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Graduate careers: Omar's story

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Graduates and Students

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Blog

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17/09/2020

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Meet Omar who started on our Analysts Graduate Programme in February 2020. Here he tells us about his journey so far and his hopes for the future at Admiral.  What were you looking for during your job search? I studied Natural Sciences at university, and despite focusing on life sciences for the bulk of my degree. I found myself enjoying my maths and computing modules the most and so I decided I wanted to focus on that after uni. Why did you choose the Data Analyst Grad Programme? I found that Admiral were one of the only places offering a dedicated analyst grad programme which was accessible to someone with my background (having not studied Maths, Physics, Computer Science etc.) Being able to dive straight into what I was interested in was a big pull for me.   How did you find the recruitment process? It sounds very cliché, but I really enjoyed the recruitment process. The written application was longer than what I was expecting and used to, but that was in place of any psychometric testing, so as a result I was able to send off my application, confident that it was an actual representation of who I was! Similarly, during both my interviews, I felt like the interviewers were interested in me as a person more so over any qualifications or specific knowledge. They weren’t trying to catch me out at all, so I felt comfortable to speak honestly during questions, openly saying when I didn’t know or couldn’t figure out what was being asked. What does your day-to-day at Admiral look like? I’m going into my penultimate month in my placement now with Acquisitions MI, one of the main data providing departments. Our main reporting tools here are SQL, Excel, VBA, and MicroStrategy and throughout the placement I’ve had a chance to learn all of them. Now I have a lot of flexibility in picking up jobs which focus on what I want to develop further. One thing that really surprised me about Data Analysis is the element of design that came with it. I honestly thought that the roles would be exclusively processing numbers (which there definitely is!) but a big aspect of my role is thinking about how the data is presented. I’m not much of an artist, and I found this hard at the start, but now I sometimes find myself doodling little sketches of dashboards or brainstorming potential design ideas. I like to break up the day with little pockets of doing something different when I can, usually it’s reading whatever book I’ve got from the Buy a Book Scheme during lunch, or sometimes a bit more of a structured training put on by the Admiral Academy or my department. What skills have you found most useful at Admiral? Communication! I’ve found it really important to be quick and transparent with your communication. If your work is going to take a week or two longer for example, a quick email explaining the situation goes a long way! I’ve never been met with anything but appreciation for the honesty.  Do you see yourself working for Admiral long-term? Absolutely! One thing that excites me the most about talking to more senior members of the company is the variety of the careers they’ve built. I’m looking forward to building my journey here. What would you say to someone sceptical of working for an insurance company? When I first joined Admiral, I had a very rudimentary understanding of what an insurance company actually does; but very quickly I began to learn about the differing roles in the company and how it all fits together. One of the most exciting things for me about the grad programme is the fact we take placements in 3-4 very different roles and get to spend a lot of time getting to grips with each one to find a niche that we enjoy and are interested in. Is there anything you would recommend to someone applying for the data analyst grad programme? When I first applied to the programme, I was apprehensive about the size of Admiral and worried that my work wouldn’t contribute much to the company. It quickly became apparent that this wasn’t the case, almost immediately after I joined my department I was able to start having a meaningful impact to work we do here and quickly built up a relatively high experience in some of the software we use. Now I’d say that the size of the company is a huge factor in the enjoyment I get from the work I do, giving you access to data and the ability to find trends and insights you probably wouldn’t be able to find elsewhere. 

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Emily  Bonney

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Emily Bonney

Emily  Bonney

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Emily Bonney

Admiral Travel Insurance - From inception, through COVID-19 and beyond.

