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WITH Christelle Odendaal

-Claims Specialist Hollard Insure

“I did not choose the industry – it chose me”. 

Q: Where did you start your insurance career?  

A: I did not choose the industry – it chose me. In 2008 my father was diagnosed with Gillian Barre Syndrome and I was forced to start working. I applied to be a broker assistant to a life insurance broker and eventually joined Hollard Life in 2010 and I have been with them ever since. I joined Hollard Insure as a non-life insurance claims handler in 2018

My love for the industry has grown exponentially and I am forever grateful to that one person that gave me a chance.

Q: What prompted you to enter The Insurance Apprentice?

A: I have been following TIA for about 3 years before this year and I have never been able to enter as the competition is only available to people from the non-life insurance space. When entries entered for this year, I was still hesitant but eventually entered last minute and was extremely surprised when I was selected to move to the elimination rounds! I liked the format and, I am a sucker for a good challenge.

Q: What were some of the highlights as a participant in TIA?

A: I enjoyed the challenging tasks and being amongst like minded individuals. The Hollard task was one of my favorites because it was all about women in trucking an industry that is male dominated.

And of course, the Discovery task – it was way out of my comfort zone and not something I am exposed to daily, but I really did enjoy working with Rodney from Bosch Vehicle Service in the Discovery building not to mention the building is very impressive.industry that is male dominated.

Lessons learnt and friendships formed is truly priceless.

Q: What were the best lessons learnt?

A: The best lessons learnt have been:

  1. That you will never know what you are capable of if you do not step outside your comfort zone.
  2. Never say never.
  3. Always give it your best shot, knowing you did your best is very rewarding.

Q: What advice do you have for future TIA entrants / or why should someone consider entering TIA?

A: Here is my advice for future entrants:

  1. Read the study material.
  2. Have an open mind.
  3. Listen to the task instructions and make use of the strengths within your team.
  4. ALWAYS step up – put yourself forward.
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