Networking is a process that fosters the exchange of information and ideas among individuals or groups that share a common interest.
When I first started out in the insurance industry (quite a few years ago now) I was unaware of the concept of networking. I was incredibly nosey though, and keen to learn, and never afraid to ask 'that' question: I just didn't always get an answer. It was quite challenging in the early 80's working in the male dominated world of Lloyds of London. Many people felt unsure about sharing their knowledge as they perceived it to hold magical powers. I was lucky that my underwriter was of an inclusive mind-set and patiently answered many of my questions.
When I joined the public sector in the 90's I was introduced to ALARM and found the support and openness of its members refreshing. To have a group of like-minded individuals with varying levels of expertise, always willing to provide a response or a further contact, was really helpful. It also helped my confidence and development. One of the best aspects was that other insurance and risk management officers shared the downside: what had gone wrong and what could be improved on.
As my experience grew, I was able to offer that support to others and have thoroughly enjoyed the many projects I have worked on with ALARM. These have included; running regional events, contributing to national guidance documents, lobbying central government and most recently, supporting the production of the Back to basics insurance guide. The guide, written in Plain English, is there to help everyone who deals with an aspect of insurance in their role. Its pages provide plenty to learn, even for seasoned members.
ALARM offers many opportunities to network and I appeciate that at a time when funding continues to be a challenge, a membership fee can be an easy saving. However, I urge you to consider seriously the cost of not being a member of such an amazing organisation. ALARM is a successful association, run by its members for its members. In my view it is a no brainer, so fight hard within your organisation for your membership. Recognise the value personally and keep your membership,so future insurance and risk professionals can continue to benefit.
Find out more about ALARM membership benefits.
Mandy Knowlton-Rayner, Co-opted ALARM Board Director, Education Lead, stronger Editorial Panel Chair, and Communications Panel member.