Maria Bautista, IRMCert
S. A. Meacock & Co
How did you get your job
I stumbled upon risk management and insurance by chance. I studied law at university in England but graduating in the midst of the 2008 crisis I found it difficult to find a job in the sector and did not go into practice. I was working in a technology company when a colleague from university working as a claims adjuster in the London Market suggested I would be an ideal candidate for a vacancy in risk management of which she was aware. I had no previous experience either in insurance or risk management but was offered and interview and the CRO took a chance and hired me.
I had to hit the ground running and the first few months were rather nerve-wracking and scary but I had support at work and my confidence grew together with my knowledge of risk management and the insurance industry. After successfully completing a Risk Management Foundation Programme offered by the Lloyd’s Market Association I decided to enhance my knowledge and enrolled in the International Certificate in Financial Services Risk Management.
What’s a typical day like as a risk officer in a Lloyd’s managing agent?
As a risk officer in a small organisation I work closely with all risk owners and the compliance department to ensure the smooth running of operations. No day is the same and tasks range from attending market seminars and presentations to drafting reports and monitoring KRIs to meet with risk owners and discuss the controls adequacy and emerging risks.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
My role is varied and I get to interact with practically every member of staff, which I greatly enjoy. It provides me with great insight in the workings of the organisation and allows me to develop and improve different skills.
What are the challenges?
I work in a very traditional organisation where change is slow and risk management can sometimes be perceived by some as a necessary evil. One of my challenges is to embed risk management into everyday operations, trying to demonstrate the value that it can add to the organisation.
In what way are your IRM qualifications relevant?
The IRM qualifications have provided me with a very solid base on which to build further knowledge based on practical work experience.
What would you say to others thinking about joining IRM as a member?
All industries rely on networking and risk management is no exception, so it is a great way to interact with like-minded people and get career advice.
How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions? Has being linked to the IRM helped?
I started as a risk assistant almost three years ago and I am now the risk officer in my organisation. I am a member of the risk committee and chair the risk forum. I hope to further my career in risk management and I believe that having obtained the IRM Certificate in Financial Services Risk Management will help my career progression.
Risk management is a discipline than applies to a wide range of industries, from financial services to construction, so you are bound to find a role that is right for you and matches your interests. It was certainly not a career I had contemplated before but I am very happy that I stumbled into it.
You have to be disciplined in your studies, especially as time is precious when you work. I found that reading on my daily commute and then setting time aside at the weekends worked for me. I also found the revision webinars and student forum helpful.