Case study

Commercial accounts handler — Rachel Craft

Working in rural insurance, Rachel's degree in agriculture and the skills she developed during the course have played a vital role in her success. Find out more about her job and how she hopes to develop her career further

What degree did you study?

I studied for a BSc Hons Agriculture with Business Studies at Aberystwyth University, graduating with a first class degree.

How did you get your job?

Since graduating I have been working as a claims handler for NFU Mutual in their national equine and pet claims department. I applied for the role by sending in a cover letter and CV, having seen the job advert online. I had a phone interview, followed by a technical question assessment, face-to-face competency-based interview and a group interview.

I have just started a new role as a commercial accounts handler for a local NFU Mutual Agency. I had two competency-based panel interviews for this job.

How relevant is your degree?

As NFU Mutual is the biggest rural insurer in the UK, many of the people I speak to are from farming backgrounds. My knowledge of agriculture, gained from my degree is useful in developing a relationship with these customers.

In addition, the transferable skills developed during my time at university have been critical to my success. These skills include organisation and time management, the ability to work both independently and as part of a team, and being able to express ideas verbally.

What's a typical working day like?

As a claims handler, my day involved setting up new equine and pet claims, in addition to liaising with veterinary practices and other third parties in order to assess the validity of existing claims. I also endeavoured to resolve customer enquiries in a friendly and professional manner.

In my new role, I'm involved in developing and maintaining strong insurer relationships. Once I have my product licenses, I will be responsible for placing multi-class programmes of insurance for corporate clients.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I relish the diversity of my role. This means that I'm constantly expanding my knowledge. I also take great pleasure in speaking to customers and, in particular, helping to address their worries at what can be a difficult time. I enjoy working with other customer-focused and likeminded individuals.

What are the challenges?

The main challenge is balancing workloads and prioritising tasks. Often, this involves doing many different things at once, to ensure that customers get the best experience possible and work is completed in a timely manner.

Where do you hope to be in five years?

I am hoping to expand my knowledge and skills over the next few years in order to develop my career further. I would still like to be working at a local NFU Mutual Agency, providing a personal local service to both farming and non-farming customers.

What advice can you give to others?

  • When applying for jobs, be patient. Try not to give up if you do not hear back or are not successful on the first attempt; the right job is out there for everyone.
  • Always seek feedback. Use this to consider what did and did not go well and use this constructively in the future.
  • When starting out in a new role, you won't always know the answer. Remember there is no such thing as a stupid question - the more you ask the more you will learn. 

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