Emily Bonney is a Product Manager in our Travel department, read her career story below!
What do you do in Admiral currently and how long have you been working here?
I’m the Product Manager in our Travel department and I’ve been in the role for almost a year now. As the Product Manager I deal with a lot of ongoing analysis (claims, complaints and competitor analysis) and liaise with our other Travel areas to make decisions on the product. I also ensure that we have a competitive product offering within the market, and that our claims and customer journeys are smooth.
How did you get into your current role? What’s your background?
I studied philosophy at Cardiff University and at the time I really wanted to get into Human Resources as I studied a lot of ethical modules and always saw myself in a people role. I applied for Admiral’s Graduate Programme and my first placement was in Recruitment, which I absolutely loved and really wasn’t interested in doing anything else. My mentor at the time encouraged me to try something new and push myself out of my comfort zone before returning to Recruitment permanently, if that’s what I still intended to do. So, I did my second placement in Ancillaries, an area that’s responsible for the product design and performance of our optional extras, in a product role. After those six months I felt like I’d only scratched the surface, so I ended up staying on for a year and a half as I really enjoyed the role. It just so happened that after a year and a half, an opportunity in Recruitment came back up. I joined Recruitment and started working my way up. I was fortunate to have some great opportunities and progressed to a point where I was able to build a team from scratch which was really exciting. I was in the role for around two years and felt ready for something new again. The beauty of our culture here allows you to take an opportunity and not funnel yourself into just one area for your whole career. I found myself drawn back to the product role as I could learn so much about the commercial aspect of the business. Also, the fact that the role would be in travel insurance grabbed my attention as, at the time, we were deep in the pandemic and it was an area which was about to go through a lot of change which excited me! I applied, was successful, and I’ve been here ever since.
What does your product team do for the Travel department?
Product involves a little bit of everything. We’re essentially responsible for ensuring our product is competitive within the market, works in the way it’s intended to and leads to good customer outcomes. It involves a lot of competitor and root cause analysis as well as adhering to governance to ensure we’re offering fair value to our customers. All areas within Travel work collaboratively together as we’re a growing department so it’s very easy to communicate with each other and get work done quickly. I joined during the pandemic where sales were quite low, but as the months went on and we started to pick up as more people started travelling again, it’s given us a good idea of how much we can grow as a team. We’ve actually had to react very quickly to the changing market, so it’s been really valuable going through these changes and adapting together as a team.
What are the opportunities for learning and development like here?
I was really lucky that when I was in Recruitment, I was able to study for a CIPD qualification, a Human Resources qualification, which was funded by Admiral. I’ve also completed the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) 2 and 3 as part of the graduate programme, and I did have the opportunity to study ILM 5, which I’ll consider in the near future. I’ve not done any formal qualifications since being in Travel, but the sheer volume of exposure to the area and training has been a really useful way of learning for me. My manager has been great at supporting me in achieving my own personal development goals and just generally helping me find my feet in Travel as I’m still relatively new.
Do you have any career-defining moments?
I wouldn’t necessarily say this was career-defining, but it was definitely a proud moment. When I joined Ancillaries, I was quite new and lacked a bit of confidence, but I was actually nominated for a manager’s award. My Head of Department put me forward for it and it really boosted my confidence as I felt like I’d put a lot of effort into the role so I really appreciated the recognition. I think when you’re starting out in your career, it’s always hard to see how far you’ve actually come, and that award made me realise that I was respected and appreciated in the department which felt really motivating.
Do you have any advice for anyone looking to join your area, or Admiral in general?
When I worked in Recruitment, we looked out for people who had taken the time to learn about the business and showed a clear interest in who we are, what we stand for and where we want to be. We generally want people who are on board and will help us deliver that. I’d also say that whatever area you want to get into, it’s worth having an understanding of how we’re regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and other regulatory bodies, as every area across the business will have some touch points with that governance aspect. No one comes in with an ego so be open to new ideas, collaborate with others and be inquisitive.
If you’re considering a change in career, have a look at our open roles here.