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Meeting our ex-Army employee - Matthew

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09/04/2021

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We spoke to Matthew, who prior to joining us at Admiral, was in the Army for over eighteen years, serving in the 3rd Battalion of the Parachute Regiment. As you may know, Admiral signed the Armed Forces Covenant in 2019. We are committed to supporting reservists, ex-armed forces personnel and their families, both inside and outside of the workplace. Before coming to work at Admiral, Matthew was in the Army for over eighteen years. We caught up with him to hear more about his transition out of the Army and into Admiral… Could you tell us a bit more about your experiences in the army? I joined the Army at 15, right after I took my GCSEs. I thought I was the hardest kid in the world when I joined, but I found out I wasn’t! Honestly, I was a bit of a tear-away, and joining the Army did me a world of good. I had a really varied experience. I started out in the Coldstream Guards – wearing a red jacket and a furry hat outside Buckingham Palace, living in Westminster and then Chelsea barracks. One year, instead of taking part in the Trooping of the Colour, I decided to try out for P-Company. I was successful, got my wings, and joined 3 Para (3rd Battalion, Parachute Company). I saw a lot of conflict – Northern Ireland, the First Gulf War, Bosnia and Serbia, the Second Gulf War, Afghanistan. I had some good days, and some bad days; in the army your bad days are really bad. How did you find the transition out of the army? Transitioning was hard, but eventually I made the choice to leave and be with my family. Right before lockdown, I was a guest speaker at my children’s school, and one of the children asked me what the hardest thing about being in the Army was. I told them that physically it was P-Company selection, but that mentally the hardest thing was leaving. When I drove out of the camp for the last time, and realised it was all over, I pulled my car to the side of the road and cried my eyes out. I didn’t want to leave. The Army is more than a job, it becomes a massive part of your life. I was so young when I joined that there were things I had never had to do for myself before, like going to the doctors and getting a bus. Civvy street can be really overwhelming. After eighteen years, I was very institutionalized, and to an extent I probably will be for the rest of my life. The Army is a completely different world, and the transition out takes a lot of adjustment. Whilst I was in the Army, there were times where I thought I would prefer an office job, mainly to have a rest from running up and down mountains with my kit on. In reality, the transition to an office job was mind-numbing, and I wished I was back on those mountains. It took time, but I adjusted. That’s what they teach you in the Army - improvise, adapt and overcome, and that’s what I did. How did you come to work at Admiral? It took me a while to end up at Admiral. Straight after I left the Army, I worked in Close Protection and Counter Terrorism, which is a natural step for a lot of ex-servicemen. After a while, life events took over and I had to step away. I ended up in Technical Support for a while, and if I’m really honest, it wasn’t the job for me. I didn’t mind the job so much, but the place I worked was difficult. I’m based Swansea way, so I ran into lots of people who worked at Admiral, and I heard nothing but good things. When I first joined, I was shocked at how different it was to my old company. On my first day of training, when we were talking about car parking arrangements, I asked my manager a question about bringing a motorcycle to work. She told me that she didn’t know the answer, but that she’d find out. Within ten minutes, she got back to me with the information I needed. I remember being shocked. At the last place I’d worked I would ask a relevant question and most of the time, I’d never hear back. The level of communication at Admiral is similar to the Army, and it was really refreshing. How have you found working at Admiral? Honestly, it is rare to work for a company that supports you like Admiral does. I know that because Admiral isn’t the first company I have worked for since leaving the Army. I struggle with PTSD, but my Team Managers have always got behind me and supported me, even when I’m having a bad day. It’s quite easy for me to slip into the squaddie mentality of ‘I’m fine’, but I’ve worked a lot with People Services (HR) and they have given me the support that I need. It’s the first time since I’ve got out of the Army that I know I’m working for a company that supports me as much as they can and understands my situation. Civvy street can be really hard, and that’s why it is so important to know that you’re in a place where you will be looked after no matter what. That is what Admiral is for me. What are you up to at the moment? I currently work as a Customer Loyalty Representative. My role includes development, so I get to do some coaching within my team and the department which I really enjoy. I also spend time monitoring other peoples’ roles and improving our customer service. There is a lot of opportunity for progression at Admiral, and I am excited to be moving onwards and upwards, building another career for myself. What transferable skills do you feel the Army has given you? I think the biggest one is communication. In the Army, you’re constantly interacting with people you don’t know, so you really develop the skill of confident communication, which has definitely come in handy in my current role. Flexibility is another one. In the Army, there is a saying that you have Plan A and Plan B, but it’ll be Plan C that comes into play. And it’s true – there have been times when I have planned and trained for months, only for something to not happen. Similarly, having a sense of humour, because it keeps you grounded and helps you face any situation. In my current role, if things don’t go exactly to plan it doesn’t phase me, because I can keep things in perspective, find a solution, and move on. I suppose you could say it has made me more resilient. What do you enjoy most about working at Admiral? No one shouts around here and compared to other places I’ve worked that’s a real plus! Apart from that, there’s real variety in the people you speak to on the phones and I really enjoy interacting with customers. I’ve always believed that it’s worthwhile coming to work if you can help someone out, and make their life just a little bit easier, and in my current role I get to do that. One of the customers I spoke to the other day told me that I had made her day, and it’s the rewarding moments like that which make it enjoyable. That’s why I love my role and being a part of Admiral.

