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Whistle-stop Wednesdays: Embracing growth and new challenges

We caught up with Owen Thomas, Senior Underwriter here at Admiral Financial Services Ltd (AFSL). Owen has been here from the very beginning of AFSL’s growth and continues to get involved in developing himself and the new talent coming into the department.

What do you do in Admiral and how long have you been working here?

I work as a Senior Underwriter in Admiral Financial Services Ltd (AFSL). My job is to ensure the smooth daily running of the team and assess applications for unsecured personal loans up to £25k and car finance up to £50k. So, this includes things like assessing credit bureau data for current and previous performance, reviewing documents such as ID and bank statements and mitigating and filing fraudulent applications. I joined Admiral as my first full time job in February 2014 after finishing Sixth form at AS level, originally working in Outbound Sales on a car insurance campaign.  

How did you get where you are now?

I started my career as a Call Centre Representative (CCR) in the Outbound Sales department. I worked on numerous campaigns including car, home and life insurance. I won the ‘CCR of the year’ award in 2016 and realised this was more than just a job, it was a place where hard work is recognised and rewarded. I then joined Loans Originations team (Contact Centre team) in April 2017 when the business was still relatively new and worked there for a year whilst picking up additional tasks and had a growing interest in the Credit Underwriting role. I have since worked as a Credit and Fraud Underwriter and earlier this year was promoted to Senior.

What do you enjoy most about working in AFSL Underwriting?

What I enjoy most about work is the new and frequent challenges. I always feel engaged with my role and our views are valued when my team and I challenge any changes, as we are always mindful of ensuring decisions are the best for the business and customer. We have a great family feel in AFSL where people are always happy to support each other. It’s nice to come into work every day to a job I genuinely enjoy. 

What's the most exciting change or project happening within AFSL?

The business has ambitious growth targets, with our team being a key component of this. Our team has doubled in size in the past couple of months, with even more joining soon. The most exciting change for me at the moment is helping to bring the right people into the team, all with different backgrounds and levels of experience and getting these people trained remotely to ensure they are confident and competent, whilst also staying engaged with the team and the Admiral culture.

Do you think there are lots of opportunities to grow and develop in AFSL?

AFSL is full of opportunities, as expected with a growing business. There are frequent job posts with the opportunity to be trained at entry level. In the Underwriting team especially, we have had people promoted to Senior and Manager levels, and others have moved to different roles altogether within the business such as IT, Product and Credit Risk. I am currently completing my ILM Level 3 through Admiral’s in-house training department, which is a diploma in management. It’s helped me develop in many areas including ‘Understanding Leadership’ and ‘Building an effective team’. It’s open to all levels of staff and once completed will lead to a qualification. I’m confident this helped in my senior interview.

What’s the culture like in AFSL and how has it adapted with remote working?

It’s everything you’d expect from Admiral with staff from all levels encouraging fun and recognising hard work. We are kept in the loop with monthly business meetings and fortnightly Monday morning stand ups. This used to be done on the floor with a microphone when in the office but has continued remotely during the pandemic. We’re all driven towards the business milestones and are rewarded for this. We get together every Friday for ‘Friday Fun’, which is a great opportunity for the full business of 150+ to run through highlights from the week, recognise star performers and have fun, which includes quizzes, fancy dress, scavenger hunts etc. These are hosted by different areas of the business each week.

Do you have any advice for someone looking to join your AFSL?

Admiral Financial Services and the Underwriting team is a fast-paced environment with frequent changes. I’m a true believer in ‘people can be trained to do the role’, so experience is of course desirable, but for me it’s about the individual and their passion to learn and work. We really want hardworking individuals to join, people who are self-motived with an eye for detail. Also, those who enjoy being part of a team and really want to engage in our special Admiral culture!

Have a look at our current vacancies in AFSL.

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