The Commercial Underwriting Mid-term Adjustments (MTA) and Renewals team is part of NFU Mutual’s 400-strong Underwriting function. Based in Belfast, Bristol, Glasgow, Stratford-upon-Avon and York, and alongside teams of home-based Underwriters, they look after our existing customers who might want to change or renew their policies. Part of a network of Commercial Underwriters, they work with our UK-wide Agency Network to ensure our customers continue to get the right cover and make any changes that may be needed to policies mid-term. So, what goes on in their team - and what do they enjoy about working for NFU Mutual? We spoke to some of the MTA and Renewals team to find out.

What does your team do - and how do you work with other underwriters?
“Our role is all about making sure our policies still meet our customer’s needs”, says Sharon Downie who works in the Glasgow MTA and Renewals Team. “It’s about the mid-term adjustments to policies and policy renewals. We look after customers with existing policies, so that takes us into a wide variety of sectors and businesses.” And when it comes to working with other Underwriting teams across the business, there’s a lot of contact, as Sarah Bowe, who works in the York team explains. “All of the Commercial Underwriters work together wherever they’re based, and that’s really helpful if you need help with a question. There's always an expert to speak to.”

So, what business areas do you cover?
NFU Mutual is well known for insurance within farming and agriculture, and while that’s still a big part of our business, the breadth of what we cover now is broader than many might think. Michaela Misakova has worked for NFU Mutual for 16 years and transitioned into Commercial Underwriting from the NFU Mutual Agency Network just over a year ago. She’s seen a lot of variety in the assets covered, as she explains. “It’s very different. No two days are the same. We’ve insured castles, historic houses, water sports parks and even a yoga centre in the middle of a lake. We do cover so much more than we did before. We're branching out into many different businesses.” Sarah Bowe tells a similar story. “Yes, it’s definitely not just farming policies. I had an enquiry from a women’s workshop wanting to build straw houses. It’s the things you don’t expect that make it so interesting and between us we’ve developed a lot of additional experience.”

How do you work with Head Office and the NFU Mutual Agency Network?
As Michaela explains, the relationship between the MTA and Renewals Team and the customer remains, even when they work with Head Office. “We do work with our Head Office colleagues when a policy reaches a certain financial limit for our team, but as far as the customer is concerned, they still deal with us. We keep that contact and that’s good for the customer.” And as Sharon explains, it’s very clear who does what. “We all have an individual underwriting authority so we know exactly what we can underwrite. There’s regular contact, and it’s the same within the UK-wide Agency Network too. “I like to build relationships with the agencies by picking up the ‘phone rather than sending off emails. It’s really helpful to discuss things; we’re that kind of business.” Coming from an agency background, Michaela feels the connection to the Agency Network helps her understand how everyone works and strengthens relationships. “As underwriters it’s good to visit the agencies and the other way around too. It helps us all feel connected to see how we all work.”

What are the main positives of the role, what do you enjoy most?
People find out about NFU Mutual in different ways, so, what reasons do the team think would make people want to join them? Sarah was new to Underwriting when she joined the team and values the supportive environment. “Coming into a new role, with no prior experience, the team have really been there to help. By helping each other out we’re learning all the time. I’ve felt valued straight off the mark. You feel like whatever experience you bring; it's helping the team and that's really encouraged.”

For Sharon it’s the training. “There was a very detailed training plan when I first started and I knew exactly what was expected of me on a daily basis, such as working on various commercial underwriting workbooks and online modules. It was all very, very detailed and progressive.” And for Michaela, with her longer time in the business, it’s still the NFU Mutual approach to customers that she enjoys. “I’ve always valued how we put our customers first and working with them for such a long time in some cases, you feel like you become the part of their family. Throughout my career here it’s been a secure place to work, and I’ve grown along with the business.”

How do you see your potential for career development?
Michaela sees herself as proof that you can join the Underwriting team and enjoy continued career progression. “Many of us have transitioned from other parts of the business. I was new to Underwriting but received plenty of support which enabled me to follow my own career path within the team. There’s so much opportunity here, you really can reach the highest levels.” Sarah agrees with Michaela. “As well as progression within the team, there’s also the team leader route, which follows the leadership management career path. And really, it's up to you to choose the route you’d prefer. Whichever way you choose to develop, there's lots of support, and lots of opportunity to get a feel for the different roles, before you decide and focus on the direction your career takes.” Jo Dixon, from the NFU Mutual Resourcing Team adds, “There is a lot of internal development, and we always look internally within the team, especially for the more senior roles, when we have vacancies. So, I think there are definitely career development opportunities.”

So, what makes working here so great?
“For me, it’s the great teamwork and knowing where your contribution fits in.” says Sharon. “You know what's expected of you and how you're contributing towards the performance of the team and how that fits into the bigger picture. Michaela values the support, as well as having a voice in how things are done, as she explains. “They’re really good at asking us for our input when something is being developed, it’s nice to be asked and recognised for our input. We’re also supported to work from home up to 80% of our time too, which really helps with our work life balance. NFU Mutual is a place that knows how to support its people.”

And Sarah echoes the same thoughts. “It’s not just the support you receive, or that you’re encouraged to better yourself through career progression. It’s also the little things that come with your benefits package that I don’t think are so common in other companies. There’s an online provider that provides access to healthcare and cashback for dental and medical appointments, subsidised gym membership, life assurance and lots of other things that show how the Mutual really care about their employees and want to put their wellbeing first.”

Any career development tips you’d like to share?
We asked what advice they’d give to others joining their team. Embracing the variety and opportunity seems to be a common theme, as Sarah covers. “Definitely take every opportunity to experience the weird, the wonderful and the random requests that come in. Coming to work with an open mind is a really good place to start. This isn’t a business where you're expected to hit the ground running, you’ll learn on the job with full support to become the best you can be. It’s such an interesting business, so really push to find those new opportunities and get that experience as it’s all there.”

Sharon has also noticed just how much scope there is to learn. “This role is just so varied, much more varied than my previous roles with other companies. So, embrace the variety and build those relationships. Everyone wants to help you make connections, so you won’t feel intimidated by being new.” And Michaela adds “Don’t be afraid to ask anyone anything.”

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