Diary of an Insurer: RSA’s Emsal Arslan

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Emsal Arslan, wording technician at RSA, has an alarm clock with a waggy tail and shares her work to ensure policy wordings are clear and easily understandable.

Emsal Arslan, Wording Technician


My mornings usually start with Axel, my eight-month-old puppy, licking my toes. It is as horrible as it sounds but very effective at waking me up and telling me that it’s time for his walk and breakfast. He’s the nicest alarm clock that there is.

After a vigorous walk around the village, leaving me with my hair like a bird’s nest, I usually settle down to eat my breakfast, which is almost always a boiled egg and soldiers.

Mondays are spent in the office with the Technical Wordings Team. It’s not compulsory, but as a team, we like to make sure we set aside some time for in-person interactions, plus it’s always fun to catch up with each other. Those in-the-moment chats just can’t be replaced by Teams.

After a day of healthy wordings debates on the definition of partner, reviewing of documentation in line with our new gender-neutral guidance and catching up with the latest insurance news of new case law updates, it’s time to go home.

I always come away from office days with my team feeling very engaged and pumped for the week.


Sad Dog

As my mornings start the same way, I won’t bore you with the details of fighting with the puppy on the windiest, rainiest day of the week and instead skip to the part where I get home, breathless, ready for a day working from home.

I’m a big advocate of self-improvement via learning, so my day starts off with a webinar on contract formation, hosted by a law firm. It was excellent and very informative, so I came away from it having learned a lot.

The rest of my day is spent catching up on emails and joining meetings for exciting new upcoming p

rojects. After work I go for a long swim and manage 62 lengths in the pool.

Today is Halloween, so all the local children are out dressed up in their worst, scaring all the dogs in the neighbourhood.

Our village likes to go hard on the decorations, so you can hear all sorts of ghouls, witches, and ghosts… the puppy was not a fan. We handed out homemade bats (courtesy of my mother, who is adamant on not giving out sweets) to the trick-or-treaters.

I get home to read a few chapters of my latest read (The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss) before falling asleep with it still in my hand.


Paper flowing between laptop computers

Wednesday is another working from home day, so dog walk, eggs, laptop on – repeat.

Today was a challenging one. I started off by making a slight mistake in a shared document (I thought I was being helpful, but I actually deleted it all) and had to emergency ring a colleague for backup.

Luckily, the day was saved as she managed to figure out how to bring it all back – phew. Disaster averted, I have a thorough proofread and reformatting of our health and care liability policy before it goes to our documentation team, and this takes up a lot of time.

If you’ve ever had to format a policy document, you will know how painful the formatting process can be.

After a morning of answering emails and more meetings, my husband-to-be and I head off to look at wedding rings during my lunch break. After lunch it’s straight back into meetings – this time we’re talking policy summaries.

Tonight’s dinner is BBQ shredded chicken and baked bread rolls. It’s been cooking in the slow cooker all day, meaning that I’ve been fighting with myself not to have my dinner at 12pm. We eat our dinner while watching BBC’s Ghosts, which was recommended to us. I am loving it.


Diverse group of friends discussing a book in library.

This started off with Storm Ciaran saying hello and thoroughly watering the garden and blowing away the cobwebs. Poor Axel had to miss his morning walk. 

A few chapters of my book, boiled egg and toast, and some bribing to make the puppy do his business outside, it’s time to log on.

Today is another working from home day, so I get a warm cup of Yorkshire Tea (the best tea) ready to start the day.

First thing first is to catch up on emails and then plug away at some policy wording amendments and updates. There are quite a few meetings in the diary today so I’m trying to fit in what I can around those. One of those meetings is an interesting webinar about the risks facing the insurance industry.

At lunch time I take a longer lunch so that I can take myself swimming. I love being able to work flexibly to allow for some movement, it breaks up the day and also gives me some much-needed thinking time.

This afternoon is much the same except for one vital and exciting difference, I volunteered to start a book club for our team, so the best meeting is the last one with a colleague of mine who has agreed to help organise it with me.

I’m finishing work a bit later today to make up for my longer lunch and to finish off the to-do list. Then a long walk with the dog to make up for the one we missed this morning.


woman relaxing on the couch at home and watching videos on demand on her TV, entertainment

Fridays are usually days that I try to keep meeting free so I really knuckle down to tie up loose ends of those projects, tick off my long to-do list, and try and catch up with my fellow colleagues to see how their week has been.

Mid-morning, a surprise meeting turns up in my calendar to go over a policy update for our Project Cargo and DSU policy. Luckily, I’ve been working on this the previous day, so it is fresh in my mind. This policy review is a part of a wider project to ensure our wordings are clear and easily understandable.

My plans for the end of the day are to start my weekend as I mean to go on, snuggled up on the sofa watching a Netflix show and reading a book. I’m still eating the shredded BBQ chicken for dinner because I made enough to feed a small army.

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