Mollie Burdge on young people in financial services and her goal to be an adviser – MAF174

My guest on the show this week is Mollie Burdge. People say financial services isn’t a career young people aspire to. Mollie doesn’t agree.

We talk about how she became an apprentice at financial adviser firm Future Proof and about her experiences along the way to achieving her goal of becoming a financial adviser.

Welcome to episode 174 of the Marketing and Finance Podcast.

Mollie Burdge on young people in financial services and her goal to be an adviser - MAF174

What you’ll hear about in this episode

  • Why Mollie joined a financial services company
  • How the apprenticeship programme works
  • Why Mollie decided to become a financial adviser
  • The qualifications Mollie studied for
  • The customer case she’s most proud of working on
  • Mollie’s advice for young people considering financial services jobs

Who is Mollie Burdge?

After completing her A-levels at Reigate College, Mollie didn’t think university was for her. Instead, she went straight into Future Proof as an apprentice in customer services.

Future Proof provide advice about protection products to customers across the UK. They also operate a referral service for advisers who don’t specialise in protection. Although small, the company is growing steadily, and have won many of industry awards.

They distinguish themselves by giving customers clear advice, rather than selling them the wrong product. They want customers to be confident that they’ve chosen the best policy for them.

Summary of our chat

Mollie chose to complete an apprenticeship in customer services and was able to secure an apprenticeship at Future Proof. 18 months in the role taught her how to build customer rapport and the importance of teamwork and professionalism. While learning about the industry, she’s also grown her skills, confidence and experience.

Mollie explains that an apprenticeship is the same as a normal job, where you learn as you go. Her first task was supporting customers with policy and payment queries whilst studying as well. She had to complete 12 months of coursework, providing examples from her daily work, to gain a Level Three qualification.

Working in customer services gave Mollie a good understanding of the company’s products, although not how they applied to customers. She felt that becoming a financial adviser would offer more challenges, variety and the opportunity to progress. She particularly enjoys carrying out research to support customers with challenging medical histories to find them the best policy.

Mollie has studied for an NVQ Level 3 in customer services. For her financial adviser role, she completed the RO1 (Regulations and Ethics within the UK and European financial services market). She followed this with RO5, which focuses exclusively on protection. She will complete further training on an ongoing basis to develop her knowledge.

Mollie’s most memorable case was a lady who was struggling to find cover after cancer treatment. She found a company willing to insure the customer, but they changed their minds at the last minute. Mollie’s employer, Future Proof, helped her to challenge the unfair decision and have it overturned.

Mollie’s advice for young people considering financial services: Do your research and find a reputable firm. There’s no point in learning from a company that doesn’t do things properly and picking up bad habits. Be tenacious and open to any job which offers progression. Learn as much as you can and gain experience.

Mollie is a passionate advocate for young people in financial services.

Where Mollie will be in 5 years

She wants to gain more experience and grow in confidence. Future Proof is growing, so she hopes to be offered more opportunities. She’d also like to be recognised by her peers and clients as a trusted expert in her field. One of the most important things for the industry is to get the word out about protection insurance, so she wants to promote that.

The big take away from our chat

Never say no to the opportunity to learn and gain more experience. It doesn’t matter if it’s just attending a conference or completing extra training – it will be helpful in the long term.

A marketing campaign or product that grabbed Mollie’s attention

The company UnderwriteMe offers a brilliant platform, and they’re also working to bring companies together, which is great. It makes Mollie’s work quicker, and helps her to set clients’ expectations. It reduces the need to pre-sell underwriting as more insurance come on board.

Links and contact details

If you enjoyed – Mollie Burdge on young people in financial services and her goal to be an adviser – please leave a comment or a review on iTunes.

And if you know anyone who would enjoy the show – please share it with them. You can use the buttons below to share on social media.

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Andrew Wibberley on going back to big corporate and lessons from self-employment – MAF171

My guest on the show this week is Andrew Wibberley, back on the Marketing and Finance Podcast for the second time.

Like me, Andrew decided to leave big corporate and set up his own business. After several successful years he’s decided to accept a role which takes him back into a corporate environment. We reflect upon the lessons Andrew learned from launching his own business, and how he can take those lessons into his new job.

Welcome to episode 171 of the Marketing and Finance Podcast.

Andrew Wibberley on going back to big corporate and lessons from self-employment - MAF171

What you’ll hear about in this episode

  • Why Andrew set up his own business
  • The ups and downs of self-employment
  • The importance of learning from mistakes
  • The marketing challenges Andrew faced
  • How being self-employed allows you to stretch yourself
  • Taking self-employment lessons back into big corporate

Who is Andrew Wibberley?

Andrew’s background is in life assurance underwriting, starting when he was 21. He’s worked for several reinsurers. He set up his own company three years ago. He’s is about to go back into “big corporate’”

Andrew says we found self-employment challenging because of the blurring between his personal and his professional lives. He enjoyed being able to spend more time with his children. He’s keen to make protection insurance easy and simple, and to make underwriting fairer and more accessible for people who have interesting lives.

Summary of our chat

Andrew was Head of Underwriting at his former job, with a big team to manage. But he found it hard to get things done quickly in a large company. He also wasn’t keen to change roles, which employees in his company had to do every few years. So took a leap into the unknown to try something new and started his own business.

