August 20, 2020

Committed to Growth During the Pandemic:
Summer eInternships at Combined Insurance

Claire VanDame, Marketing Intern
Committed to Growth During the Pandemic:

During the unprecedented times brought on by the global pandemic, it has been quite complex  adjusting to the “new normal”. With many of us adjusting to different stages in life, we are seeing new approaches and outcomes that are stretching us to learn. Whether it be job security, a child in school, a personal health issue, or all the above, every issue needs a new set of rules and guidelines. For me, being a rising senior in college, I have had to acclimate to an online learning system. Although we are doing our best to adapt, these times were unexpected and have tested our ability to be flexible and make the most out of each experience.  

In February 2020, I received the great news that I would be interning at Combined Insurance, a Chubb Company, in their Marketing department! Shortly after receiving this news, we were all impacted by the effects of COVID-19. We were asked to stay in our homes, refrain from seeing friends and family, and sadly, many had no jobs or internships to go to once the pandemic grew more severe. I immediately became worried that my internship would be compromised and this crisis would interfere with my scheduled May start date.

Many of my colleagues experienced cancellations of their internships, and I feared that mine could also be affected. I was pleasantly surprised and relieved that Combined Insurance decided to move forward with their program, now shifting to a virtual platform, enabling us to fulfill our internship. Combined’s Internship Program guides interns from day one and enriches their experience with additional professional development opportunities.

I was concerned that the lack of face-to-face interaction would inhibit me from the ability to form deep connections with my coworkers and a to have a valuable learning experience. With the use of Webex, it made us feel as though we were in the office. Although we are unable to stop by each other’s desks, I was able to develop meaningful work relationships with everyone in the Marketing department. Everyone was very open to me asking them questions and “stopping by their office”, via video, as needed. The employees made me feel a part of the team no matter the location of my office.

Throughout the internship, I had a fulfilling experience. My supervisor and I had daily check-in meetings to align on priorities and the status of the projects I was assigned. She ensured I was involved in every meeting, as though we were in the office. By listening, observing, and taking notes through the various meetings, I learned how marketing departments operate and how each member plays an integral part. My goal in this internship was to learn a bit of everything so that I can find my niche. Through meetings with each Department head, I was able to better understand their position, department, and what type of learning experience they would be able to offer. I learned about the connections within a corporate environment, how to collaborate cross-functionally, the impact of eMarketing, and much more. There was never a dull moment and every project I was involved in taught me a new skill. In addition to Marketing department meetings, the Talent Management team had weekly check-ins with the interns to ensure everything was running smoothly. All of the interns participated in virtual activities to get to know each other and development seminars to better understand Chubb’s values.

Although we wished the internship could have been in person, the positives of what I have gained outweigh any negatives of not physically being in an office setting. Combined Insurance provided the most fulfilling experience for their interns through engaging development sessions, volunteer opportunities, and the ability to be in constant communication whether via Webex, live chat, or use of our soft phone on our computer. I never felt as though I was missing the ‘office’ experience. As many companies are considering transitioning to remote settings, this internship provided the opportunity to learn excellent personal time management skills, prioritization, and has proven the ability of working independently, all of which I will include on my ever-growing resume!  

Combined Insurance did a great job at creating a well-rounded virtual internship. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Combined Insurance and I will take many of the skills I obtained into my future.