As it is my last day as senior reporter at Insurance Age it is quite right that I write a goodbye blog to commemorate the two years and two months I have spent here. So let's go back to the beginning - July 2009 - I emerged from a six month journalism course where I didn't particularly learn very much apart from how to write shorthand badly into the midst of a rather nasty recession. There were so few jobs around that I can remember sitting typing away aimlessly on my internship at a local paper while reporters were crying in the kitchen after being given the boot.
Somehow I managed to get an interview for the position of reporter at Insurance Age working under the new editor Martin Friel. I actually found out I had got the job when I was at the benefits office trying to persuade them to let me off paying my council tax. At the time I wondered what had made me stand out from the stiff competition. Was it my acerbic wit? Sharp intellect? No it was because I swore once, reported speech, and when asked what my salary expectations were my answer came with, and I can hardly bear to say it, accompanying jazz hands.
There was a very steep learning curve for the first few months of the job as I was new to both insurance and journalism. I learned an awful lot in a short space of time. But I think the three most important lessons were as follows: insurance people like to drink lots; journalists like to drink lots; and when insurance people are drunk they will tell you stuff they wouldn't normally do when they are sober. The challenge is to remember it of course.
What then developed were two years of lots of fun, writing, learning and growing up. We rebranded the magazine which was exciting and a very valuable experience for me as a journalist. I have made some great friends in the insurance world and written about some very interesting issues. Look I find solicitors' PI interesting okay? I don't care what anyone says. I have probably also made a couple of enemies with my sometimes hot-headed reporting but you can't make an omelette and all that.
On a serious note, I was so surprised by the insurance industry. It is a fun, vibrant sector which has a relevance to everyday life that most people disregard or underestimate. It's been said countless times before but something really does need to happen in order to change the public perception of insurance. I'm not sure what it is but perhaps the first steps are there with the Aldermanbury Declaration and the push for greater awareness with school leavers and graduates. I truly hope so.
I am not actually leaving the industry, like all good brokers, I am using the knowledge that I have gained and capitalising on a niche in a new reporting role. Although I am excited at the prospect of the challenge I am also extremely sad to say goodbye. Working with an editor like Mr Friel has been an amazing experience. I owe him an awful lot and I am extremely proud to have been part of developing such a successful magazine and website. I know that the team, including the wonderful and talented Emmanuel Kenning and newbie to the team, Caitlin Morrison, who has already impressed in her first week , will continue to prosper and rule the broking world.
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