Meet Matt Stener
I was in the U.S. military from the ages of 20 to 26. It was a formative time in my life, with a multitude of opportunities for growth. I got married and had a plan to go into law enforcement, but I suffered an injury, and those plans were sidetracked. I finished my undergraduate degree in political science and a graduate degree in business administration, and I decided I could use my education and military skills to transition to the business world. A friend suggested I apply to an insurance company, and so, my career story began.
I applied for my first job, and soon I was doing underwriting support for large commercial construction accounts. After a couple of years, I talked to a recruiter and came to Arch. Joining Arch has been one of my best decisions. Before my injury, I never considered insurance. Once I got into it, I realized it is ubiquitous. There are so many opportunities because there is nothing that insurance is not a part of. I wouldn’t call insurance glamorous, but the underlying complexities and sophistication of the work are fascinating.
I work on a team called Arch Advantage, which is a global, centralized operations team with teams across the U.S. and in the Philippines. Our team works 24/7 across time zones. I am responsible for improving efficiencies. That includes helping to automate our processes so our internal customers and our underwriters can focus on what they do best. My focus is on expediting their work so they can be freed up to do their best work, allowing them to maximize their skill set of underwriting.
My advice to anyone with questions about their career is to take chances. I know it is hard. My personality is such that without having clarity in opaque circumstances, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. However, moving forward in such instances and taking calculated risks is an integral part of growth. An insurance colleague once told me that I don’t have to be an expert and know every detail of what I’m currently doing before moving on to a new challenge. Arch encourages taking chances. There’s an entrepreneurial culture and atmosphere of growth, constantly scaling new growth opportunities and encouraging changes wherever there is a business case or advantage for it. This is a big difference from other, older insurance companies that can be like archaic monoliths, where making change is a major undertaking.
Arch Is an Idea Incubator
At Arch, change sets the stage for creative solutions and efficiency. I saw this as soon as I started at Arch. After taking an Excel course at our Arch University, I was able to create a simple device on Excel for time-tracking productivity logs. The log used to take between one and two hours every month for every Arch employee. The tool I created turned the task into a 20-second upload. My manager asked me to share the tool with others, and I ended up training everyone to use it. Now people here and in some of our other regions use it every day. It wasn’t some great feat of Excel engineering, but it was something that was neat and saved time. Everything about the way I was encouraged to share the tool showed me that this is a place that encourages, celebrates and values initiative. As a result, Arch is an incubator for the continual, incremental improvement that is so key to our business, specifically the work we do at Arch Advantage.
“At Arch, change sets the stage for creative solutions and efficiency.”
Military Training Helps Me Achieve Ambitious Goals
In the military, we are trained to work towards our goals under pressure and as part of team. No matter what is going on, you still have a mission to accomplish. The act of not quitting builds up a resilience that helps you move to the next step.
That’s true of Arch, too.
One specific ambitious goal is to reduce our clearance time, also known as “submission clearance,” an important process in insurance by which brokers will submit applications for insurance to Arch. The clearance team goes through these submission applications and confirms there are no other conflicting submissions for the same item being insured. This prevents Arch from working on multiple submissions for the same thing, and thereby competing against ourselves. Speed and accuracy are crucial to this process. The time taken to make a clearance decision is time underwriters cannot work on pricing and quoting accounts, which translates to opportunity costs. We are looking at software and how we can automate different parts of this process. Every small thing leads to incremental improvements that add up. And, we have made progress: When I started, the window was two to four days; we are well ahead of that now.
Although I’ve been in the industry for only three years, I have been afforded the chance for many experiences during that time. However, there is much more to learn, and many more opportunities to grow. For anyone who is ambitious and motivated, working at Arch is a fantastic opportunity.
Business Operations Specialist, Arch Advantage
Arch Insurance | St. Paul, Minn.