A day in the life
Erin was at her previous firm for 15 years and had hit a point where she was ready to do something different.“All you ever hear is what a great company Protective is. Great company, great people, great values. When I saw the opportunity here, everything just lined up,” she says. “It’s been a really good change for me. I have been so impressed with how hard-working and how smart everyone is. The reputation is well-earned because of the people here.”
What is a typical day like for Erin?
Every day involves reading documents and corresponding with people. But Erin says every day is different — some days she works on loan documents while other days are spent reviewing basic due diligence.“One of the things I like is that there’s not a typical day. It keeps you on your toes,” she says.
In her role, Erin says it’s important to be very detailed, organized and have a calm demeanor.
“You are constantly interacting with different groups, including new and existing borrowers,” she says. “There’s a lot of variety, and I feel really lucky each day.”
Liz Castillo majored in actuarial science at Florida State University and is currently in the actuarial student program at Protective, which means she is taking exams to become accredited as an actuary.
The process is the culmination of a plan she has had in place since high school.
“I was always really good at math in school,” she says.
She began researching careers that would allow her to apply her love of mathematics. She learned about actuarial sciences, and that led to attending a summer program for minorities at Illinois State University. She got an in-depth look at what it takes to be an actuary, and eventually landed an internship with Protective in 2018.
“I fell in love with the area and fell in love with Protective,” she says. “Birmingham is still small enough that I wouldn’t get overwhelmed with a hectic city. I was also thinking about Atlanta but I didn’t want to deal with that much traffic and that many people. Birmingham felt like the perfect fit. Everybody who works here really loves what they do and really loves working here. I felt like I could start putting down roots in Birmingham and build a life here.”
Liz says just because she set her sights on actuarial sciences early doesn’t mean it’s a requirement for others.
“I’ve found that I’m no more prepared than people who discovered it in the last year of college,” she says. “It’s really about having a passion for math and the insurance industry and just having that analytical mindset.”
What is a typical day like for an actuarial assistant?
As a member of the enterprise risk management department, Liz’s role involves analyzing the risks that Protective faces every day. She does this by creating reports and looking at trends. On a typical day she is manipulating data in pivot tables, compiling data into reports or attending interdepartmental meetings.
Liz recently worked to improve how mortality experience is reported in quarterly risk reports and had the opportunity to work on a project from beginning to end that involved multiple departments and could yield positive impact company-wide.
“I am just coming out of college and for them to say that we value your input on this project has been very meaningful to me,” she says.
As part of the actuarial student program, Liz’s day also includes study hours.
“You can see that Protective is investing in the future of the actuarial students,” she says. “It’s a competitive program and the benefits that Protective offers in the actuarial student program are great compared to other companies.”
Pamela began her career at Protective and recently returned to the company after stints in banking and consulting. She has held positions in computer operations, development, application systems analysis and business systems analysis in addition to working as a scrum master and now as a senior product owner.
“Having a history with Protective, I knew what a good company it was so when I had the opportunity to come back, I was thrilled,” Pamela says. “Being able to blend my technical background with business knowledge and soft skills seemed like an ideal marriage for me.”
What is a typical day like as a senior product owner?
“Is there a ‘typical’ day? Some days are non-stop meetings. My favorite days are the ones where I present a problem from the business partners to the team. Then bringing together all the people that ultimately build the solution that enable our partners to do their best work. Helping them do that work with the assistance — not the hindrance — of technology is always a good day,” she says.
Product owners serve as liaisons between the business and the external systems development team. They collaborate with stakeholders to convert strategy and priorities into tangible business requirements, prototypes, design concepts and product roadmaps.
The biggest challenge for a product owner is balancing the needs of the business partners with the resources, technology and time available. Because of that, a product owner should possess certain skills and traits.
“Communication skills, organizational skills (serious multi-tasking), empathy and diplomacy,” Pamela says. “Having technical knowledge is really helpful as well.”
Je’Cory Ross worked as a developer dealing with fraud solutions in financial services before coming to Protective in 2019.
“I wasn’t familiar with the insurance industry,” Je’Cory says. “As a developer, the day-to-day can be different depending on what industry you support. The idea of learning something new was appealing.”
Je’Cory was also excited to move from Columbus, Georgia to Birmingham.
“A bigger city nets you more opportunities. There’s a lot more to do here,” he says.
What is a typical day like for a software developer?
Je’Cory’s day starts with filling report requests, which involves writing a program that pulls data from different fields based on standards outlined in the request. He also works on small infrastructure changes related to daily processes. Developers at Protective also work on larger projects including customer feature requests or updating and testing system calculations in response to changing regulations.
The role requires patience, motivation, attention to detail and a willingness to learn.
“There’s always an opportunity to learn something new,” he says. “It doesn’t get stale because it’s not the same thing every day.”
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