When I was younger, I wanted to live in a ski town and own a shop, preferably selling chocolate and flowers. Once in college, I figured a business degree might be helpful, so I majored in business administration at Bucknell University. After graduation, my now-husband, already working as an Errors & Omissions (E&O) broker in San Francisco, California, sent my résumé to AIG. I interviewed and began working there in 2003.
At AIG, I was part of the Professional Associate program, where I trained to be an underwriter, primarily in the Management Liability group. During my three years at AIG, I learned so much about underwriting.
Taking Risks Pays Off
Considering a move to Arch was a significant risk for me. This was in 2006 when Arch was just a few years past its founding. However, the company’s reputation in the industry was positive. Arch was known to have good people who were very sharp intellectually and real go-getters. I wanted to be a part of that and was looking to build on my existing relationships at a new company.
Once I got here, Arch’s small size allowed me to get involved and truly understand how underwriting works, from soup to nuts. Then, Arch’s opportunities were based on working hard to build relationships and earning our new business. It was a great challenge.
I joined Arch when we had to prove we deserved a seat at the table. This hunger tapped into a drive and motivation in every team member that continues to exist today.
We are strong collaborators with high-quality standards in our work and responsiveness to internal and external customers.
Employees Are Our Greatest Asset
Arch is committed to its employees.
I started at Arch as a Senior Underwriter in San Francisco, California, in 2006. In 2008, my husband was accepted to graduate school in Boston, and I thought I would have to leave Arch because we did not have an office there. But Arch allowed me to join the Northeast Region team and work from home. I really appreciated the flexibility of being able to work remotely before that became the norm.
The fact that Arch did this shows that they were not only ahead of the curve in retaining people but also supporting my success and longevity at Arch.
Once my husband finished school, I was able to transfer to the West Coast and took an Underwriting Manager position. A few years later, I became the Regional Vice President of the West Coast, representing Executive Assurance.
Relationships Come First
I often joke that Executive Assurance is a kind of ambassador-type role. You go out and meet with brokers and clients and try to make connections between different Arch groups, all while being the face of Arch. Our end clients are a variety of private and public companies under $1B in revenue. The brokers are our key trading partners: They are the ones who give us the opportunities to compete for their business.
Presently, I oversee our Growth & Middle Market (GMM) team for both our Central and West regions. It’s been gratifying and exciting work, meeting brokers and insureds from around the country and finding the best way to build relationships and empower the team. There’s never a boring day.
Advice to Myself: Preparation Leads to Confidence
Something I wish I had told myself early on was to show confidence. Regardless of who was in the meeting, knowing that I deserved to be “at the table” was vital. I want our underwriters today to always feel that way. I remember times I kept my questions to myself because I wasn’t sure of the perfect words. Then, the moment passed. I finally got to the point where I would tell myself, “Just go for it!”
What helped me gain confidence was being prepared. That is another piece of advice I would pass on. Preparation allows you to react confidently to whatever surprises come your way.
I have always felt trusted and empowered at Arch to learn from my mistakes. This is a big factor contributing to my love of working here. The management and senior leaders believe in us and our abilities to take on the challenges in this ever-changing market. I’m so lucky to be part of such a high-caliber team of underwriters.
SVP, Executive Assurance
Arch Insurance | San Fransisco, C.A.