My first co-op work term as an underwriting assistant was in Commercial Lines of the BC Regional Office of Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company, one of Canada's largest property and casualty insurers. We are here to look after one another, which guides the company to take care of people and look after one another. The department comprises 14 people, including my position as an underwriting assistant. My supervisor is responsible for influencing team members positively and supporting our development and implementation of change for both day-to-day and long-term direction, effectively working towards team goals.
There are four co-op students in my team, and our responsibilities include:
Learned and applied commercial insurance rating procedures, wording, and regulations.
Supported the daily activities of the underwriting department by performing data entry, follow-up for policy transactions, and distributing new submissions to the appropriate team member.
Processed new business entries, inspections, endorsements, and cancellations within company standards.
Corresponded with brokers for information requests or declined submissions to be utilized by all underwriters in the future.
My four-month work experience at Wawanesa was an excellent learning opportunity that allowed me to complete all my learning objectives. However, I also had two significant challenges in the first weeks. This semester is my first co-op working term, and the first time I worked from home. Unlike working in an office, I spent some time setting up a working position for myself at home.
My lead photo is my work position in the first month. Because I only have one desk at home, I had to put all my computers on one desk. But then I found it hard to focus on my job when I have so many personal things surrounding me. Then I decided to place my working laptop and monitor in the kitchen with a bigger desk. As shown in the second picture, I can better focus on what I am doing every day with the new workstation. I usually only have my notebook, working laptop, monitor, calculator, memo, and hand cream on my desk. Therefore, as a recommendation, before you decided to accept an offer that requires you to work from home, you should consider where to work and how to work effectively at home.
In addition to the working position, another challenge for me in the first two weeks was that everything was new for me. Our job requires us to make many assumptions based on our experiences. However, I was unable to understand the policies and procedures, and it was hard for me to make some decisions like whether the submissions are endorsements or others. By solving these problems, I reviewed my training notes again and again, and the Performance Career Rewards (PCR) Program allowed me to gain general insurance knowledge outside the lecture class. Meanwhile, my coworkers are always available to help when I have any questions. With their help, I can now complete tasks independently.
Overall, above are two examples of what I looked like at the beginning and end-stage. In the last four months, I was exposed to many self-development opportunities. I am so glad that working at Wawanesa is my first co-op term because I gained practical and remote work experiences, and built relationships with incredible individuals who are knowledgeable and supportive.