4th October 2023
Asta’s intern Nazarij Bilanovszkij recently sat down to discuss his time at Asta, what he learnt along with this plans for the future.
Where do you go to college, and what do you study?
I am a second-year student at Havering Sixth Form College, where I am studying three A-Levels: Mathematics, Computing, and History. Alongside my studies, I am an active member of the chess club and engage in football both as a player and a referee.
What attracted you to the Asta Internship?
The Asta Internship caught my attention as I was searching for opportunities before the summer break. Asta’s HR representative, Lauren Warner, visited my college with the intention of hiring an intern. Then I had an interview with her and senior Delegated Underwriting Analyst Tom Smith, and after that I was accepted for this position. Although I had limited knowledge of the insurance industry and Delegated Underwriting Authority (DUA), I was eager to apply the skills acquired in college to gain practical work experience. A significant factor was the internship’s duration of 8 weeks, which stood out compared to other companies offering shorter programs. This longer duration was crucial for deepening my understanding of insurance and networking with colleagues and experts in the field. I wanted to make the best of the opportunity so eight weeks was an attraction as I felt I would get a better and broader understanding of insurance.
What type of work have you done during your internship?
I have been able to get involved in a range of different activities at Asta. I have been able to learn how to support the due diligence and review process for DUA business written by Asta’s syndicates and managed MGAs. This involved reviewing Binding Authority agreements, contacting people both internally and from the syndicates, and using Lloyd’s systems such as DCOM, Atlas, Crystal and others. During my amazing time at Asta, I was not only able to learn what my team does, but also to learn and see what other teams do and how they operate. I have attended meetings with other departments, to gain an insight into the different parts of the business which are required to deliver Asta’s services and products. I was also able to take part in client meetings which gave me an insight into what Asta’s clients want from the business.
What’s the biggest challenge you faced during your internship?
The most challenging part of my internship was completing my timesheets at the end of the working week. This was a bit challenging at the beginning of my time here because I had never done them before and didn’t even know that such things existed. At the end of each week, I had to memorise what I had done and how much time I spent on that task.
How would you describe the culture at Asta?
It has been a brilliant experience. During my internship, I was made to feel less like an intern and more like a “proper”, trusted member of staff. If I were to describe Asta in three words I would say: Nurturing, Innovative and Welcoming. Everyone who I met was kind and nice to me, always willing to help and support me. Everyone is keen to help each other, and everyone is working on the same goal of developing individually and making company progress as well.
It’s good to feel part of a close-knit team and I instantly felt at ease. At first the work seemed a little overwhelming since there was so much to learn, but I was encouraged to ask anyone for help. I was glad to be a part of such an amazing, loving Delegated Underwriting team. It was a pleasure to come here, work and learn every day from experts in this area of the business.
I would like to mention my mentor and senior analyst of delegated underwriting team Tom Smith. He has been with me throughout and was always willing to help me and answer any questions I had. He made sure I was part of the team and took me to meetings with clients. He was the one who organised all the meetings with other departments and is the person that inspires and encouraged me. I have to say overall the experience has been amazing and much of that has been down to the staff who have been so helpful.
Any advice to students considering an internship in insurance?
I strongly recommend pursuing an insurance internship like mine at Asta. It provided invaluable experience and shaped my interest in a future insurance career. Working in the City and learning beyond classroom education is a unique opportunity. You get to meet many knowledgeable people who you can learn from. It really is a case of if the opportunity becomes available then you must take it.
Has the internship changed your view of insurance?
Absolutely, before I came to Asta if you asked me about insurance, I would have thought about car insurance and had a view that it did not require a great deal of skill to work in the industry. The past eight weeks have shown me the scale of the industry range of products, the many parts of the business and the many skills that go into the insurance industry that make it work. It really is a complex business and there are so many elements to it.
What are your interests outside of studying and working at Asta?
I love football. Outside of working/studying I play semi-professional football and I referee football games as well. My love for the sport developed at a young age, and I remain dedicated to it. Sometimes it can be challenging as I support West Ham! I also play chess at a relatively good level, it is a game that encourages strategic thinking and decision-making skills.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
In five years, I see myself working in the City, working in the insurance sector, whether that is in delegated underwriting or as a broker.
What book are you reading?
I have started reading “The Art of Living”, by Epictetus. It’s a relatively big book, however I have enjoyed reading it so far. It is a clear and concise introduction to Stoic philosophy. It is insightful, delivering timeless wisdom for achieving stability and satisfaction in life.
Who do you admire the most?
David Goggins is the man I really admire. He is a former US Navy Seal, and public speaker. I have read his book and watched his podcasts on YouTube. He has exceptional willpower. He has completed over 60 ultra-marathons, triathlons, and ultra-triathlons. He held the Guinness World Record for pull-ups completing 4,030 in 17 hours.
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