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Valvanuz  Guerrero-Perez

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Valvanuz Guerrero-Perez

Valvanuz  Guerrero-Perez

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Valvanuz Guerrero-Perez

Admiral: 2020

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24/03/2021

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At Admiral, we care deeply about our people. That is why we’ve done everything we can to support everyone who we interact with – customers, local community and staff, through this strange, unprecedented and difficult pandemic. Our customers are incredibly important to us at Admiral, and so we gave back £110 million to our car and van customers in recognition of them staying at home during the lockdown. Integrity is at the core of our culture and we strongly believe that this was the right thing to do.Not only that, but in April 2020, we launched the Admiral Support Fund for Covid-19, with the aim of supporting our local community. We have donated over £1.1 million to more than 300 organisations across Wales, including schools, hospitals, foodbanks, and care homes. These donations have helped to provide the funding, PPE, school equipment, food, vouchers, electricals, and other items of the utmost importance to those impacted by the pandemic. We accepted nominations from our employees to support local communities and causes close to their hearts and have received incredible feedback about the impact of the fund. Our staff wellbeing has always been at the heart of what we do – and our values as an organisation have long been centred around the idea that “people who like what they do, do it better”. In fact, in January 2021, we were recognised as a Centre of Excellence in Wellbeing by the Great Place to Work Institute. As lockdown began, we concentrated all our efforts on getting as many people as possible working from home. Next we immediately got to work to try and bring the sense of fun and belonging that our office is famous for into our home-working set ups. We’re proud to say that we achieved a lot. We started to send out themed emails to support staff, share positive news, say thank you and of course have a bit of fun. Our Ministry of Fun returned virtually, hosting some incredible events. We launched ‘Team Time’, an initiative that provides a hub of activities for teams to do, encouraging them to spend time together. The postponed 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25-year celebrations from 2020 were held virtually with each employee celebrating receiving a gift, time off work and an interactive virtual event which was attended by Senior Managers in the case of 15, 20 and 25-year celebrations. We held a virtual Christmas party for staff and their families, as well as closing the business early on Christmas Eve to say thank you for the hard work of our employees, and their commitment to our customers. Alongside all of this, we have continued to thrive as a business. We’ve won a lot of awards: 4th Best Super Large Workplace in the UK by the Great Place to Work Institute, 5th Best Workplace for Women in the UK by the 2020 UK’s Best Workplaces™ for Women list, 8th Best Multinational Workplace in Europe by the Great Place to Work Institute and the 14th Best Workplace in the World on the Annual 25 World’s Best Workplaces list. Admiral Financial Services reached 100,000 customers, Veygo sold their millionth policy, and Admiral Law secured their largest ever settlement at £5.25 million. And finally, we announced that the group’s share of profit before tax was £638.4 million, a 21% increase on 2019.   To achieve this in a ‘normal’ year would have been an incredible feat, but to achieve this in 2020, during the unprecedented and difficult experience of a global pandemic, is deeply humbling for our company. We are immeasurably grateful to our staff, each and every one of them, as their contributions and commitment to Admiral are the driving force of our success.To say thank you, each employee received a small gift as a token gesture for their continued hard work through the ups and downs. More than anything, we miss being able to put the kettle on and have a few treats with our teams, so we sent each employee a mug, some sweets and a thank you note to try and recreate that as best as possible. We do things differently – we always have. Ultimately, we think that’s what makes us great. If you are interested in joining us, please have a look at our roles and start your Admiral Life today. 

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Connie  Hogg

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Connie Hogg

Connie  Hogg

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Connie Hogg

What was Admiral's response to the Coronavirus?

