Our Motor & Personal (M&P) Underwriters are responsible for making decisions on the insurance risks we take on here at NFU Mutual, so their role is extremely important to the success of our business. We caught up with Jenna Smith, who has been working as an M&P Underwriter in York since November 2018, to learn more about what it is like working within the Department.

What was your background before joining NFU Mutual?

Prior to joining the NFU Mutual, I worked at a solicitor’s, dealing with insurance fraud cases. I was attracted to the Mutual due to it being well known in the insurance world as a trustworthy and reliable company. Underwriting was a sector of insurance that I had never worked in before and therefore the role within M&P was a great opportunity and a new challenge to get my teeth stuck into!

What do you enjoy the most about your role?

I enjoy the variety the job offers. There is a wide range of products we work with, including motor, home, travel and pet. I enjoy being allowed to think outside of the box and use my initiative to make decisions on certain cases.

Can you tell us about an achievement you are most proud of since being within M&P?

I joined as a ‘Level 2’ Underwriter in the department, however I have been successful in obtaining my ‘Level 3’ authority in a relatively short space of time as part of my on-going development, which is something I am really proud of.

What does a typical day look like for you?

My days can be really varied, as we have different workstreams.

On a Monday, I might be taking inbound calls from agency staff members for a variety of reasons such as wishing to add a young driver to cover or wanting to add a new property to a policy.

On a Tuesday, I may be a referral point for the department, helping other Underwriters with queries and referrals outside of their authority.

On a Wednesday, I might be dealing with policy renewals, looking at any terms that might be needed to ensure we are rating the risk correctly.

I plan my own days by writing a list of outstanding tasks in priority order and working my way through to ensure that nothing gets missed. The pace of work is quite fast, and often the days fly by. There’s never a dull day in M&P!

Are there any specific targets / objectives you need to meet?

The calls we receive can really vary in terms of complexity, and there are always cases which will take you longer than others to complete if slightly more complex than average. This is understood as part and parcel of the role. Ultimately, we want to provide the best possible service to the NFU Mutual agencies as this then means a great service to our members, which is what we are all about.

Due to the pace of the work, we do have individual targets in place as a guide in terms of the number of phone calls taken during the day if you are assigned to cover the inbound calls. There are also targets for the number of work actions completed or renewals, if that is your workstream for the day.

What are three skills / qualities you would say are essential for the job?

I would say:

1. Organisation

2. Ability to think outside of the box

3. A desire to learn

What advice would you give to somebody considering this role as a career?

If you are looking for a new challenge within a fast-paced environment and you are willing to work hard, the Mutual is a great place to start your career. M&P is a friendly department to work - everyone is always willing to help if you are stuck or just want a second opinion. There is a lot to learn, but there is a great training programme to give you the essentials and give you the tools you need to do your job well.

What are you career aspirations?

I personally would like to develop technically and eventually work my way up to become a Senior Underwriting Technician within the Department. I have a Personal Development Plan in place which I work on with my line manager. We are always discussing what I need to get to the next step and the development is very structured.

To learn more about the opportunities we currently have available within our M&P Departments, please visit our Underwriting page.

Jenna Smith, Motor & Personal Underwriter