Providing our staff with learning and development opportunities is very important at Atrium
To attract and retain the best people we invest in developing and supporting all of our staff to achieve their full potential. This begins with a full induction programme to help people understand the Atrium vision and values and continues with a variety of on the job and structured learning to enhance personal development, technical skills, leadership and management skills.
Through our learning and development framework we empower people to attain new skills and progress in their career. We expect all of our staff to attain their relevant professional qualifications and we provide support and encouragement, including full funding, to assist them.
The profiles below illustrate some of the interesting career paths that employees have taken at Atrium and how learning and development has played a part.
“One of the many good things I can say about Atrium is that they have never batted an eyelid when it has come to my learning and development. Whether it has been a refresher course in Excel, an introduction into understanding financial reports or even a windstorm seminar in Miami, they have always been encouraging. As one person said to me when I first arrived, Atrium sees it as an investment. Whatever you learn or skill you gain, the company will hopefully benefit from it too.
Coming from a rather dull admin job at the age of 23, I joined Atrium in October 2002 as an underwriting assistant. Although I started out in the cargo team, I moved 8 months later to the Energy team where I have been ever since. Initially my job entailed me sitting on the box in Lloyd’s beside the Underwriter and although it involved a lot of data entry, it had the interesting part of seeing how the underwriter goes about their business. Unfortunately there is no manual on how to underwrite, although I think a few people wished there was, it is all about learning as you go along. Experience and exposure are crucial to the job as well as asking questions. I was lucky to work with Richard Harries and Tom Gault – two very experienced underwriters so I managed to gain an excellent insight into the Upstream Energy world from two different perspectives.
I remember when I was first starting out we used to have these weekly educational lessons called ‘Gene pool’ given to us by a very knowledgeable but extremely eccentric gentleman called Jeffrey Gilbert. If I had to say who first mentored me through the hazy first few years of my job, then it would have to be him. He had a knack of getting you to question everything and you were always terrified in case he asked you a question and you didn’t know the answer.
Atrium is extremely keen on you getting your ACII qualifications so 2.5 years on from starting them; I became a qualified Chartered Insurer. Shortly after that, I got my scratch so I was able to agree non-material endorsements and put down lines on behalf of the underwriter. By 2007, I was underwriting straightforward renewals and asked to be part of the DQI committee. 2012 co-insided with me not only becoming an Energy Underwriter but also joining the Training Committee. Being part of something other than underwriting is a great way of expanding your knowledge of what goes on in the whole company and getting to know people from other areas of Atrium better.
A big part of my Energy education was being sent to Rig School in Houston for a week and then spending a further week with some retail brokers, loss adjusters and risk surveyors. This trip involved an intensive introduction to Upstream Energy and was an amazing crash course into learning everything from discovering oil to what happens when there is a claim. It was also a good opportunity to meet fellow peers in the market and start to form friendships and contacts that would continue on in my career. Also what I find fascinating and particularly informative are site visits. There is nothing more eye opening than going to a shipyard and seeing an actual rig in mid construction to get a sense of the scale and understanding of what you are actually insuring. Suddenly the piece of paper in front of you has transformed into this real life massive image. I have been lucky to have been allowed to clamber all over a few rigs in my time in Corpus Christi, Rotterdam and Singapore. I have also seen disaster sites where something has gone drastically wrong such as on my U35s trip to SE Asia where we went to Indonesia to see a well out of control.
All in all, I have been here for almost 12 years and I can honestly say I learn something new almost every day. As mentioned earlier Atrium has always been extremely supportive to me and has always had faith in my abilities. Another pearl of wisdom someone mentioned to me which stuck in my mind is, ‘never stay in your comfort zone. Always try and step outside it.’