Graduate gains: staying on top

LMA leadership seminar Solent Challenge 2008

Oversubscription does not equate to complacency on Lloyd's graduate recruitment scheme. Terry Hayday details developments designed to ensure top talent keeps on coming.

As THE growth and profile of Lloyd's of London continues, efforts persist by those within the market to develop future talent and attract new graduates into the fold.

With the introduction of reforms across Lloyd's, encompassing the introduction of the franchise through to the latest set of minimum standards, it has followed that a key priority for the Lloyd's managing agents is to attract the right people who can build upon these solid foundations.

Recently, those seeking careers in financial services have been increasingly attracted to insurance — and to Lloyd's in particular — as the fortunes of investment banks and other institutions have suffered during the credit crisis and ensuing recession. It is not a hard sell. Lloyd's continues to be at the forefront of world trends in insurance and reinsurance: responding creatively to global consolidation; to increasingly sophisticated clients; to new forms of risk financing; and to rapidly developing technology.


Variety of channels

The Lloyd's Market Association uses a variety of channels to raise the profile of the Lloyd's market and the members it serves. A graduate portal, set up in 2006, has helped define the career paths open to aspiring professionals who might choose to work within Lloyd's. Through the website, prospective applicants are introduced to the skills and competencies being sought for entrants into the marketplace. The portal describes the activities within Lloyd's and features links to 24 firms of Lloyd's managing agents and brokers seeking to recruit and train graduates. The site also includes stories and experiences from the most recent 'new crop' of talent.

Upon joining Lloyd's, graduates may be trained in underwriting, claims handling, risk management, broking and a whole series of management disciplines relevant to today's technological world. It is recognised widely that an apprenticeship model, followed by successive stages of development, professional qualifications and the vital nurturing of commercial relationships, all contribute to the well-being of competent and capable insurance professionals.

Oversubscribed each year, the Corporation of Lloyd's graduate recruitment scheme offers guaranteed employment to participants who have completed an intensive period of learning under the combined tutelage of the Corporation and one of several resident managing agents making up the Lloyd's market.

In addition to attracting graduates, the LMA works to produce guidance to define the future landscape of a career in the Lloyd's market by concentrating on professional development issues which define standards and benchmarks for market practitioners.

Last year, with an emphasis on competencies, the LMA produced a training and competence toolkit for managing agents, covering professional qualifications and compliance with Financial Services Authority requirements. Work on an allied website is currently under way.

How training is delivered to individuals is not exclusively a matter of providing technical knowledge through the medium of text books or learning at the underwriting 'box' — managing agents have traditionally provided this knowledge in-house. Throughout the course of a trading year, individuals also need to receive training in 'experiential learning'. Emphasis must always be on the practical aspects of education, leading to the development of a profound understanding of the subject matter, first hand — be it windstorm exposure in Florida or earthquake risks in California.

In September, the LMA ran its second seminar at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, for those in managerial positions. Entitled Inspirational Leadership, the week-long seminar attracted attendees from more than 20 organisations at Lloyd's, who received lectures on topics as diverse as The Mind of Leonardo Da Vinci, to an exploration of 21st century risks confronting the Lloyd's market, ranging from nanotechnology to climate change.


Leadership learning

Other sessions focused on strategy and innovation, leading to an intensive workshop and coaching based on Shakespeare's Henry V that included an examination of the range of leadership issues and achievements that confronted the victor of Agincourt. While seemingly an unorthodox approach, participants were presented with the type of individual and collective challenges that must be confronted to become an effective leader in the commercial world. Genuine exemplars of leadership were represented by Sir David Rowland, former chairman of Lloyd's, and by Pete Goss, the round-the-world yachtsman who, in their very own distinctive ways, highlighted the true components of leadership.

The underwriting community at Lloyd's believes it is important to publicise the values of the market to those who are seeking professional careers within the financial services sector. Once they have actually seen the Lloyd's market at work, many are hooked for life. Even more importantly, once talented individuals embark upon their career, it is vital to provide them with learning opportunities to maximise their own, their employers and the collective rewards of success in a 320-year-old institution: the Lloyd's market.


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