Roberta has an MA in Industrial Engineering and Management from the University of Naples Federico II. After several internships in Italy, she moved to the UK and entered the insurance industry, eventually securing a role on the global associate programme at Zurich Risk Engineering UK.
I moved to London to improve my English and have work experience abroad. The first job I found was for a Lloyd`s Insurance broker. I was responsible for managing the directors and officer liability portfolio in the Italian market. That’s how I bumped into the insurance world!
Although my job was quite interesting, I wanted to use my degree and do a more technical job. At the time Zurich Risk Engineering UK was looking for graduates to join the global associate programme. Having a Masters degree in engineering and being fluent in three languages definitely helped me to get the job.
The global associate programme is an international training programme and comprised intensive classroom training to develop an understanding of the insurance business, which lasted nine weeks and was based in Zurich, Switzerland.
I also had risk engineering training in London for ten weeks, which included property, health and safety, engineering and fleet management practices.
There was a further six weeks' training in underwriting and liability coverage of energy businesses. I then went to Chicago for ten weeks for risk engineering training focusing on health protection reports, fire protection inspection and testing.
After the international rotation in the US I came back to the UK and specialised in the property sector, doing assessments for multinational and domestic companies.
My degree subject was quite relevant, although the training at Zurich has been quite extensive, but my background helped me to better understand the various risks.
The good thing about being a risk engineer is that every day is different! In general, three days a week we are outside doing risk assessments. Every customer is different, therefore there is always something new to learn and new people to meet. When we are not doing site assessments, we are at home writing up reports.
Working in this sector gives you the possibility to see several areas and to gain an understanding of various industries. I enjoy meeting new people every day, and I really like to travel and see different places. You need to be flexible and organised. You have to adapt yourself to the customer’s needs, therefore some days may be very busy.
One day I may be in Italy surveying a shopping centre and the next day surveying a paper mill in the UK, finishing up the week back at home, writing reports.
I would advise any graduates looking to get into risk surveying to look for a company that can provide them with a good training and exposure. If they like traveling and meeting new people every day, if they are flexible and well organised, well, this is the right job!
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