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22/07/2020

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So, what have we done for:  Our Community We have set up the £4 million Admiral Support Fund for Covid-19, which is predominantly providing funding and support in South Wales, where we are based, to the NHS, charities, support groups and will also allow us to contribute to any insurance industry wide charitable effort. We have been active in helping several charities and groups, which we are extremely proud of. Here are just a few ways we have helped: Supported Swansea, Cardiff and Newport food-banks – diverted our fruit supply to these extremely important community organisationsSupported The Wallich with food supplies  Donated to The Play Yard which provides meals for under privileged children and familiesDonated to St Thomas Parish which distributes food / meals to vulnerable people within SA1 area, amongst other supportive initiatives£100k donated to The Community Foundation WalesFeeding NHS staff through donations to various organisations Supplying essential items to Hospitals across South Wales in the form of medical shoes, calculators, pyjamas, etc We also asked our employees to send in details of their charitable events that had been cancelled so we could support and help with fundraising for their chosen charities. Brian Martin, Head of Business Support at Admiral said: "Admiral’s support means so much for our community and we will continue to work hard to help those in need in such a difficult time." You can find out more about how we’ve been supporting our community here.  Our Employees To support our employees, all employees are being paid their full salary and no employees are being furloughed under the UK Government funded scheme and we don’t expect to benefit from any other initiatives funded by the government. Ecare, our counselling and support service for employees have also introduced a ‘Dependant Line’ for any dependants in employees’ households to offer additional support during the pandemic 24 hours a day. We also have a Workplace Support function who order a range of equipment to make life easier for employees at home whilst working. Nearly 2800 orders so far and climbing! To help our employees get the right advice, we have teamed up with HSBC who now offer 121 telephone appointments to help anyone with their financial concerns. Our Training function “Admiral Academy” have developed several webinars, online courses and playlists for all our employees that focuses on mental health, living in lock-down and working remotely. We are also building a programme for the future of ‘smart working’: how we integrate remote and office time, the use of office space, how we manage teams, the cultural implications, organisational structure and technology.    Our Customers We pledged to give back £110million to our car and van insurance customers in recognition of the fact that our customers stayed at home and drove less during the UK wide Covid-19 lock-down. A £25 refund was automatically given to all customers for each car and van covered with us on the 20th April 2020, a total of 4.4m vehicles. We gave the refund to reflect there have been fewer cars on the road during the lock-down which resulted in fewer claims. This was done to ensure as a company we didn’t benefit during the lock-down. Our intention was to return estimated savings to our customers rather than benefit from reduced driving during the lock-down. We have also waived any motoring claims excess fees for NHS or emergency service workers and supporting NHS volunteers. We guarantee cover for customers using their vehicle to transport people, deliver medical supplies and equipment, or items to people who are self-isolating. In addition, we wanted to show our support for NHS and emergency service workers by giving them a free courtesy vehicle to keep them on the road during the lock-down. We are further supporting our customers who are in financial hardship as a result of the outbreak by being flexible with customers struggling with monthly payments. Cristina Nestares, CEO of UK Insurance at Admiral said: “During this challenging period, our main priorities have been helping our customers, supporting our local community and protecting the wellbeing of our employees, which is why we have introduced these initiatives to give something back to the customers and communities we serve. "This is an unprecedented time when people across the country are driving significantly less than before the lock-down, and we expect this to lead to a fall in the number of claims we are seeing. We want to give the money we would have used to pay these claims back to our loyal customers in this difficult time. We have also already reflected this change in driving behaviour in our pricing for customers and will continue to do so."

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Samantha Bevan

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Samantha Bevan

Samantha Bevan

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Samantha Bevan

Meeting our Army Reserve employees - Daryl

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16/01/2020

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Daryl chats to us about juggling his career and being in the Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers Militia We were extremely proud to publicise our promise of support to all those who serve, by signing the Army Covenant back in July last year. We recognise that our Army Reservists are a crucial part of the Defence family, and by implementing protective and flexible workplace policies, we’re able to empower our employees to make a real difference to their personal and professional development.We caught up with Daryl to hear his story…What is your Admiral background?‘’I’ve worked for Admiral for ten and a half years; I began in Claims taking customer calls and joined Claims Audit four years ago and have been there ever since.’’Why did you join the Army Reservists and what Regiment are you part of?“Joining the Army had always been at the back of my mind and it came to a moment in time where it was now or never. My fitness levels weren’t great, so I focused on my training, lost a load of weight and signed up!I’d joined for a little extra challenge in my life, to do something different and to push myself out of my comfort zone. The opportunity presented itself and I grabbed it.I didn’t want to leave Admiral and go into the Army full time but I was craving a new challenge. It’s great that I’m able to enjoy my job here, whilst thriving in a new environment as an Army Reservist.I’m in the Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers Militia and have been for the past year now.”How are you finding balancing your two roles as well as family life?“A Royal Engineer is one of the most diverse roles offered in the Army; it’s not just soldiering, but also Combat Engineering – essentially, you have to have a broad spectrum of skills, from front-line Soldier to construction and logistics. The training has been intense; a lot of it you do at the start when joining, but as there is so much, the training carries on as your career progresses.The Claims department has been really good with flexible working; I’m able to finish work earlier at times to get to the Regiment and development courses on time – my managers have been incredibly supportive and have given me all the time I’ve needed.I needed five weeks off this year for training which was all signed off by the Admiral management team. The training then changed due to unforeseen circumstances, but work was so flexible, I took a mixture of paid holiday and unpaid leave for this (I’m still paid by the Army during such training).The flexible working at Admiral is important to me; I know how lucky I am to get this support from my employer.  I’m doing a good job of balancing my job at Admiral, the Reserves and my family life.”Do you find that your Army career has complimented your role here at Admiral?“The training has been fantastic in the Army, it teaches you about responsibility, drive, how to take control of situations, as well as confidence building.The training opportunities are endless, from leadership courses to learning how to work as a team – the training is second to none and continuous.These are all transferable skills that I bring to my role here at Admiral, so ultimately, my Reservist career benefits both parties!”