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MBA

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Blog

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11/09/2020

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Cosmin (INSEAD 2012) joined Admiral as an International Pricing Manager on our SPARK Leadership Program in 2012. He has had a unique journey which led him to start up and now lead the Travel Insurance department. We caught up with Cosmin to find out more about his experience. How did you end up launching travel insurance?My pricing experience gave me the confidence to know how to do something well, but I was looking for something a little bit broader to apply that knowledge to. That is what made me look at wider business opportunities and there was a good case for creating a travel insurance product. If you look at the travel market in terms of volumes, it's relatively small compared to motor or household, but if you look at the number of people buying it, it's around 35 million and there’s an interesting overlap in terms of profiles between our household book and potential travel book. This means that travel brings you a flow of new customers. We also had confidence in the claims data and wider research we had done. Travel insurance was the most popular product that people expressed an interest in buying from Admiral. Finally, I felt there was a lot of room to disrupt this market and challenge the status quo, which made it a really exciting challenge.How has COVID-19 impacted our travel insurance product?Our IT system is quite different from what you see in the market giving us a fantastic agility to adapt to changes. In the case of Covid-19, there were a few nerves in the beginning, but we addressed them as a team. We always think about the opportunities of any situation and take on the challenges as a team. After all, we are an insurance company, so we do know a little bit about risk! We need to look at what’s happening with Covid-19 from the right perspective – this is likely a one-off event that nobody has any control over that won’t happen again for another hundred years. Covid-19 won’t make travel less attractive in the long run and it increases the awareness around the need for a good travel insurance product. In the UK, there is already a higher demand for travel insurance and customers want a good product. We have already made changes to make it better, including giving people more flexibility with regard to cancellation. It allows people to cancel without any kind of penalty and covers them for Covid-19 related medical emergencies while abroad.The customer is always at the centre of what we do at Admiral. We have always adapted to change and disrupted the market - ever since our humble beginnings in 1993 - and that is what we will continue to do. I’m excited to see what the future brings!You can find out more about the journeys our MBAs have taken here or read more about our MBA Leadership Programs. Alternatively, follow our MBA Leadership page on Linkedin.

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Kat Gil Mast

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Kat Gil Mast

Kat Gil Mast

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Kat Gil Mast

What you need to know about our Graduate Programs

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Graduates and Students

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Blog

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21/08/2020

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How long does the programme last? Both our core and analyst programmes last for up to two years, our core programme is split into four six-month placements and our analyst programme is made up of three eight-month placements. Slightly longer placements for analysts means that there is plenty of time to pick up on how to use specialist software like SAS, Python and SQL. What will the programme cover? You will join Admiral with fellow graduates and benefit from a comprehensive five-week induction, which not only gives you the opportunity to network and build friendships at work but also a strong foundation to start your first placement. You will learn about the insurance and Fintech industries, our history, culture, products and customers as well as being part of interactive workshops to develop presentation skills and work-place competencies through the externally recognised ILM Level 2 qualification. Thanks to the success of our previous schemes (our programme has been running since 2006), Graduates are held in high esteem by managers from across the organisation who will have specifically requested for you to join their teams. This means you will contribute to and take ownership of projects with real responsibility which make an impact on our business. Most recently, Grads on our core scheme have undertaken placements in departments such as Marketing, People Services (HR) , Claims, Compliance as well as with our sister companies, start-ups Veygo and AFSL. Our analysts focus on more data-driven departments, recently taking on projects in areas including Pricing, Data Analytics, Management Information and Automation. At the end of your first two rotations you will undertake ILM Level 3, as well as non-department specific training throughout your placements on topics such as project management, emotional intelligence & resilience and neurodiversity. You will choose your final placement in an area where you would like to accept a fixed role, using your learnings and experiences from the programme to determine your career path off of the scheme.   How will it help me in the future/career prospects at Admiral Completing several placements in diverse areas of the business means that you will develop a strong understanding of how our business works while developing an array of work-based competencies. It also means that you will be exposed to industry experts across a variety of departments, building a well-established network and will have plenty of opportunity to find your niche. Our Graduate Programme is first and foremost a developmental programme which means we work with you to ensure that you are growing and progressing with each placement. Will I get paid along with other benefits?   Our starting salary is £21,000 a year and after one year of service you will also be awarded up to £3,600 worth of shares each year that you are with us.  You will also benefit from various perks that we offer, such as discounts on insurance and in businesses across South Wales, a cycle-to-work scheme, free fruit and gym access, a salary advance when moving home and more. Why Admiral? What makes Admiral’s Graduate programme different 1. Flexibility and the chance to try our different careers - The Grad scheme at Admiral is the perfect opportunity to try out different careers. Your first placement is selected for you by our Programme Management team, after this, you can choose your subsequent placements anywhere in the company, even if they are not linked to your degree or past experiences. Within Admiral we have several start-ups, allowing you to gain insight into the running of an entire business. Take Admiral Pioneer for example, our recently launched our start-up hub, conceived with the aim is to seed, launch and scale new business initiatives in insurance and non-insurance growth areas. 2. Support and networking – You join the company with other graduates who you have regular contact with throughout your career with Admiral in the form of ongoing training, meetings and regular socials. You will also be joined by graduates from previous cohorts (including a grad buddy) meaning you have a strong network within the company from your first day. Throughout your time on the programme you are supported by our Programme Management team and your business mentor (an industry expert ready to share their expertise with you) as well as your line manager and team on each placement. 3. A personalised experience – our Programme Management team and the wider company are dedicated to providing you with the best experience possible, allowing you to shape your pathway at Admiral. This could mean supporting you in seeking out bespoke placements, created to align with your interests, skills and areas for development, or by providing one-on-one coaching and training. Self-development is actively encouraged and our Buy-A-Book scheme covers the cost of providing you with two career-focussed books each month. There are also plenty of opportunities to get involved with projects outside of your placements, and we operate several Diversity working groups dedicated to areas such as Age, BAME, LGBTQ+, Disability and Social Mobility which you can get involved with as well as frequent opportunities for charity work and side-projects. How do to apply? Take a look here: How to secure a place on our Graduate Programme                        

