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Health & Protection Policy Adviser Graham Walsh blogs on the challenges he's faced in his role - and how these turned into career highlights

Tell us about your role at the ABI – what do you do and why?

As a Policy Adviser working in the Health and Protection team at the ABI, I work on a wide range of topical and interesting projects, some of which concern one of the most emotive and personally impactful areas of insurance. The chance to work on issues that have such a direct impact on the lives of people across the UK is a very engaging, challenging and rewarding experience.

On a day to day basis I prepare briefings, write reports and provide advice on health and protection related issues across the ABI and the wider Industry. In addition, I manage a number of member working groups, organise and often chair their meetings, and participate in their discussions. I also regularly meet with members on a one to one basis and attend and speak at various industry events.

The variety of tasks I undertake makes every day interesting, with a new challenge around every corner.

What’s been your highlight and what’s been your most challenging moment?

For me, the highlights and challenges of working at the ABI are two sides of the same coin. While the ABI is a friendly and collaborative workplace, it is also an employer driven by a desire for excellence. Therefore, often the challenges I have faced have in their turn become my highlights of working here. As an example, public speaking has never been my strength, and I have been known in the past to avoid it like the plague. However, as part of my role, the challenges of speaking at events have proven also to be some of the most rewarding professional experiences so far.

Where did you work before, how and why did you come to join the ABI?

Before I came to work at the ABI, I had taken a year out of work to travel around South America and South East Asia, covering fifteen countries and seeing some of the worlds most amazing sites. Before I took this break, I worked as a sports integrity and strategy consultant for a consultancy firm called Quest Global. I was involved in supporting international efforts to create financial accountability mechanisms for sports governance.

When I returned to the UK, I wanted to work in a policy advisory role. However, I had no specific linkage or pull toward insurance until I saw a job advertisement for the protection policy role in the ABI on LinkedIn. The position offered exactly the sort of opportunity I was looking for and after expressing interest and exchanging several messages with the HR team, I was called to interview. I started at the ABI a few weeks later.

What’s the best thing about working here?

The ABI is an incredibly friendly and inclusive place to work. As a relativity small organisation with less than 100 people, it is easy to get to know everyone and to get an idea of what they work on in a short space of time. There is also a very positive work life balance, and when times are busy there is always a helping hand should you need it.

What surprised you most about working here?

How collaborative the working environment is. I work with many teams across the organisation in one way or another which has given me a more holistic idea of the work of ABI and helped me build professional relationships across the organisation. I was also surprised by how quickly I was given responsibility and the freedom to manage my own work load, which was both challenging but also very rewarding.

Describe your team in three words.

Hard-working, personable, committed 

What does #OneABI mean to you?

For me #OneABI is just an expression of the way we work. There is not one member of the organisation who I could not go to with a question or who would not lend a helping hand if needed. It is the collaborative and inclusive working environment which is key to the success of the ABI as a whole.  

If you weren’t working at the ABI, what would be your second career?

I think I would be working in a policy role at another organisation, as this was very much the position I was looking for following my return to London. I also think I would want to be part of an organisation that endeavours to put the consumer at the heart of all their activity, as this is one of the admirable aspects of the ABI’s business practice.   

Interested in joining the ABI team? Find out more about our current vacancies and apply now.

Last updated 02/11/2018