Saloni Arya

Account Handler

Saloni works in the Birmingham office of global broking firm Gallagher. She joined their graduate intake in summer 2021 and is now working as a Placing Broker.

How did you get into insurance?

It was a slightly sideways journey into insurance. During my degree, I had a placement with an engineering firm in their sales team – while engineering was not for me, I did discover that I loved working with people, networking and problem solving, all of which are core parts of insurance broking. I applied to the Gallagher graduate programme and have done a number of different rotations in areas like account handling, sales and broking.

What was so fascinating about the specialty insurance?

It has something for everyone and there is so much to learn every day. It can be very technical, though Gallagher offered guided support in allowing me to get involved in highly specialised areas. Insurance touches every part of the economy so whatever you might be interested in, insurance helps to make it happen. Gallagher is uniquely positioned in areas like cyber insurance, which has rapidly grown over the years. So as the world changes, so does specialty insurance.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Having worked in different areas within Gallagher, I asked to stay in broking. I am a placing broker which means that I present the risks to the underwriters. I explain the issues that our clients face, answer any questions they have about the risks, and then work to get the best deal for the client.

We work a lot with large businesses like manufacturers, contractors and engineering firms. Sometimes they are existing clients for whom we are renewing the insurance, other times they can be new clients that we are working with for the first time. I love making the connections, and feel that the other areas I worked in helped to prepare me for this.

I am also currently working on my Level 4 Diploma in Insurance from the Chartered Insurance Institute alongside my job, it’s great that I get to study whilst gaining hands-on experience in the industry.

I also love the social element of the industry. We have a Young Professionals Club which helps us to build our network, and everyone is very welcoming. There is a real community spirit between everyone involved.

Do you have any advice for anyone looking at graduate schemes?

The application process can seem quite complicated but if you break it down into bite sized chunks it is a lot easier. It may sound obvious but do read the job description and research the company. Just understanding whether the company is a broker – representing the customer who wants to buy insurance – or the insurer who sells the policy, is a good start to finding out what you want to do.

Also make sure you do spotlight your extra-curricular activities as that will act as a talking point and will help you stand out. And if you are going to talk about skills or experiences, make sure you can talk about real life examples. Finally, smile and enjoy it – the first interview can be scary, but each one serves as a useful learning curve.

Fun fact about you

I am an orange belt in jiu jitsu which is the fourth level! The first time I ever saw it taking place I knew I wanted to do it, and who doesn’t love a bit of self-defense!