Diary of an Insurer: RSA’s Jessica Riley

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Jessica Riley, terrorism lead for commercial lines at RSA, packs in school runs, training for charitable races, a Christmas team catch-up, and making amendments to e-learning modules for terrorism into her working week.


Jessica Riley - square crop - RSA
Jessica Riley

My morning begins far too early, with the children asking if we can turn off the security alarm so they can go downstairs. After the morning school run, I have a few minutes to look over my calendar before we kick off the working week by holding a meeting with the whole team.

Our team consists of portfolio leads and portfolio underwriters who represent each of our commercial products. Cameras on, we share what we each have planned for the next five days. Following this, my own team of terrorism underwriters and I meet on Microsoft Teams to hold our own meeting, where we discuss what we’ll be doing that day, and to talk through any referrals or queries that might need the input of others.

My focus today is on ensuring that all our process notes for our quarterly premium declarations to Pool Reinsurance are refreshed ahead of the start of the process for the next payment. With new people being trained to undertake the data tasks for the terrorism reinsurance payments, it’s been a good opportunity to revisit the process notes with a fresh pair of eyes.

I also look at a couple of urgent referrals for some imminent renewals, and draft an endorsement to amend cover in one of our commercial wordings.


Woman on country bike ride

After the school run, I quickly settle in to review the progress on actions raised during our last Pool Re terrorism review, only breaking to dial into the daily terrorism team meeting to catch up on what we’re hoping to get done in the day ahead.

At lunch time, I take the opportunity to clock in a few kilometres on my bike, which is desperately needed due to a recent lazy streak brought on by the recent colder weather. I’m trying to keep my bike fitness at a decent level over winter in preparation for the London to Brighton ride I’ll be taking on in June.

After lunch, I have a few calls with various people around the business to talk about a few different cases, followed by a quick meeting to discuss further improvements to our underwriting licence development pathways.


Work Christmas party_Christmas venue

Today, I’m up very early to catch a train to London for our team day. This is the first time that the whole team has been able to meet in person in nine months and, given that it’s now December, we’re also having our Christmas meal.

On the train, I take the time to catch up on emails, prepare for the day ahead and further extend my streak on Duolingo – I’m now up to 1035 days in a row of completing French language lessons.

Once we’ve all made it to London, hindered by issues on some of the train lines, we spend the day getting to know each other (some of us have never met in person), discussing our strategy for 2023, plans and objectives, and accomplishments in 2022, as well as 2023’s aims for each line of business. It would be remiss of me not to mention the team competition, which involved building a tower using marshmallows and dried spaghetti – I’m still a little bit gutted that my team didn’t win. I thought our engineering skills were spot on.

In true Christmas fashion, we spend the evening at a lovely restaurant eating at least a whole day’s worth of calories in just one meal.


Female employee and Microsoft Teams meeting

After the excitement of yesterday, I’m hoping for a calmer day today.

With the school run over, I start with catching up on the emails I received during the office team day. I respond to a few referrals, with a couple involving a quick Microsoft Teams call to prevent the need for a ‘back and forth’ by email. One referral is for one of our biggest policies, where I check that the proposed wording and terrorism premium is acceptable.

After lunch, I check over some data reports I needed that were recently run. Then, with not long left in the working day, I start a review and update of another wording.


Group of runners training for a race

Given that we are now near the end of week, today is an opportune time to finish all those tasks I had planned for this week.

I finish the wording update I started yesterday and send it off for my amendments to be actioned.

Before lunch, I review notes on amendments we’re making to some of our e-learning modules for terrorism as a result of changes to rates and special adjustments made in the recent new Pool Re manual.

As it’s not raining, I head out for my first run in months. I’m quickly reminded that bike-fit is not the same as run-fit, but it’s certainly something I need to persevere with. A large number of the team – myself included – will be running the Alton Towers 10K run in November, and I’ve a long way to go before I can manage that distance in one go.

Once I’m back and recovered, I return to e-learning modules, but now I look at the content for a new terrorism module I’m looking to have created. The module will complement our underwriting licence development pathway improvements, which are intended to further aid capability and authority development.

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