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Underwriter – Global Property
Michael studied a Bachelor of Science (Major Geography) at Queen's University in Belfast, U.K.
1). What's your job about?
I work within the Global Property division of AIG, providing insurance and risk management services for commercial property and energy and highly engineered risks on a local, national and international scale.
I started with AIG in the Professional Associate program on 1st July 2014, closely followed by a trip to New York, where I received an induction to AIG with over 215 other graduates from around the world. The ability to travel to AIG’s head office in New York, and the opportunity to meet global leaders in the business was initially daunting, but exciting. There were two further trips to America with more specific technical training on my job function - property underwriting.
My duties differ from day to day. I predominantly work with brokers, and the portfolio of submissions I focus on are middle market and large limit, where I assist with evaluating risks and reaching insurance solutions to help brokers and clients with their insurance needs. This process is a joint effort working with different teams across varied areas of expertise; I work alongside offshore catastrophe modeling teams, local risk engineering teams and the property team.
My position in the Global Property team is not restricted to the office. I attend site visits alongside our risk engineers to evaluate risk and provide our clients with advice on risk mitigation and management. I work alongside broking partners and attend renewal meetings with our key clients, as well as attend many different insurance networking events throughout the year.
2). What's your background?
I grew up on the other side of the world in not-so-sunny Ireland, and lived there until I moved to Australia in 2012. I went to university with the intention of becoming a teacher, but after finishing my Bachelor of Science degree I decided that wasn’t for me.
Moving to Australia in 2012 has been the biggest change for me. My initial plan was a year’s travel, and four years on I am still here. I travel back to Ireland regularly to visit friends and family, but I genuinely feel like Brisbane is home.
My first taste of insurance in Australia was with a local insurer working in the claims department, helping with the influx of claims from the previous cyclone season.
I was eager to get over to the underwriting side of insurance and in particular one of the international insurers. I saw the Professional Associate opportunity online, applied, interviewed in November and started in July the following year.
3.) Could someone with a different background do your job?
The simple answer is yes. I believe that AIG strongly encourages diversity as it results in many varying points of view, thus a larger pool of ideas and experiences.
I think that the key to success in insurance is relationship building. By developing a strong relationship with broking partners, you transform AIG from being “just another insurer”, into a known and trusted brand. Having a confident and outgoing personality goes a long way, but I feel it is also important that you have a good understanding of insurance. Fortunately, I have had the benefit of a great team who provide training and support when and where I need it.
4). What's the coolest thing about your job?
A big part of my role is getting to know how my clients work, what they do and how they do it. I deal with large, complex companies and it is great to get an insight into how they operate. Periodically I get the opportunity to visit certain sites and see the risk first-hand, which gives me a greater understanding of the scale of type of risks I insure. Getting the opportunity to be client-facing keeps my role interesting.
5). What are the limitations of your job?
When I first started the role with AIG I found that the values I was dealing with were huge. The scary thing was putting so much of AIG’s money at risk through my underwriting analysis. This stress reduces over time and through experience, but it is something I am still conscious of each and every day. Also June is hectically busy!
6). 3 pieces of advice for your teenage self...
- Take a gap year!
- Travel as much as you can!
- Maintain relationships!