Meet Hela Trerotola
I hadn’t intended to work in insurance, but I ended up there straight out of college. I was a math and economics major, and was looking for work when an alumni from my college introduced me to the industry. It sounded interesting, so I prepared my resume and got a job working in management liability. My plan was to work for a few years, leave to get an MBA and start my career in banking. This didn’t happen! The work was so interesting and I loved the social and technical aspects of the business. I did end up getting my MBA but stayed in insurance, moving to Arch where I attended school in the evenings, part-time.
Arch had a solid position in the industry at a time when the financial crisis was making other companies less stable. They had plans to expand, so I felt the time was right to make the jump. Arch wasn’t a household name but had an entrepreneurial mindset that I recognized as an opportunity. There was no Growth and Middle Market department when I started because Arch had historically written larger accounts. Expanding the group and growing the book was a nice change from working for an established company. Arch had a fun energy, a camaraderie amongst team members that still exists now, just with more structure, a more open culture and more autonomy to make and learn from mistakes.
Presently we have a big push to grow, but we are doing this with a strong feeling of support from the team and appreciation from senior leadership. I’ve been at Arch for almost 13 years now, and it’s been an exciting ride full of new challenges thrown my way.
Evolving to Be Better
I have seen a cultural shift in the industry, not only to acknowledge that we are a very white-male dominated industry, but also to open dialogue about why we are this way and push to have a more inclusive culture. Arch has been emphasizing this from the leadership level all the way down. These changes help us work better with our brokers, who are diverse and located all over the country; they help us do more business because of relationships we’ve built based on what we bring to the table; and they help us grow and come up with new ideas from different perspectives.
Arch has invested money and time in improving and emphasizing diversity and inclusion. I recently completed inclusive leadership training through the Yale Executive Management program. This training is important to me as a leader because I want everyone on my team to feel included and welcome. It was eye-opening for me to learn that, even though Arch has very good retention and a comfort level amongst ourselves, not everyone shares this comfort level. This will become more of a focus as we evolve and grow.
“Arch had a fun energy, a camaraderie amongst team members that still exists now, just with more structure, a more open culture and more autonomy to make and learn from mistakes.”
Another way we are growing is by embracing digital technology, which allows us to expand our distribution channels to see more business we may otherwise not see, and to automate processes for efficiency. We are bringing something new to the table that our competitors either don’t have at all, or that may not be as advanced as what Arch can offer. Arch has the talent and expertise to develop these technologies. When I started in the industry (not to age myself!), we were still using pen and paper, receiving files in the mail and requiring wet signatures on applications. When we needed a file we had to physically request it from the file room, which could take days to receive. It’s amazing how much the industry has evolved in the last 19 years, and the efficiency that has come with it.
Taking Care of All Talent
For some people, the ability to get a sense of different sides of the company and change things up helps their career trajectory and builds job satisfaction. Understanding that need is something our leaders have had to be open to. I am very happy that we are a “promote from within” culture and that we encourage colleagues to raise their hands for positions in other areas within Arch. This is so important for talent retention, career progress and development. In previous generations, many people were just happy to have a job they could stay in until they retired. Now, the world is different, and Arch has evolved with it.
Connecting with women in the industry is also important to me. I made lifestyle decisions including having children and having a longer commute to the office that at times, made work-life balance difficult to achieve. I’d like to hear from other women and share what helped me in my career, as I found it comforting to hear from other women that had gone through it before me. Sharing common experiences can be a strong retention tool. In the last two years with COVID-19, we have seen the value in giving people flexibility to do their work, which will go a long way for hard workers who also value work-life balance.
Arch is a wonderful company to work for, with great people who genuinely love the culture and all the exciting things we’re doing right now. It’s a supportive environment with unimaginable growth. I feel valued and feel like my opinion matters.
Five-Star Customer Service
As a customer, I value getting a quick response, easily knowing where to go for more information and being updated about what is being done to meet my needs. I keep this in mind when I think of how we can improve at Arch to deliver that kind of customer experience for everyone we encounter.
Best Business Advice
Early in my career, a manager told me to always be prepared for any and every interaction. You will be judged within the first five minutes of meeting a new person, so whether internal, external, or an informal discussion, be prepared.
SVP, Growth and Middle Market
Arch Insurance | New York, N.Y.
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