Sacha joined us a few months ago as Commercial Manager. In this week’s colleague story, Sacha reflects on a slick and supportive onboarding process, the type of work keeping the commercial team busy and the unique culture at Hastings Direct.

An insurance background
Before Hastings, I worked at Direct Line Group for five years. My first three years at DLG was on the graduate scheme where I spent time in the Digital, Marketing and Claims departments. In my third year, I moved into a Trading role working mainly on Direct Line Motor and, from then, stayed in Commercial roles until I moved to Hastings. 

Working in the insurance industry gave me insight into what other companies were doing and a general flavour of how they operate. Hastings, although one of the largest motor insurance providers, felt different from the other big players in the market – appearing to act almost as a start-up with genuine ability to implement change fast. This was a massive selling point to me and since joining, that couldn’t be more true!

A slick start
I was apprehensive about joining a new company remotely but had an incredibly smooth onboarding experience and first few weeks settling in. Before my start date, I was set up on a portal which had a clear check-list of everything I needed to get done before my start date. I was also sent the work-from-home kit which included a laptop, monitors and accessories. Once I opened Outlook on my first day, I had three weeks’ worth of introductions already set-up with key stakeholders and a 15 minute meeting every morning with my Director to go through anything I was uncertain of the day before. These practical measures when joining a new company were encouraging and the initial apprehension soon diminished.

The short, medium and long term…
The Commercial team sits at the heart of the business. We work with stakeholders across the company to monitor performance and drive growth opportunities in order to hit (ideally exceed!) budgeted performance and with that comes a real breadth of scope. There is the fast-paced here and now, where we look to understand our performance against budget on a daily/weekly basis and trade appropriately. With that comes stimulus to drive short term tactical action and this can vary considerably depending on performance outcomes. Then there is the more medium to long term initiatives where we work across Underwriting, Pricing, Product, Digital and Marketing to identify and drive or support project delivery, ensuring commercial outcomes are met. This variety means that no single day is ever the same, you become extremely rounded in skillset and as a member of the commercial team gain unique exposure to areas of a business that, within a single department, you wouldn’t usually experience.

Not only does the team and position provide unique exposure to other departments, but the teams skillset itself stretches across multiple disciplines and brings together a variety of backgrounds, providing great development opportunities day-to-day. The team are approachable and share this desired knowledge constantly. I’ve learnt tons in my first six months here and have no doubt I’ll continue to develop at the rate I have been for some time!

The people and culture are unique
There is a collective energy and passion around the business to get stuff done and delivered. People are approachable – always wanting to help break down barriers in order to achieve objectives. Although we have a large amount of customers, we are uniquely lean in comparison to large insurers. This means there is opportunity to grow outside your core job description and access to senior colleagues. This in itself provides great exposure, lots of learning opportunities and room to be pushed outside of anyone’s normal comfort zone. 

Join us: If, like Sacha, you’d like to grow a commercial in an agile and fast-paced company, find out about available opportunities including our Aggregator Manager opportunity.