Ashima Jain

Underwriting Assistant

Ashima works in Lancashire’s London office – a long way from her first role in insurance in India.

How did you get into insurance?

I started my career in India where insurance offerings are yet at a nascent stage. I was broking direct risks but had always been interested in reinsurance (that is where insurance companies protect their own risks by buying insurance) and in the most complex specialty risks that are the heart of the London insurance market. But I was told that I had to build my technical expertise and experience, so I came to London to do a second Masters degree in Insurance and Risk Management at Bayes Business School.

What was so fascinating about the London Insurance Market?

It is an undiscovered world – it is different from any other part of financial services. It does extraordinary things, like insurance for FIFA football players and looking at how the world is changing and the risks that it poses – like climate change & cyber risk. It offers amazing options and opportunities to young people looking for an exciting career that has real purpose.

It’s a long way from home – how are you finding the change?

Well, being in a different country can be challenging, however, having a can-do-attitude has got me a long way. Working in the London market has been a great learning curve that provides a solid base and understanding of the global insurance markets. There may be moments when one might feel lost or like an outsider, but I was fortunate enough to come across my mentor, teachers and senior leaders who are willing to give you a chance, and their guidance is an unparalleled advantage in dealing with this change.

The joy of this market is that you get to know and work with a lot of people not just in your business, but also the brokers who talk to the businesses that face the risks and then bring those into the market, and experts like lawyers and the claims professionals who step in when accidents happen. There is a real sense of community that is unique.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

First of all, it is the size of the risks that we help solve. The sheer magnitude and the size of the numbers in itself is very intriguing. Then there is the fact that one doesn’t just look at property in the sense of buildings, but it might be insuring a whole portfolio of rare collectible cars. And it goes beyond that. It is technical but at the same time a relationship driven business, thus being able to balance out both these facets is an interesting job.

If you have an interest in something specific, the industry has loads to offer. It might be AI, or climate change, or tech, or it might be analytics. The range of things you can do is huge.

Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to join the London Market?

It looks very complicated but don’t be put off by that. I work for a syndicate at Lloyd’s and that is hard to explain. But if you think about it as a marketplace where you can come for a lot of different products then it starts to make sense. I have two Masters’ degrees, but I don’t think the key skills you need are necessarily technical but are around determination, hard work and perseverance. If your looking for a role in the insurance industry, keep trying, you will definitely find something interesting.

It is also a very social place. You walk down the street and bump into people you know, there are a lot of social activities and that means you can have a great job and a good social life.

Once you have a job, dive in with confidence. Go and speak up and ask to get involved, ask lots of questions so you can improve and learn. It’s also worth studying for your CII examinations as that gives you an understanding of how the insurance and reinsurance market works and helps you work more effectively with your team.