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Laura  Pengilly

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Laura Pengilly

Laura  Pengilly

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Laura Pengilly

Meeting our Army Reserve employee - Chris

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17/12/2019

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We caught up with Chris, who began his Admiral career almost nine years ago, after spending six years as a Lance Corporal, having served two tours in Iraq We were extremely proud to publicise our promise of support to all those who serve, by signing the Army Covenant back in July this year. We recognise that our Army Reservists are a crucial part of the Defence family, and by implementing protective and flexible workplace policies, we’re able to empower our employees to make a real difference to their personal and professional development.We caught up with Chris to hear his story…Can you tell us a bit about your Army career and career at Admiral?‘I left school with no GCSE’s and decided the Army was the best option for me. I passed my basic training and chose to become a driver by trade and completed all possible licences, including; 17.55-ft, 55-ton, motorbike, off-road, etc, all by the time I hit 17.When I reached my 18th birthday, I volunteered to be deployed to Iraq and that’s when I picked up my Lance Corporal title.In the space of two years, I’d spent a year in Iraq on two separate deployments and I’d experienced a lot, including seeing roadside bombs and losing three friends. After two tours, I was ready for something else and thought to myself, what can I do now?I’m so grateful to Admiral for taking me on during a recession, as I was struggling to find a job for a while. The role was a call centre position, so very different from my background, but I saw it as a great opportunity and a foot in the door. It was a massive change for me, going from what I’d experienced in the Army, to an office-based job, and not forgetting to mention, a pay cut too. After six months I adapted well, got used to the different environment and started to enjoy it.I began in Motor Claims and have since explored various areas of the business, including becoming Admiral’s very own chauffer (which sadly isn’t a position anymore!), before ending up where I am today, which is on the Superior Car team. That’s part of the beauty of Admiral, there are so many internal opportunities to move about the business and broaden your horizons.The Chauffer role sounds interesting, how did that come about?In Admiral, there are many opportunities to develop and experience other areas of the business, so when a job came up for an internal chauffeur, I applied and was successful. I had already completed relevant qualifications for this role whilst in the Army, so it felt like the perfect opportunity for me! Importantly, how was the transition from a career in the Army to a career at Admiral?After being out of the Army for a while, I re-joined as a reservist; I was working full-time at Admiral and part-time in the Reserves. This was a great, but gruelling two years.Admiral supported me during this time and paid me during my training days, as well as the required time away.After my time in the regular Army and Reserves, I adjusted to life at Admiral fine. The decompression training provided by the Army helps bring you back to normality, but also, I love working at Admiral; the simple fact that you don’t have to wear a uniform, or shave; it’s a different world. Coming to Admiral was easy for me, you’re able to leave work on time, and do whatever you want after work, and during the weekends.Whilst I enjoyed my time in the Army, which taught me so much, I now appreciate working in a relaxed environment – and knowing exactly what my day will entail.It’s all the little things about working here that made it such an easy transition for me.What are you doing now and are you enjoying it?I’m now a part of Claims’ Superior Car team – managing a small team that I helped set up from scratch. It involves helping customers who’ve unfortunately been involved in an accident in a “supercar” (Ferrari McLaren , Rolls Royce, etc.). My skills and experiences developed during my Army career, along with my passion for cars and driving, has allowed me to flourish in this role.I feel very lucky that Admiral took that chance on me nine years ago, I’m able to work with my passion and I really do enjoy coming to work every day – how many people can say that?

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Laura  Pengilly

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Laura Pengilly

Laura  Pengilly

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Laura Pengilly

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