Church is schemes team manager at Covéa
Finalist for the “Role Model” award at the Covéa Excel Awards
Promoted to schemes team manager, managing a team of nine
Promoted to schemes commercial underwriter
2014 to 2015
Trained as a commercial underwriter
Joined the graduate scheme as a graduate assistant underwriter in the high-net-worth team of Sterling Insurance (now Covéa Insurance)
What has been the biggest challenge in your career to date?
When I took on the role of the schemes team manager, I recognised that as a 23-year-old graduate, I needed to earn the respect of the senior underwriters within my team. At first, I’m sure the team questioned my ability due to my age and experience; all of the team had extensive knowledge in the market and had spent years developing their technical abilities. I overcame the challenge by the strength of ‘vulnerable trust’.
I’m never afraid to ask the team for support on technical issues or to learn from those around me. To me, the most important thing is that the team trust my word and have faith that if I promise something, I will always deliver it. I set about promoting members of staff who deserved to be promoted, to improve archaic functions that needed changing and take risks if I felt it was the right thing for the team. I feel confident in saying the team are never afraid to approach me and I facilitate honest and open communication.
By doing this, I feel I’ve gained full support and respect from my team.
“Leah has been managing our schemes team for the past 15 months and has overseen significant improvements in employee engagement and customer satisfaction.”
Tim Grant, head of schemes and small business, Covéa
What would be your advice to other newcomers in the industry?
Be brave, be confident and be you. We work with people, and insurance is all about the way we build relationships with others.
Before I worked in insurance, I never realised that the insurance industry was just as much about networking and building relationships as it was about underwriting and claims.
What achievement are you most proud of?
My proudest moment was completing the Barcelona marathon in March this year. This took months of dedicated physical and mental training.
Where do you hope to be in 10 years?
I’m always looking for the next challenge and would like to progress further than team manager. I have a passion for delegated authority underwriting and want to continue to excel in the schemes arena. I hope to manage larger teams or an organisation. In short, I set myself high goals and enjoy the pressure that comes from working towards them.
Zurich disappointed in new #discountrate. David Nichols, Ch Claims Officer: "The failure to change the discount rate to a balanced level will only serve to increase the cost and, therefore, affordability of certain types of insurance - especially for higher risk customers." pic.twitter.com/ac1CfBzfxX— Zurich Insurance UK (@ZurichInsUK) July 15, 2019
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