December 12, 2022

Perseverance, Strength and No TV (For a Little While)

Insights North America United States
Arch Voices

Meet Nina Brik

During my first 10 years at Arch, I worked in Finance Construction and National Accounts Casualty (CNAC). I loved every moment of it. The people I worked with became my close friends and supported me through both my personal and professional journey.

I completed my MBA in Accounting. Arch allowed me to have a good work-life balance so that I could complete my studies over five years while working, and the company helped me pay for the MBA and my CPA preparation exams. It was still a lot of work, because I was in grad school while working and while taking care of both of my kids.

Sometimes, when I look back, I don’t know how I did it! I suppose I found the strength and the drive to persevere because I wanted it. I gave up TV back then — I needed the time for other things — but I enjoy watching television again now.

A career in insurance can take you anywhere. In my experience, a single lateral move can result in huge growth opportunities. Insurance is so many things: you could be selling it, underwriting it, doing financials, legal, actuarial, coming up with modeling and so much more. In addition, there is a culture of good work-life balance in insurance. This is important for me and my family. I see a lot of women at Arch in leadership positions, so I know it’s possible to get to where you want to be and still have your personal life.

After completing my MBA and CPA, my manager asked me what my career goals and plans were, pointing out that I had been working in the same area for a decade. I had kept an eye on openings, but I never applied because I thought the roles required skills I didn’t have. Plus, I was an expert on my team, bringing the value of my experience and performing very well. I was in a good place, and I decided to stop looking.

“I see a lot of women at Arch in leadership positions, so I know it’s possible to get to where you want to be and still have your personal life.”

Eventually, the Right Opportunity Found Me

The VP of my department had lost several team members in a short period of time, and then approached me with a role in Accident and Health (A&H). It was a lateral move, not the promotion I had expected to be my next step. I spoke to some of my mentors, who pointed out the value of learning new business without adding higher-level responsibilities, and I decided to take on the new role.

Gaining Confidence from Challenges

The A&H world was completely different from the world I had come from. CNAC is about high premium/low volume transactions, but in A&H, it was all high volume, low premiums, and many different products covering many different groups. I had to learn it fast because the job needed to be done. I had done this before — learning something completely new — back when I started in the CNAC area. I was confident in myself, because although I didn’t know much about A&H business, I knew Arch as a company and its people. I had academic qualifications, and, most importantly, I had desire to learn and succeed in my new role.

My new manager was incredibly supportive and a great teacher. He spent time explaining how things work and then gave me the chance to develop and improve the process. He empowered me by setting an expectation that I would change things as I saw fit, and so I was able to do things such as automating reports and making them more control driven, which helped us out.

Two years later, this experience helped me gain confidence when I had a new manager who was relentless about improvement and had a lot of questions about the processes my team engaged in. While answering her questions, I realized I have a lot of knowledge and bring a lot of value to the team. I saw that even if I didn’t know the answer right away, I was capable of figuring it out, and that was an opportunity to improve and streamline the process further. We built even more efficiencies and control checks into our reports, which made them more timely, accurate and supportive of our explanations.

To grow in your career, be bold and take the opportunities that come — even if you’re afraid of them. It’s advice that got me to where I am today, and I know it will keep me growing in new directions in the years to come.

Nina Brik

Assistant Vice President, Financial Reporting
Arch Insurance | Jersey City, N.J.

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