Communication and negotiation skills keys to success for PolyU grad

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Studying maritime insurance and law at PolyU gave Christy a head start at a logistic company

For Christy Kwan, choosing the right programme wasn’t too much of a challenge because she had already identified a growth sector she was interested in. She opted for the BBA in International Shipping & Transport Logistics at Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), knowing that shipping and logistics are big business in China and that’s where she wanted to be. 

After graduating, Kwan’s first job for a logistics company involved handling all kinds of cargo-related claims. As a result, she spent a lot of time studying insurance terms and conditions and was soon asked to move to a position dealing specifically with marine insurance. 

She currently works as an account manager, marine and specialty for Lockton Companies, which offers insurance solutions for all types of marine hull, cargo and liability risks.

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“Lockton is an excellent platform for me to learn more about the insurance industry,” she says. “The company also offers subsidies for further job-related education, which means additional opportunities to gain knowledge and improve my skills.”

While at PolyU, one class Kwan took focused on maritime insurance and law, so she was already familiar with the wording used in policies and other documentation, as well as the key principles. 

“I found that the subjects covered in that course made it easier to pick up the essentials from my very first day on the job,” she says. 

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At Lockton, she needs a broad and in-depth knowledge of marine insurance and policy terms in order to arrange appropriate coverage on behalf of her clients. 

“Once clients define their needs, we have to propose the terms with insurance companies and to negotiate the best possible deal for them,” Kwan says. “We must be effective communicators and savvy negotiators to get the necessary insurance at a reasonable cost.” Along the way, Kwan has also learned to manage expectations and to find the right balance regarding the cost and the terms of coverage.  

She is always conscious of the fact that her clients could potentially suffer huge losses if something adverse and unforeseen happened to their shipments. Therefore, it is essential that she is up to date with all relevant regulations and able to get the right coverage and terms for clients. 

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“We are trained to check policies very carefully to determine if there is adequate coverage based on estimated risk,” she says.

Kwan confirms that her PolyU degree was good preparation for her chosen career. She has been able to apply what she learned in her jobs. And the top three things she has so far gained from working in international shipping and transport logistics are:

1. Negotiation and communication skills – Being able to work closely with clients and determine the best solutions for their business. 

2. Detail-oriented – Working in this industry requires accuracy and precision.

Professionalism – International trade is always changing, so it is vital to keep up to date with world events and the latest technology. Cyber risk is also on the rise, so it’s important to be aware of potential risks in the industry and know how to protect clients accordingly.

Edited by John Cremer