Meet the Operations team at Polaris

Introducing our Operations team at Polaris: Pooja Kaur, Jessica Mavambu, and Faith Oludare. Together, they play a crucial role in ensuring the seamless operation and continual enhancement of Polaris’ commercial lines digital trading platform, imarket. The platform facilitates the transaction of over 500,000 policies annually between brokers and insurers. Read on as they candidly share insights into their roles and experiences.

Can you tell me about imarket – what does it do for brokers and insurers?

Pooja: “imarket basically acts as the connector between brokers and insurers, connecting them together to facilitate digital transactions.”

What’s a typical day like in the Ops team?

Jessica: “There’s no typical day in ops! It varies every day. We have scheduled tasks and daily imarket queries. We also do a lot of community testing and testing for the imarket website.”

What is community testing?

Pooja: “When a broker system wants to deploy a new product or a new system wants to join imarket, Polaris test that the product meets the Polaris Standards and business processes, to remove duplication from insurer testing, allowing insurers to focus specifically on their own product when they do their testing”

How do you handle unexpected issues or disruptions?

Faith: “There are instances you walk into the office, log in, and encounter a series of issues, maybe related to an insurer deploying their new product, with tight deadlines. I think it’s important to be able to think on your feet, maintain composure, and keep your manager briefed while tying up loose ends where possible.”

Jessica: “We also communicate with external users, keeping them informed about ongoing issues. IBM serves as our primary contact during unexpected challenges, offering invaluable support.”

Pooja: “We must have a customer-facing approach and we recognise that our role is very customer-centric. I think that staying calm and collected helps us navigate through unexpected issues effectively.”

You’ve just been involved in supporting a major upgrade to imarket (congratulations!) – How was the process of being involved in imarket’s Version 11 upgrade, given its focus on improving resilience for the next decade of digital trading?

Pooja: “One of the major challenges was the shifting of dates, as the project was more complex than first envisaged, making it difficult to address the tasks we had initially prepared for. Fortunately, we had strong support systems in place including from our own Solutions Architect (Carl Parkes).”

Faith: “There were complexities in pre-production due to some initial errors. However, we collaborated as a team and worked together to make sure everything went smoothly. The pre-production phase served as crucial preparation for post-production tasks and that’s the purpose of having testing in pre-production, to iron out any bugs.”

Jessica: “I found it exciting testing the new system in user acceptance testing (UAT) as it was my first time seeing it in action. I tried to break the system and see what would fail. During the v11 upgrade we needed everyone to reset their passwords, most of which we were able to automate, but inevitably we had a higher workload in the first few days of being live.”

What advice would you give to someone who wants to work in operations?

Pooja: “I think a can-do attitude, organisational skills, teamwork, proactive thinking, problem-solving, and analytical abilities are crucial. Adaptability is important, especially as things are always changing.”

Faith: “On a day to day, I wear different hats – one is good customer service, and one is analytical skills. I think it’s important to have a balance of these two skills as it allows me to break down communication with external users and analyse the best solutions to their problem.”

What do you enjoy most about your role and working at Polaris?

Pooja: “I appreciate the close-knit culture of our small company. The ease of communication with everyone, both within and outside the team, is something I truly enjoy.”

Jessica: “I also enjoy working at a small company – everyone’s lovely and approachable, and validating!”

Faith: “As the newest member of the team, it’s been nice to be in a company where everyone’s open to conversation. It’s positive working environment that allows me to share my opinion where I can have a say.”

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