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Emily  Bonney

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Emily Bonney

Emily  Bonney

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Emily Bonney

Veygo careers: Simon's story

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Admiral Pioneer

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Blog

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20/08/2020

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Prior to working at Veygo Simon worked at a mobile network called Giffgaff, based in West London.  His primary role was running the handset financing operation and he was also responsible for FCA governance and was involved in new financial services products such as open banking. Simon also had experience consulting various companies around new business ideas, and worked for lenders and insurers in various roles (starting in sales!!) over the past 20 years.  What is your role within Veygo? I am currently Principal Product Manager for Veygo with responsibility for the Veygo Rentals product. This requires management of the product, setting the longer term strategic vision and roadmap, and dealing with issues as they arise. How did you get into your role and how does it differ from anything you’ve done before? I was working in London and had been for over 5 years but I was looking to return to Cardiff. I was very clear about the role, and more importantly the type of company that I wanted to join. I wanted that start-up feel, where experimentation was encouraged and that you would be part of something that was pushing the way in which a product or service developed. I saw the job advert on LinkedIn and was immediately taken with the vision of what Veygo was and where it wanted to go. It is very different from the more corporate roles that I have previously done, which for me is a good thing. What is your favourite thing about working in Veygo? It sounds cliché but the people I work with are the favourite part of my role, I work with talented, intelligent people that push and challenge and are excited to be building a product that is different and is well-liked by our customers.  What would your advice be for anyone thinking of joining Veygo? If you can talk to prospective managers before any formal interviews, do it - I helps you get a really clear idea of the culture of the business. There is no one size fits all here!! 

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Jessica Sutton

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Jessica Sutton

Jessica Sutton

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Jessica Sutton

Day in the life of our International Pricing Director.

