Leeds-based commercial insurance specialist, Gauntlet, has lived up to its motto of ‘going the extra mile’ by furthering the career aspirations of the daughter of one of the industry’s best-known coach operators.
Suzy Skill, aged 24, studied philosophy at King’s College London, becoming interested in insurance during her second year. Her family’s business, Nottinghamshire-based Skills Coaches, has a big insurance and risk management requirement, of which Suzy was also aware, so her family background and interest in insurance began to merge.
To decide whether a career in financial services in general, or insurance in particular, would suit her best, Suzy had a one-month work experience placement at London-based global investment manager, Schroders. This confirmed her view that she would prefer a career in insurance, because of the human-interest element involved.
After gaining insurance-specific experience with a local broker in Nottingham, Suzy met one of Gauntlet’s directors and expressed her desire to work at the very top of the insurance sector. This led to her having a week’s experience at Gauntlet head office in Leeds, as well as a week in London with Lloyds Broker THB, arranged by Gauntlet.
Suzy used this as a platform upon which to finalise her decision to focus on insurance as her future career. She was then offered an interview at Gauntlet, in October 2016, and started working from Gauntlet head office in January 2017, after relocating from Nottingham.
Her new role sees her working as an account handler, supporting Gauntlet’s Head of Motor New Business, Thomas O’Connell, with his client portfolio and attending some client meetings. She is already progressing well with her Chartered Institute Insurance exams and hopes to be fully Certified by the end of 2018, enabling her to then move towards handling some of her own clients and working her way up towards being a fully fledged account executive.
Her three-year goal is to build up her portfolio, utilising not just her insurance experience, but also the insight she has of the insurance relationship from a bus and coach client’s perspective, thanks to her family background.
Suzy Skill says: “I absolutely love working here at Gauntlet, where one of the best things is the way your career can really take off, if you are ambitious and willing to work hard. Everyone is encouraged to focus on their goals, develop and grow, with different opportunities on offer all the time, due to the dynamism within the company and the sustained growth it is experiencing. It’s not a case of being boxed into one role. If you are dedicated, you can progress quickly.
“Things were a little daunting at first, but there is such a supportive team here that you can always draw on other people’s experience. I was really surprised, having joined so recently, to be asked to describe my vision for my future career development. That has already set me on a clear career path and is highly motivating.”
Gauntlet’s managing director, Roger Gaunt, says: “Suzy is a great example of someone who is eager to listen, learn and progress. She is taking the opportunities that working at Gauntlet provides and is highly focused on career progression. She has highlighted a desire to move into general commercial insurance over the next couple of years, as she finds some of the vast number of insurance covers that we offer, such as cyberliability and professional indemnity, really interesting. We will help her to do that and look forward to seeing her grow both personally and professionally.”