Meet Lou Bonanno
I love this industry. People in the industry often say, “Insurance finds you,” and I’m very glad it found me.
My first role was working personal lines insurance. I realized quickly it wasn’t for me because direct-to-customer sales isn’t my strength. I learned my skills are more analytical, and once I figured that out, I moved into the Property and Casualty (P&C) industry in an analyst role. Right away, I knew this was where I wanted to be, because I enjoyed the work so much.
After a few moves and learning more about what my strengths and preferences were, I joined Arch in 2009 as Senior Claims Finance Analyst. In this role, I was responsible for making payments and reviewing expenses to make sure they were in line with our rules.
My natural curiosity about how different parts of the business work together shined through, and I got involved in a project to improve the claims systems. The implementation was ultimately successful: It saved Arch money while ensuring compliance with our rules and guidelines. This was my first success at Arch that was visible outside of my day-to-day work, and it directly contributed to my next move up.
Challenges and Opportunities
In 2013, I moved to the Premium Audit Analyst role at Arch, which was a new discipline in the industry. I learned about workers’ compensation and general liability while doing audits with customers and brokers.
Shortly after, in 2014, I was offered a role at a programs carrier outside of Arch, to help build their Premium Audit department. It was an opportunity to be part of something from the very start, and although it was outside my comfort zone, I am not one to back down from a challenge. In this new role, I would have access to higher-level people in the company because I was building something they wanted and needed, and I got to sit at tables I’d never sat at before. It was a bittersweet decision, because I loved being at Arch and had made great friends and terrific professional relationships.
Along the way I came to understand that accounting is the language of business. Reflecting on my preference for doing analytical work, I started my MBA with a specialization in Accounting and Operations Management. I completed it in 2016 and it continued to pay dividends in my career, including my next move at the company into the role of Director of Program Accounting Operations in 2018.
In 2020, I returned home to Arch as Director of Ceded Reinsurance. I got a call from one of my peers I had stayed connected with from my days at Arch, and I found out about the role. They thought my experiences would be beneficial. This role also gave me the chance to expand my knowledge from direct insurance to ceded insurance, a different type of insurance area with very intricate moving contracts.
A Culture of Connection
What really sealed my decision to return was the Arch culture. I still felt connected to everyone I had worked with before I left.
What’s more, when we moved to remote working during the pandemic, I saw Arch colleagues were not struggling to stay connected with one another, though this was a challenge in other organizations. I knew it was because of the importance Arch puts on collaborations and relationships.
Even now, my manager is in Chicago, and in spite of the distance, I have access to and a strong professional relationship with him.
I was an Arch Experience Captain right from the start and was part of the first virtual cohort, where our leaders connected us to different business units across the country. I was somewhat familiar with the idea of the Arch Experience, but it was not until I began to work with some of the fellow captains that I truly began to understand the commitment to our core Values, which were put on display during every meeting.
As this was still very early on during the rollout, I had opportunities to meet with other captains from different teams, discuss ideas about what was working and what could be done better. The entire process embodied our values of continued learning. Some of the relationships I built are still mutually beneficial to this day, and I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet these people if I had not put my hand up to be part of this important initiative.
Continual Learning and Sharing
Another part of Arch’s culture that I deeply appreciate is the commitment to mentorship.
My mentor helped me move to where I presently am, by helping me see that I wanted to be on the underwriting side, based on my work experiences, certifications and designations. It was a difficult transition to consider. When I learned Property Underwriting was looking for someone with my experiences and skills to tie the understanding of the business of insurance with the operation of insurance, my mentor recommended me.
Since February 2022 I am the AVP of Property Underwriting. I’m thankful for all of my experiences and moves at Arch, and I look forward to learning more and always expanding my knowledge.
AVP, Property Underwriting
Arch Insurance | Jersey City, N.J.