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National Apprenticeship Week - Dan's story

National Apprenticeship Week - Dan's story National Apprenticeship Week celebrates its tenth anniversary in 2017. It feels like the perfect time to take a look at an apprentice who started in the sector at the same time. 

Dan Williams, tell us your story.

I’m Dan Williams and I work for JLT Restructuring & Recovery, a part of JLT Specialty. I’m a Case Manager and have been in my current role for just over six months. I worked for JLT during my apprenticeship and spent seven years there across various product management and account management roles. I then had a three-year stint at Hiscox as a Development Underwriter.

I decided not to go to university mainly because I worked during the summer in between GCSE’s and sixth form. I enjoyed the world of work and decided to take the plunge and drop out of sixth form to get a job. 

I approached a financial services recruitment specialist, now part of Idex. It’s only with hindsight that I now see the incredible value in FS specialist recruiters and the opportunities they are able to create. Idex put me in touch with JLT, the rest as they say… 

Restructuring & Recovery provides insurance solutions to Insolvency Practitioners, so an average day is very much at the mercy of the insolvency market. The general principal of what we do is quite straightforward. Once an Insolvency Practitioner has been appointed over a business we place cover for them. We then work with our clients to form a strategy as to the best insurance solution going forward. That could be our open cover scheme, or working with the previous broker to try and maintain their covers. Our third option is to place cover in the open market. 

We fit in to the wider market in our own niche way. We do broke risks to the open market where that presents the best solution to our client. These are mainly property lead risks which could be absolutely anything from your local newsagent through to a heavy industrial risk or even an airport! 

I enjoy the variety of my role. It gives you exposure to almost every class of insurance you could imagine. We never know what we’ll have in next – this is totally outside of our influence. 

The most challenging part of my role is the evolution from placing broker, ie binding cover for a simple risk, to a Health & Safety advisor, claims manager, risk manager, general sounding board for our clients. The breadth of the services we offer to our clients is forever expanding. 

I've realised that, to be successful in any role, you need a willingness to learn and push yourself. Every day you will encounter areas where your knowledge isn’t quite at expert level. You have to be comfortable with the unknown and expanding your knowledge daily. 

I completed my CII Certificate in Insurance a good few years ago and have this year completed several Diploma units. If I could talk to my younger self I’d have taken this more seriously before family commitments drew on my time.

Looking back, I have quite a few highlights.  It is difficult to pick one but at Hiscox I relationship managed the winning of a new scheme worth over £1.5m gross written premium (GWP). Shaking hands on that deal was probably the best moment of my career to date. 

Working in this profession has many benefits. You get exposure to a lot of other professions within financial services and beyond. A lot of the skills I have built working in my product development and account management roles are transferable outside of insurance. There’s opportunity to shape your career in insurance in to whatever you want it to be. Within any insurance business there are various departments such as marketing, accounts and IT. You are not limited to simply transactional insurance work whilst working within an insurer or broker.

I chose a career in insurance based on the breadth of opportunity it presents. 
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