When he became self-employed, Andrew found he enjoyed some aspects and others he didn’t. He found some were unexpected. He enjoyed the sense of freedom and liberation. But it was three months before he got his first client. Then the work started to snowball.

Andrew says he followed advice from colleagues who’d also made the leap. They recommended always teeing up a new piece of work  before finishing the current one. The reality of self-employment is that, while people offer suggestions, you have to make the mistakes yourself. The key is not to make them more than once. And you need to move on quickly.

It was a struggle for Andrew to see the difference between marketing and sales, and to realise it’s not straightforward to identify what brings in clients. Blogging, marketing and social media takes time. When life gets busy, it’s easy for these to fall by the wayside.

Being self-employed, Andrew found he could speak frankly to his clients about projects. He realised that people came to him not only for his expertise, but for his flexibility and the different skills he had to solve their problems. He says it’s been a lot of fun.

A new employer has offered Andrew a role which was an opportunity too good to turn down. He realised he wanted to make many changes that were too hard to bring about from the outside. But as an employee he could find ways of improving the insurance industry.

A marketing campaign or product that grabbed Andrew’s attention

Andrew is a fan of the videos produced by Cura Financial Services (The Special Risks Bureau). They feature Marketing Director, Kathryn, on her sofa with a coffee. She talks about how her business helps people who struggle to find insurance. Andrew feels that the more the industry does to share real-life stories, the better.

Andrew’s book recommendation

Andrew said he’s thinking about how he can use his train time, so he’s reading mindfulness books to help make his commute as calming as possible. He’s been reading Ruby Wax’s ‘A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled’, which he’s really enjoyed.

Links and contact details

If you enjoyed – Andrew Wibberley on going back to big corporate and lessons from self-employment – please leave a comment or a review on iTunes.

And if you know anyone who would enjoy the show – please share it with them. You can use the buttons below to share on social media.

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Debbie Bolton on underwriting, simpler protection and trust – MAF158m


This week we dive back into the world of financial services and protection. My guest is Debbie Bolton.

We talk about underwriting, protection product development and whether products and processes are getting simpler for customers.

Welcome to episode 158 of the Marketing and Finance Podcast.

Debbie Bolton on underwriting, simpler protection and trust - MAF158

What you’ll hear about in this episode

  • A simple definition of underwriting anyone can understand
  • The role of an underwriting development team in an insurance company
  • How AIG Life is speeding up the application process for protection products
  • Why the industry is trying to simplify insurance products
  • How AIG Life works with financial advisers
  • Why trust is a three-way process

Who is Debbie Bolton?

Debbie works for AIG Life. She’s responsible for claims and underwriting strategy. She’s been in the insurance industry for 20 years. 17 in underwriting. The role was completely different when she started, for example, paper-based with stacks of case files.

Starting off in smaller companies, Debbie progressed in her career, moving to Ageas (as AIG was then) as manager for the underwriting development team. The company represented innovation, technology and automation. It was an exciting place. And she says it still does. Debbie says the work is fast-paced, and she loves her job.

Summary of our chat

Underwriting is the combination of science and maths to work out a price for a customer. It looks at an individual’s health, their hobbies, occupational risks and where they travel. Healthy office-workers will pay a lower price than unhealthy people in dangerous jobs.  But the aim is to charge as little as they can so everyone benefits.

Debbie’s team differs from typical underwriters. They set the philosophy of the company.  They’re involved in all AIG Life’s developments. From products to technology. They manage the rules engine, to incrementally and continuously improve the processes for assessing, simplifying and pricing risk.

AIG Life is aiming its “Instant” product at younger, healthier customers who want to take out protection at speed. The application process has no interruptions. So after completing a form, a person knows straight away whether or not they’ve got cover. AIG Life came up with a shorter list of questions people can complete quickly. It offers a favourable price.

Debbie says companies are simplifying products and the processes. She explains that AIG Life customers want instant results. They want their insurance policy as quickly as possible. The shorter quiz has specific questions for identifying risks that would increase premiums. It often cuts out the need for medical evidence.

The response to the “Instant” product has been overwhelmingly positive from financial advisers. AIG Life has a team of underwriters who speak to advisers every day. Their feedback gives the strategy team a better understanding of the issues they face and helps product development.

There needs to be trust between the customers, the advisers and the underwriters in insurance companies. Being available to the advisers builds trust with them, particularly those writing complex cases, so they know they’re getting the best rates. AIG Life want the public to have confidence in their automated service, and to trust the information they offer.

The one thing she’d like listeners to take away

Underwriters and claims assessors are the technicians of the whole case. They decide if a case can be underwritten or a claim paid. As a rule, underwriters start from yes; they want to get a case on the books or pay a claim, as quickly as possible. They don’t want to say no to people.

A marketing campaign or product Debbie loves

Debbie’s recently been impressed with parcel delivery. Wanting to send something to New Zealand at Christmas, she researched a quick and simple solution to get it there in time. She found a company online which gave her a competitive quote, collected her parcel and shipped it six hours after she started looking.

Links and contact details

If you enjoyed – Debbie Bolton on underwriting, simpler protection and trust – please leave a comment or a review on iTunes.

And if you know anyone who would enjoy the show – please share it with them. You can use the buttons below to share on social media.

Don’t miss an episode of the MAF Podcast – subscribe now.

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