Voice of the Future: Joe O'Brien


Post talks to talented newcomers about what attracted them to insurance. This week it is the turn of Joe O'Brien, Transactional Risk Insurance Broker, Howden.

Why did you choose to work in insurance?
I was attracted to Howden’s entrepreneurial approach and the level of ownership you’re given here. I was involved in launching the transactional risks team, which has been a very rewarding opportunity. The challenge of growing a book of business and taking responsibility for its revenue stream was – and continues to be – a very 
exciting one.

How long have you been in the industry and what work experience did you have before?
I’ve worked in insurance for two-and-a-half years now, and have certainly gained a lot of experience in that time.

What was your view of the industry before you joined?
I’d only thought about personal lines – house, motor, mobile, and so on. The insurance industry didn’t seem to join the ‘milk round’ (when companies tour universities to advertise careers) that the banks and law firms did – they could do more to showcase the industry and the careers available.

How important do you think qualifications are and have you been encouraged to take them by your employer?
Professional qualifications provide an insight into the industry, and enable you to talk from an informed position – essential for dealing with clients who are experts in their field. Hyperion supports staff through their Chartered Insurance Institute and other qualifications. Qualifications should go hand-in-hand with practical experience, so you gain a well-rounded view of the industry.

What could or should the insurance industry do to attract more talent and make more people chose it as a career?
Visiting universities during the ‘milk round’ months would make an impact and internships would provide individuals with a taste of what the job would be like. It’s also important to stop being a ‘closed house’, where jobs go to family and friends – interview fairly and select the candidate demonstrating the most talent.

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