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MBA

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Blog

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12/08/2020

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Peter Marissen is our International Pricing Director. He lives with his wife and 2 children in Cardiff, where his guitar collection is growing. Peter tells us more about what his average day at work involves... "Usually, my day doesn’t start off well. It’s 6am, I’m fast asleep, and a little person jumps onto the bed.Emily: Papa, I can’t sleep anymore. Me: Try. Just close your eyes. Emily: I can’t. Can I have the iPad? Me: It’s a school day. We don’t do iPads on school days. Emily: Your phone then? Me: No Emily: Mama’s phone? Me: Sleep. Please sleep.I’m not a morning person, but Emily is 6 and Harry is 3, so there is no more sleep until I leave just before 8am to do the school run. What should be a 10-minute drive takes about 30 minutes in start-stop traffic. Having the “B-I-N-G-O the dog” song on repeat in the background doesn’t make the trip feel any shorter. At drop-off I try to keep calm amongst many screaming kids until the school doors open, then I re-join the traffic jam, and with luck, I’ll make it to the office for around 9.I usually have a small bite to eat while I start up my computer. Something tasteless but virtuous, now that I’ve had my health check. They insisted on a lengthy discussion about my diet and guess what, it turns out that a bacon roll every morning may not be a great idea. So, I have cut back to once a week (ish), and on most days I end up stirring oats into my organic yoghurt. Lovely.I joined Admiral in February 1999, in the Pricing department, on the assumption that it would be a useful experience for a couple of years. I know I’m not the only one where this got out of hand a bit. At the time, the Pricing team consisted of only 5 people, which was fine as it was motor only, phone only and UK only. When, 10 years later, we looked at launching in Spain, I helped set up their Pricing and stayed involved as Balumba grew over the years. The same happened when the other non-UK operations launched, and at one point we decided that an International Pricing team could help with quality control of rate changes, communicating new Pricing ideas across the group, and training.In International Pricing we spend most of our time working with the various Pricing Teams in the group. There are always several pricing changes from our different operations that the team and I are looking at. Some are simple and require no more than a quick email, others can be time-consuming and need a fair bit of work. Communication at a distance can sometimes be a challenge, but having “Hangouts” is a great help, especially now that we are moving more towards group-wide projects and changes.The team is divided into three sub-departments: Analytics, Cross-product, and the Nursery. Analytics and Cross-product are important and growing areas that take a lot of my time. Analytics is producing some good results as we do a lot of work with the various operations and use our Data Scientists to produce models for them and at the same time each country is developing their own analytics capabilities as well.In terms of people, the nursery makes up the biggest proportion of the team. I shouldn’t say nursery, it has recently been renamed, by majority vote, into something that no-one can remember (International Analyst Development Programme, I think). The name hasn’t really taken off, despite the “No More Nursery” jar, which requires payment of 20p for every mention of the word nursery. I am a regular contributor. Anyway, in the nursery IADP, we recruit math-graduates from universities close to our non-UK operations, who spend a year or so in the team learning how to do Pricing, and then go back to hit the ground running. It makes for quite an international team and I enjoy that aspect of it.When I get home the kids are usually in the bath or getting ready for bed. Bedtime is always fun, although also chaotic, for which I invariable get the blame, perhaps with some justification.Evenings are short. There’s time for dinner, emails, and there’s always the temptation to do a few other things. But I don’t, because I know what’s going to happen at 6am tomorrow morning…"

