Meet Ramon Santiago
I came to Arch in September 2021 after working for 20 years in life and health insurance. It was not an easy decision, but it was the right one.
The work was different, first off, because at Arch, I work with property and casualty insurance. This was a great change and challenge that has made me very happy and energized. Time has flown by quickly because it has been an intense and busy period, which I was prepared for because the onboarding and support from Arch is terrific.
What I found invaluable working in an insurance company is you learn things you cannot learn in school. This is what I bring to Arch. I gained varied and vast experiences in different roles. Right out of school, I worked in the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) consolidation unit within corporate controllers, where I stayed for five years. Then, a colleague who was hiring reached out to me about an open position on his asset management team. He thought I would be a great fit, based on the work we had done and our positive interactions throughout the years. I embraced the new challenge and moved to asset management for eight years, where I was promoted a few times and got a completely different exposure to financials. After that, I moved into a financial reporting and analysis role in statutory reporting. They saw my background, with my varied experience in GAAP and asset management, and they knew I would be the right fit for STAT reporting. I got the role and stayed for almost seven years.
Although I loved the organization I worked for, I accepted that I wouldn’t find what I was looking for if I stayed. So, my advice to anyone who might be shy about such a change is to know yourself, know your work, and think about where you want to be. And if you aren’t getting there from where you are right now, look outside of those walls. It is worth the discomfort to get to where you want to be. Don’t doubt yourself or your skills. Be confident in what you have done. There are always things to work on, that’s how we grow.
Let Me Debunk Two Myths
There is a myth that insurance is not technologically advanced. This is not true, especially at Arch. I have seen some powerful technology used here, and Arch provides training so we can advance incredible changes and operate more efficiently.
This relates to another myth that says you have to get into insurance early in your career. My experience is anything is teachable and learnable, provided there is good training available. Arch does this very well. All you need is the desire to learn something new.
Inclusivity Takes Many Forms
My customers are my team. I work on Pursuing Better Together with them by encouraging and setting up the means for collaboration, reminding them we cannot do our jobs all on our own, that everything is interdependent, and if there is a problem, we are all going to work on it together. I also personally encourage the Behaviors of being open-minded and bold, for example, knowing there is never just one way to do something — even if it’s been done that way forever.
I value the diversity of ideas brought by a diverse team. I do this by making room for everyone to have a say, regardless of education level, experience or ethnicity, because if someone has a thought or an idea, it doesn’t matter what their background is. If you’re not in a work culture that values diversity, you will never be heard. This comes from the top down at Arch.
“Anything is teachable and learnable, provided there is good training available. Arch does this very well. All you need is the desire to learn something new.”
At Arch, everybody’s included. I found out quickly that everybody’s involved across all levels here. You don’t get that everywhere. For example, my Vice President knows all the intricacies of our processes, from soup to nuts, and could do the same functions I do if she needed to. This is a testament to the training, the technology, the communication, the attitude and the work ethic at Arch — that we are not just all in this together, but we are set up to help each other if we need to.
Give Yourself a Chance
My career advice is to always have your elevator speech ready, and don’t be shy to share it. You might think someone who is very senior may not want to hear it, but don’t be scared to give yourself a chance to be remembered. Asking for a coffee chat shows you’re interested in advancing your career and learning more about the company. Although I am a relatively new addition to Arch, I look forward to growing with Arch and impacting the growth in my unit and beyond.
Senior Accountant, Statutory Reporting
Arch Insurance | Jersey City, N.J.