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Evie Plumb, a voice from the next generation of protection talent

Evie Plumb - Strategic Account Manager for Individual Protection, Canada Life

What do I like about our industry?

My first impression when I joined was that everyone was so welcoming. As I was new to financial services, I completed a weeks’ training on all aspects of insurance with a protection specialist, but I’m still learning something new every day.

There are so many opportunities available to do different things. One day I’m presenting to a generalist IFA with half a dozen advisers in the team, the next I’m off to a mortgage adviser looking to grow their protection business. I really enjoy meeting face-to-face with many different advisers at conferences and roadshows.

Opportunities have come along which I never would have dreamt of. I fronted a Canada Life educational video and was interviewed for an article on my voluntary work as a Samaritan. Every day is different and purposeful; everything I do helps get customers and their families protected.

What are your dislikes?

Unfortunately, it’s not easy for young females to enter our industry. We still have images of middle-aged men in suits running the show. I was lucky to have been given a break aged only 22, but where do other people like me turn for advice and the opportunity to get started?

Now I’m here, I’m pleased to see that things are improving. The Women in Protection Network provides some great role models for young women like me. My own manager had the confidence to bring a second young Business Development Manager onto the team. I really enjoy mentoring her and passing on what I’ve learned in my first two years. I’d like to see us reach out to young people from all backgrounds to increase our diversity.

What changes have you observed?

I’ve noticed an increasing willingness to talk about our mental health, something I’m passionate about. My own experiences of the trauma caused by people’s difficulties with their mental health led me to volunteer with The Samaritans.

I was delighted when providers using the UnderwriteMe platform made changes in the way they ask mental health questions in March. Let’s keep making protection easier to apply for.

What changes do you expect to see?

I can see three responses to the current pandemic. Firstly, we’re seeing protection coming to the foreground. More people are taking stock of their individual circumstances and making provisions for their families in the event of their early death or sudden illness. Protection must be an integral part of every financial review or mortgage application, not just an add-on.

Secondly, we’re really embracing technology in the way we work and it’s increasing our productivity. I enjoy face-to-face communication, but having the option to connect remotely increases our flexibility. It gives us the opportunity to work smarter and avoid unnecessary travel. This will boost recruitment too: working more flexibly will help us attract and retain talented individuals whose personal circumstances mean they can’t work 9 to 5 in an office every day.

Lastly, our moral duty to provide more than financial support is growing. From wellbeing guidance to counselling support and online GP services, protection providers have stepped up to the challenge of being here at our customer’s time of need. It’s one of the reasons I’m proud to work in this industry.

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