A month in insurance

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I don't know anything about insurance. I don't have any insurance, and I've never knowingly read an insurance magazine in my life - some of the thoughts that went through my mind when I found out that I'd been taken on by Insurance Age.

My journalistic experience before this was mainly of the localvariety, and possibly my most widely read story was about a missing parrot, so I can't stress enough how foreign the world of insurance seemed at first.

The first month has done a lot to change that. I won't pretend to know much more than I did four weeks ago, but I am definitely becoming more aware of the issues surrounding insurance. I also realised that there are very often stories about insurance in the national press that I just hadn't noticed before. Imagine my surprise when I caught an item on the Today programme about referral fees and actually understood around 50% of it.

One thing that has helped a lot is how welcoming the industry has been. In my first week I was invited to two events, where I found people only too willing to have a go at explaining the nuances of their specific line of work. At that point I would have been better off reading Insurance for Dummies, but it is heartening to know that when people tell me they're happy to help, they really do mean it.

A good team has also been a huge benefit. Unfortunately Liz McMahon left shortly after I joined, but she passed on a lot of good advice, as well as some insurance dictionaries, beforehand. Emmanuel Kenning has been extremely patient and generous with his time, and editor Martin Friel has been true to his word - almost the first thing he said to me was: "Don't worry if I look unapproachable, that's just the way my face is." Quite.

I've definitely enjoyed the last few weeks, and having a job that requires me to learn and learn fast is something I've always wanted. As I start to understand more about the insurance industry I find it more and more interesting, plus I'm looking forward to being able to shock people with my knowledge of GWPs, PI and MGAs, whatever they are.

Oh and I was wrong. I do have insurance, on my phone. And I know now I should have got a much better deal on it.

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