Former Surrey man reflects on successful insurance transition.

Former Surrey man Freddie van den Bergh has made the most of his networking skills as he has pursued a second career in the world of insurance.

Van den Bergh, 28, left the game at a relatively young age when he was released by Surrey last year, but that has not stopped him from laying the groundwork to be successful in a completely different industry to the professional game.

Despite the challenges posed by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the spin bowler has nailed down a position at Hiscox UK, an award-winning insurance company, on the back of work experience and internships undertaken in early 2020.

Freddie spoke to the PCA about his experience of leaving the game during the Association’s annual Futures Week, an initiative designed to highlight the area of career transition and personal development amongst PCA members.

“I’ve been at Hiscox for the last two months,” van den Bergh said, “I’m in the operations team in the London market, which is the biggest insurance market in the world. I’ve just finished an eight-week training programme with them and just joined up with the team this week.

“At the moment my role involves reviewing various different policies and risks, making sure that the premium we’ve signed has seen the payment come in, or whether we’re missing it. I also make sure that everything is processed correctly into our system for when we need to look up certain risks.”

Van den Bergh’s departure from the professional game came just before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, meaning he entered into one of the toughest job markets in living memory. Identifying the support networks he needed in place to cope in such circumstances, he says, was key to his successful transition.

“At the start, it wasn’t easy. Luckily I had a very good support network around me who helped me through that tough initial stage when things were shutting down.

“Once things started to open up again I just got my head down and started applying – the more applications you do, the more natural you become at answering those questions. It’s just practice, practice, practice.

“Obviously the lockdown presented its own challenges but, once I had started there, Hiscox had a great system where the new starters were in the same position and could ask each other questions all the time.”

Van den Bergh lists communication and teamwork amongst the most important qualities he developed during his career in professional cricket. In attending events such as the 2019 PCA Futures Conference, he also recognised the importance of gaining transferable skills more generally.

“Teamwork, leadership and performing under pressure – I’d say those are the big three skills that you talk about a lot in interviews. It’s invaluable to show it’s not just about cricket – I try to use examples away from cricket to showcase that I’ve got a wider spectrum and a broader number of things to offer as well.

“Looking back, gaining my bachelor’s degree in Sports Science has helped me no end and is something I would really recommend that people get if possible. Without it, I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today, looking to go down that route of a career in insurance.

“My message to fellow PCA members in my position would be to be as prepared as you can possibly be. Get your CV up-to-date and be ready to go and use your contacts and networks where you can. It can seem intimidating reaching out to these people but once you get over it you realise that people are willing to help.

“If anyone reaches out to me I know exactly how they feel and I’m willing to help out however I can.”

Freddie is happy to speak to PCA members about career transition. Email communications@thepca.co.uk for further details.

Find out more about Futures Week and the PCA’s Personal Development and Welfare Programme (PDWP).

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