The beauty of living in a diverse country such as Canada is that you get the opportunity to hire employees with not only different skillsets and expertise, but also of different cultural backgrounds. Varying cultures also have varying sets of traditions and behaviours, whether at home or in the workplace.
Over the past five years, we’ve almost tripled the size of quirky family of enthusiasts. This has not only meant growth in size but also in different backgrounds and ethnicities. And many of our employees speak multiple languages.
As the lead of Sales & Marketing, I’m charged to think about what other markets to explore and how these markets would interact with our product and service offering. The diversities we have amongst our teams have uniquely positioned us to learn more about different work ethics, education systems, and how to conduct business in different geographies.
I recently had the chance to speak to one of our Reinsurance Analysts, Eugenia, who moved to Canada from Ukraine less than a year ago. I was curious to learn about her experience onboarding not only into a new organization but a new home. I asked Eugenia to share with me her experience as we may all benefit when it comes to onboarding new staff with different cultures.
As we learned in the first 100 days of a reinsurance administrator –the hiring, onboarding and training processes are critical components of building a strong team of reinsurance analysts. Throughout these three phases you are constantly learning about your new hire, including their background and experience. As you’ll find out in the interview below, this is important information that will help you determine their learning path to success.
You came to Canada from the Ukraine, were you working in the life insurance industry there as well?
Actually no, my professional and educational background was in the Property and Casualty insurance and reinsurance industry. My knowledge of the life insurance industry was limited. One of my first priorities when coming into this field was to understand the difference between P & C and life insurance. I also wanted to find resources that could help me transition to this new field while building my knowledge as a reinsurance analyst.
What was your biggest learning curve transitioning to the life insurance market?
I think for me, it was learning the terminology. For example NAR, cash flow, death benefits, accumulated cash value, loan on policy, surrender and so on. Coming from the P&C side I was either unfamiliar with the terms or they meant something different to me. So I had to not only make sure I had a clear understanding of what terminology means in the life insurance market but also get used to possibly new meanings.
PRO TIP: Check out our content hub for lots of free, downloadable reinsurance content to jump start your knowledge.
What were key elements of your onboarding process that helped your initial development as a reinsurance analyst?
Well, within my first week here, I was introduced to several tools that I would be using on a daily basis for reinsurance administration. Getting an understanding of these tools including TAI, Microsoft SQL Server and Beyond Compare, was a big priority as they differed from the tools I used at my job in Ukraine.
PRO TIP: At LOGiQ3, we set up test TAI environments for our analysts in training to encourage them to test real work situations without the fear of making changes within the production environment.
The support and knowledge I gained from my colleagues was also key to my initial development. I spent a lot of time in my first month reading the helpful blogs and resources developed by other team members that focus on their expertise in the reinsurance field.
Side note, any favorites to recommend?
I would definitely suggest reading The Reinsurance Analyst's Guide for Beginners, I think it speaks for itself. And since a large part of my role involves working with data, this is another helpful article; Reinsurance Data Error Management. What is it and why should you care?
Any other key elements of your onboarding process you’d like to share?
The final element that helped my development was learning about LOMA (Life Office Management Association). They provide continued education for the insurance and reinsurance industries. For someone new to Canada and to this industry, I knew education would be important for my success. LOMA helped me understand the designations most commonly obtained by North American reinsurance analysts.
What were some of the designations that you learned about?
Well two that go hand in hand for reinsurance administrators are FLMI and ARA designations. FLMI stands for Fellow, Life Management Institute (FLMI). It really teaches you everything you need to know about insurance. Once this is completed, the ARA - Associate, Reinsurance Administration designation is usually the next step. It gives an understanding of reinsurance administration.
Another designation that is particularly important for LOGiQ3 employees is ACS (Associate, Customer Service). This designation is all about customer service, which is important for someone who is new to the country because expectations for this can be very different across cultures.
PRO TIP: Get a full understanding of each of these designations in the Reinsurance Analyst's Guide to Achieving your FLMI, ARA & ACS
A big thank you to Eugenia for sharing her experiences in not only moving to a new country but joining a new industry and company at the same time. We hope whether you are onboarding a diverse team or are new to reinsurance yourself, you were able to take something away from this interview.
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