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Women in Finance Find out more about some of the women at Covéa Insurance

Lisa Meigh - People Director

Career Highlights

  • Joined Covéa Insurance (then Provident Insurance) as Claims Team Leader
  • Was supported to study and grow professionally (insurance exams, then switched to professional development including MBTi practitioner and Post Grad in OD)
  • Joined the Executive Team as People Director in 2019
"It’s a balancing act, you don’t always get right but with the right support, and a flexible employer being a great Mum and having a rewarding career is absolutely possible"

What’s been your favourite moment throughout your career?

Too many to choose one! Most recently the external and internal recognition that we are truly making waves when it comes to inclusion and how proud and vocal our people have been about working for Covéa during the pandemic.

How has Covéa supported you in having a healthy work life balance?

I have been supported to work flexibly for 15 years since having my first child Archie; whether it be part time, home working, or a flexible working week. I have a passionate, skilful team of amazing people around me who enable me to flex my hours and working pattern to support what the business needs whilst enabling me to strike the right balance. I have been supported to develop myself and grow as a person. I have been able to study to stretch and test myself at the right times so this has always felt rewarding not overwhelming. I was one of the first to truly work flexibly at a senior level, which has helped pave the way for others to see that you can progress your career and deliver for the business when you work flexibly.

What advice would you give to other women looking to start an career in insurance?

We protect people, aim to provide a customer experience that exceeds expectations and build relationships of trust with our customers. There are so many career choices within an insurance business, it's not dull it has so many untapped opportunities for men and women alike, do your research and use the social networks to see what's on offer and which companies in the industry best fit your values.

What does the future of Covéa look like in one word?

Exciting

Sue Coffey - Director of Distribution, Personal Lines

Career highlights

  • Started work at 18, temping for Zurich Insurance before becoming permanent 6 months later and stayed at Zurich for 17 years
  • Was promoted to Business Development Executive at 24 (one of the youngest and only females in the role)
  • Appointed Director of Distribution, Personal Lines in September 2015
"I was able to support the family, keep a healthy home life and progress my career"

What’s been your favourite moment throughout your career?

Many favourite moments through the years but winning Personal Lines Insurer of the year at the British Insurance Awards for the first time has to be up there. The reason it was so significant was that Covéa were a relatively unknown, newly formed company and had been quietly doing what we do best (putting customer first, working on our culture and people and engaging well with partners) in the background. To suddenly be recognised was amazing and I was personally delighted as had been one of the two to present all about us to the BIA. I nearly hit the ceiling when they called our name and the brokers flooding to our table to congratulate us was unreal – such a great night!

How has Covéa supported you in having a healthy work life balance?

Covéa and its attitude to trust, flexibility and support has been pivotal in my career as without them I don’t think I would have pushed on and be doing what I am now. The most important thing in my life is my family but this doesn’t mean you can’t be successful in your career and by Covéa giving me flexibility its meant I can have both. Flexibility for me started when my youngest, Grace was around 7 and I really felt that I wasn’t around as much as I wanted to be for her. I started working from home on Fridays to be able to do school runs and started taking some unpaid leave in holidays to have our own ‘special time’ together. She’s 17 now so no school runs these days but she still values those days I take off for us to do our ‘girlie thing’!

What advice would you give to other women looking to start an career in insurance?

Go for it! There are so many different roles that play to many different strengths so there’s something for everyone. It’s not a grey, male dominated world and in fact there’s more and more ladies climbing the ladders and lots of fun for all in the industry. The final piece of advice for me would be take the flexibility where available and make it work – you can have a great career and a great personal life!

What does the future of Covéa look like in one word?

Positive

Vicki Heslop - Head of Customer Experience

Career highlights

  • Joined Covéa Insurance (then Provident Insurance) straight after A Levels, joining the Motor Claims team on their training programme
  • Pursued management developement and progression rather than a technical role
  • Progressed to Team Manager whilst obtaining Diploma in Insurance
  • Appointed Head of Customer Claims, Personal Lines in 2016 and the Head of Customer Experience in 2020
"Time at home with my family is important and having the support to enable me to do this whilst still progressing in my career has been invaluable"

What's been your favourite moment throughout your career?

It was when we achieved our first Institute of Customer ServiceMark Accreditation in motor claims in 2013 which was the first one we worked towards at Covéa. After a really focused programme to make customer experience as important in claims as focusing on cost and efficiency and seeing the scores we achieved when we got there and the feedback from the assessor was a massive step and I was so proud of the motor claims team. Then to achieve the higher accolade of ServiceMark with Distinction in 2018 for all of Personal Lines was the icing on the cake!

How has Covéa supported you in having a healthy work life balance?

I feel I have been supported throughout my time to help get a work/life balance but also continue to progress my career which was important to me. I was promoted to manager whilst pregnant with my first baby, came back part time as a claims manager and had my second baby the year after. So I have raised 2 children (now 13 and 11!!!) and done both part time and flexible hours and continued to progress to Head of Claims and recently moved to Head of Customer Experience all with support of my managers and Covéa as a whole. There was no challenge around this – I wasn’t expected to work full time but supported to have flexibility to do both which has enabled me to grow my career whilst spending the quality time I need with my family who are my number one priority

What advice would you give to other women looking to start a career in insurance?

I think you often fall into insurance without really know the depth of the roles that are available to you – so often it is starting in operations but then you realise the you can progress your career there like I did or use it as a stepping stone to many other areas of insurance that you wouldn’t know exist when you first start from HR or learning to marketing but also product development, research and CX and also digital and IT. You need to work hard but there are many opportunities – more than you realise! And I think this has never been more prevalent than now – the Covid situation is obviously unprecedented but also now opening up whole new ways of working and flexibility options all of which apply to Insurance as much as any other

Karyn Strickland - Head of HR and Reward

Career highlights

  • Pulling a business case together for language learning for regional employees and delivering it with a small team of passionate colleagues who loved the cultures and countries we were promoting
  • Pushing for and getting the first BAME models of an airline’s new uniform
  • Designed two programmes which raised 42k for 2 charities following the Apprentice and Mary Queen of shops format
  • Talking about the importance of an inclusive workplace at Covéa, it’s the first time, it’s felt real. Inclusion is firmly on Covéa’s map and things are happening because our employees want them to and they make it happen

What’s been your favourite moment throughout your career?

Anytime I have felt that I am doing what really matters and have made a difference, that could be tweaking a recruitment process so that its fairer, challenging the rationale for business change or raising the volume of voices who aren’t being heard

How has Covéa supported you in having a healthy work life balance?

I work 4 days a week and I have the best team I could hope for, who are empowered, resilient and incredibly capable. At Covéa, I believe we have adult conversations and relationships are built on mutual trust, respect and collaboration. That’s how my team work and they are awesome

What advice would you give to other women looking to start an career in insurance?

Research where insurance is going and how fast some companies are changing, collaborating and thinking beyond the current boundaries. Treat your skill set and experience as something you own, grow and have full control over. Keep your skills and experiences current and get comfortable with discomfort.

What does the future of Covéa look like?

It looks incredibly exciting. We have a clear and relevant vision for our customers and our employees where we want them to live their best lives enabled by the quality of our customer service and an inclusive and connected workspace.

Credits:

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