations have struck me; many colleagues keep heels under their desk in case they’re required last minute to attend a formal event. Also, the coffee machine is a crucial asset, you can tell a lot about a person by how tidy their desk is and the fruit basket has become a dear friend that’s helping me maintain my five-a-day while living on cut-price sandwiches. Last but certainly not least, there’s very rarely a bad time for an after-work drink.
Having survived a year of many transitions, I look forward to a, hopefully, more conventional learning curve, learning my craft, meeting people and deepening my knowledge of the multifarious risk transfer market.