November 22, 2022

Arch Canada Employee No. 8 Finds the Career Is Great

Insights North America Canada
Arch Voices

Meet Mary Giunta

I am proud to say I am Arch Canada employee No. 8! I joined in 2005 when the whole group was the CEO, CFO, the CEO’s assistant, three department heads, and two assistants (including me), all working in one boardroom in downtown Toronto.

I got to see Arch grow physically: I saw the cubicles go in and the offices take shape. I continued to grow as the company grew. My first role was as an Underwriting Assistant in the Casualty department, and in the past 17 years, I became an AVP in the Casualty department and the Automobile Manager.

Coming to Arch was a pivotal moment in my career. I had just returned from maternity leave after having my second child, and I wanted to focus on growing professionally while having a good work-life balance. After 10 years in reinsurance, I hit a ceiling and couldn’t see room for growth. I knew the woman who led the Arch Canada Casualty department, and she was hiring an assistant. I mustered up the courage to ask for an interview. I presented what I wanted out of my career, and what I was ready to do to help Arch open its doors in Canada and create something great from the ground up. I was organized and ready to embrace the growth and development I knew this team needed.

A Sweet Work-Life Balance

In June, at the Women in Insurance Conference in Toronto, I spoke about hybrid working environments. Often, women have roles of mother and wife in addition to employee, and I believe that underwriting — particularly at Arch — can offer a sweet balance that won’t make you choose between your personal or professional needs. Working in a hybrid setting supports this. It allows me to make myself available for collaboration when I’m in the office, and I can focus on the detailed, dissecting work when working remotely. Arch is a strong supporter of work-life balance and provides employees with the ability to work in the way that best suits their needs for balance. 

There are so many possible career paths in insurance — underwriting, claims, accounting, actuarial, legal — and people move around. The work is diverse, and yet it all intertwines. An underwriter issues a policy, claims analyzes it, and it all gets woven together. If something interests you, you can have experiences in those areas and gain a richness from seeing all sides of the business. Arch will support this. For me, this has meant that although I am an underwriter, I am also part of the marketing committee, where I both offer my expertise and learn another side of the business.

Arch also encourages you to grow along with your interests. For instance, one person on our team started as a receptionist, then went into the underwriter trainee program, and she is now a Senior Underwriter.

Pursuing Better (Deals), Together

As an AVP in the Casualty department and the Automobile Manager, my direct customers are brokers. I work with them to provide a solution they are happy with and want to deliver to the client. To me, Pursuing Better Together means doing this consistently so that we are our brokers’ first call when they are looking to place a new account.

Internally at Arch, Pursuing Better Together starts from the top. I see it in how we provide underwriters with the ability to make quick and important decisions so that all three of us — Arch, the broker and the client — are pleased with the end product. Arch believes in the underwriters we hire. We trust they have the skill, ability and foresight to make the best decisions, so we give them the tools and capacity to come to the right solutions for our customers.

“There are so many possible career paths in insurance — underwriting, claims, accounting, actuarial, legal — and people move around. The work is diverse, and yet it all intertwines.”

Vulnerability is a Strength

I have three pieces of advice for someone considering a career in insurance:

  1. Do not be afraid to show vulnerability. Back when I started, it wasn’t necessarily allowed for leaders to show vulnerability. It was viewed as a weakness. But my experience has shown me that you can be vulnerable and still be successful.
  2. Be your authentic self, and know who you are.
  3. Find someone who can serve as a mentor, and surround yourself with people who will support you as you learn, and help grow your network. I wouldn’t have been able to succeed in this industry without mentors who helped enhance my skill set. I spent the first half of my career without this. It was only at Arch that I saw how much of a difference having a good mentor makes in both your career and your life.

More Change is Coming, and I Like It!

After 28 years in the industry, I am looking forward to seeing more change in the marketplace. Navigating the changes that market cycles bring is a challenge that keeps us from becoming stagnant. It impacts how we approach our brokers, how they approach us, how we look at a risk, and different ways of marketing. Insurance is evolving, the technology is evolving, and how we underwrite and how we train is constantly evolving. This is what allows Arch and its employees to grow together.

Mary Giunta

Assistant Vice President, Casualty
Arch Insurance | Toronto, Canada

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