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Connie  Hogg

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Connie Hogg

Connie  Hogg

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Connie Hogg

Admirals past, present and future - CEO Emeritus Henry Engelhardt

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MBA

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Blog

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10/08/2020

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Admiral was launched on January 2, 1993, co-founded by two MBAs: CEO emeritus Henry Engelhardt and current Group CEO David Stevens. We asked founder, Henry Engelhardt, how he sees Admiral – both now and in the future…  “Admiral is an MBA success story. David and I met whilst completing our MBAs at INSEAD in 1988. We went our separate ways for a bit and then got together, in the middle of 1991, to create and run Admiral.  Today we primarily sell car insurance to private individuals - we’re market leaders in the UK but also have operations in Spain, Italy, France, and the USA - with a bit of home insurance and loans thrown in for good measure. We were the first to launch price comparison of car insurance in the UK, and now also have price comparison operations in Spain, France, India, Mexico, and the USA.But that is the past and the present, what about the future? What are we going to do next? And the answer to that is: I honestly don’t know! I don’t know what this company will look like in another 15 years’ time. I know it will be different, but I don’t know how. It isn’t far-fetched to think that someone reading this might be the catalyst for defining the Admiral of 2035. Since we launched all our growth has been organic. Historically, we have not been known for doing acquisitions, but that could change going forward. We are one of only two firms in the FTSE 100 to have gone 10 consecutive years, from 2004 to 2014, right through the heart of the previous crisis, making record profits every year. We floated on September 23, 2004, at £2.75 a share. We’ve paid over £3 billion in dividends and the shares are now worth £23 each. Our market cap is right around £7 billion, all from that humble start on January 2, 1993.  Henry Engelhardt But Admiral is changing - we recently announced that David will soon step down as CEO and turn the job over to Milena Mondini, an INSEAD alumna herself. It will be the first time in Admiral’s history when it is not led by someone who was there on day 1. It will also make us one of just two companies in the FTSE 100 with both a female chair and female CEO.So why did I, and now David, choose to retire? When Admiral came into being in the early 1990s, the large and established insurance companies of the day were being led by 50-60 somethings. David and I were in our 30s. We did things differently. We were happy to pick up on new technology, new ways of management, and take risks. It came naturally. And, very simply, we destroyed those old, established insurance companies of the day.  A few years ago, we realized that Admiral was now the large and established insurer of the day.  And we were being led by 50-almost 60 somethings! We were soon to be part of the problem, not the solution. It was time to begin the transition to the next generation. So, we did.For those of you who see Admiral as in insurance company, I say: that’s what we mostly do now. But the future? Who knows? Since our inception, we have been an innovator and disruptor, developing new products like Multi-Car and Car Sharing that reflect the changing nature and needs of our customers. But, customer needs are fast-changing, and alongside rapid advances in technology, this means we need to move fast to remain relevant. For a company without a mission statement here’s our mission statement: Satisfy customers, make money, have fun. Doesn’t say anything about insurance, does it?” 

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Admiral was launched on January 2, 1993, co-founded by two MBAs: CEO emeritus Henry Engelhardt and current Group CEO David Stevens. We asked founder, Henry Engelhardt, how he sees Admiral – both now and in the future…

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Kat Gil Mast

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Kat Gil Mast

Kat Gil Mast

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Kat Gil Mast

What you need to know about the Admiral Cycle to Work scheme

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General

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Blog

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05/08/2020

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Cycling is a great way to travel to and from work. It's quick, easy, convenient, great for the environment and great for you! Our Cycle to Work scheme is a tax-efficient employee benefit allowing our employees to make healthier and more environmentally friendly lifestyle choices.Since the start of the lockdown we have seen a huge surge of orders to our Cycle to Work scheme! Bike stores and online businesses were amongst only a handful of businesses advised to stay open so the public could avoid public transport for the daily commute. At the same time, outdoor exercise was encouraged and therefore the idea of getting on a bike became increasingly appealing.Our scheme allows employees to purchase a bike without a huge upfront payment and spread the cost over manageable payments. Through our provider we can also offer a discount from the retail price of most bicycles and safety equipment with an 18 month warranty.Gareth Jones cycles daily from Barry Island to our office in the centre of Cardiff and said: "The Cycle to Work scheme has enabled me to get a very good bike at a huge discount and this has now opened up a new sport for me. I try and cycle every Sunday with a group either from work or with a group outside work."With a young family your time is limited for your own activities and hobbies, so keeping fit can sometimes take a back seat. By cycling to work you are keeping fit in a time you would have either been sitting in a car or on a train. Not only has my fitness improved but I also have a bit more in my wallet each month. Gareth Jones "Since cycling to work I am lot more conscious of what I eat and drink whilst in work as I know I will have to cycle home so I am a lot healthier but, as my colleagues might tell you, I still enjoy a biscuit or two." Steve Wright also uses the Cycle to Work scheme and cycles a number of routes ranging from eight miles to 12 miles from his home in Caerphilly to our office in Cardiff.Steve said: "I decided to take up the Cycle to Work scheme for a number of reasons. These were to get fit, finding time to keep fit with two young children is pretty hard and of course, to save money."Using the train twice a week was costing me in excess of £70 a month. Using the Cycle to Work scheme to obtain a bicycle to use was a massive benefit to allow me to have a reliable and affordable bike without the outlay at the start."Schemes like this are one of the reasons why our employees love working here.               

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Samantha Bevan

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Samantha Bevan

Samantha Bevan

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Samantha Bevan