'I want to make sure people don’t end up getting unwelcome surprises'

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Meet Annelotte van Melick, Expert Team Verzekeren bij Independer, Expert on the insurance team at Independer

A game of pool or a little ‘me time’ in the massage chair: at Independer they know how to help their staff relax amid all the hard work. That’s where Annelotte van Melick works as an insurance expert. She and her team advise countless Dutch consumers on a daily basis, because in the world of insurance, it can be hard to see the wood for the trees. From car insurance to holidays and medical cover: they know what suits you best. What first sparked her interest in insurance and what is it about Independer’s team spirit that makes it so unique?

What first sparked your interest in insurance?

“Even before I started work at Independer, I was interested in how people spend their money. I put a lot of effort into organising my own finances. I divide my savings into all kinds of categories: house, car, contingency measures, you name it. And I enjoy using that outlook to help our customers: what are their priorities, how much can they afford to put aside? Some people have a large jewellery collection or whisky collection, for example. That can be worth a lot of money. I think it’s important for people to keep these things safe. For me, it’s not so much about insurance itself but about making sure people don’t end up getting unwelcome surprises.”

Take a look behind the scenes

What’s it like to work at Independer?

“If you zoom in on the workplace, you’ll see a very open set-up: we celebrate our successes but we also give each other feedback on a daily basis. And that’s really important: it enables you to learn so much. We serve all customer service channels: WhatsApp, chat, telephone and email. We also approve applications. And in the final weeks of the year, when consumers have the chance to switch healthcare insurance, it really feels like a sprint for the finish line. The whole company is buzzing. That kind of energy really gives Independer a unique team spirit.”

You talk about team spirit at Independer: can you describe that feeling?

“From catering staff to the director, everyone at the office makes me feel welcome and gives me a sense of belonging. It’s also a colourful place to work: not just a great bunch of people, but also bright and cheerful open spaces and room to relax. For example, we have a room with games, a pool table and massage chairs – ideal for the occasional distraction. But we are also genuinely there for each other. I remember when I had my first difficult conversation. Before I knew it, I had four colleagues at my side offering help and support. At times like that, these things mean a lot.”

For you personally, what makes this work so rewarding?

“The personal contact and the pleasant conversations with people. I think it’s important to sympathise, to give people sound advice and the feeling that they are talking to an advisor, not just a customer service centre. For example, if I’m talking to someone who is taking out travel insurance, I want to know more about their situation. Where are they going?What are they planning to do there?Will they be doing any dangerous sports? At the end of the day, I want them to feel that they have made the right decisions. In theory, insurance may not seem all that exciting, but the excitement comes from all the varied things that come with it. My colleagues, being able to help people and make sure that they are happy customers – all this means my work doesn’t always feel like work.”

Photography by Jasper Zwartjes.

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