"I’ve learned a lot here, and have developed a real passion for sailing"

Dan Shacklock, Marine Underwriting Assistant at Hiscox MGA, describes being one of the first Lloyd’s apprentices and his developing passion for boats.

Like most people, I fell into insurance. I decided not to go to university after leaving school, unlike most of my peers. I just didn’t think it was for me, so, instead, I started work at a firm of independent financial advisors in the town where I grew up. But I wanted something bigger. One of my insurance contacts pointed me towards the new Lloyd’s apprenticeship scheme, which had just been set up to help school leavers start a career in the market.

I was one of more than 600 that applied, and, after a series of interviews and group tasks over several months, I was offered a place. In September 2013, I began work as one of the first dozen Lloyd’s apprentices.

At first, I was a little worried about what reception we’d get. Apprenticeships are a common feature in industries like engineering or building but not in insurance, so I was a little concerned about how we’d be viewed by those who’d worked at Lloyd’s for decades. But everyone in the market was so helpful and generous with their time.

My first month was spent learning the ropes at Lloyd’s; then I worked for four months as a broker, after which I did a six-month underwriting placement, finishing with a secondment in a claims team. I loved every minute of it.

In January 2015, Paul Miller offered me a full-time job while I was working for him at R&Q Marine Services on one of my placements. When I joined here I knew virtually nothing about yachts, let alone marine insurance – although my Dad used to build yachts for a living. Now, I will often go to watch sailing races at the weekend or find out how the racing yachts we insure have performed in competitions around the world.

I could see myself staying in this niche for the rest of my career, if I choose to. I hope to soon get my underwriting authority, which will enable me to bind risks myself, and want to work my way up here. At the moment, I’m part of the Marine Trades team, which underwrites marinas, boat builders and the like. After that, I’d quite like to move on to help underwrite yachts.

I’d recommend a career in insurance to anyone: it’s such a diverse business and there’s plenty of opportunity for progression. I’ve already recommended the Lloyd’s apprenticeship scheme to friends who are thinking about a career that don’t want to go to university.

Just a few weeks after being hired by R&Q Marine Services Hiscox bought it, but I see it as an absolutely fantastic opportunity for me. Hiscox is a great place to work: they push you to achieve – and exceed – your goals and are willing to back you to take risks. It’s a brilliant company.

But, as a cricket nut, I was shocked to find that Hiscox doesn’t have a cricket team. So I’m helping to set one up; we’ll play a few friendly games this season, and then next season hopefully I’ll organise a tour of the company’s regional offices. Who knows, one day perhaps we’ll organise a tour out to the head office in Bermuda! 


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