Meet Randy Paez
I started in insurance as a software engineer, writing medical bill review and claim systems for a small startup. At the time, I knew nothing of insurance; I just needed a job, and they were hiring. I grew my skills and career there, gaining experience by talking to customers, partners and investors. I was entirely too young and green to be talking to these folks, but, I was presentable. There were more senior people who could have done this, but I am a firm believer in saying yes to opportunities.
After years of working in insurance, I left the industry and went into education, tutoring underprivileged kids under the U.S. “No Child Left Behind” legislation. It was important and meaningful work for me because I didn’t grow up in a great area, but I was lucky enough to have parents and people who ensured I wasn’t left behind. The social mission aspect of this work spoke to me, as well as the opportunity to use my technical skills to solve business problems. Following education, I switched industries again to work in digital health and media at WebMD.
The Bleeding Edge of Technology
I was passively recruited back into insurance, and I had doubts because insurance is not known for being at the bleeding edge of technology. I came across an opportunity at York Risk Services Group to help build a company that aspired to grow and needed strong leadership to make it happen. I spent eight years there, starting as a young VP of Engineering and ultimately becoming their Chief Information Officer, building a huge multiline, multiservice company along the way.
After a few twists and turns, the opportunity to join Arch presented itself.
“Arch is a tech-forward company. Our team feels like we are running a tech company inside of an insurance company. We are a service organization and a people business, with technology underpinning nearly everything we do.”
Arch has a wonderful reputation: “If you can work for Arch, you should,” was what I heard. I’ve been here two years, and I can truthfully say this is an incredibly focused and talented group, with a true commitment to the human. Every company is focused on the bottom line, but with Arch, the bottom line includes the employee and the customer.
Another attribute of Arch’s reputation is the company is made up of good people who care for and take care of each other; competitive and compassionate professionals who have a strong drive to succeed, but to do so as a team. I once read a quote from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who said, “our culture is friendly and intense, but when push comes to shove, I’ll settle for intense.” Initially I was drawn to the statement, but over time, I realized that sentiment didn’t resonate with me. We should not sacrifice our cultural values and lose sight of each other in the name of success and profits. When I heard about Arch’s reputation for having a supportive environment while pursuing and achieving excellence, I knew Arch would be a good fit for me.
Enabling Business Through Technology
Arch is a tech-forward company. Our team feels like we are running a tech company inside of an insurance company. We are a service organization and a people business, with technology underpinning nearly everything we do. Our work ensures that underwriters and actuaries can select and price the best risk, that our claims and operations staff can service our customers, that all of our employees can thrive in their chosen profession, and that our customers can trust Arch.
By doing our work well, Arch plays a societal role: We enable the entrepreneur to start a business because they feel safe that their investment is protected; we help an injured worker put food on their table while they heal and get back on the job; we go into communities and help rebuild after a catastrophe.
This social aspect of insurance is the reason why I’m still in the industry after all this time. Insurance ultimately allows us to engage in community care and to respond in the event of need, to gainfully employ thousands of people, and to return shareholder value to those who invest in our mission.
Every single individual employee of Arch Insurance is also one of my customers — from Sasha who sits at the front desk, to Cassie who is a business analyst, to Brian who runs our property group. We deliver software to some; we are advisors and mentors to others; we make sure everyone who needs a keyboard or headset to be productive gets one. Truthfully, I don’t think of them as customers, because I believe that calling somebody a customer creates a relationship component that has a transactional value. I rather think of them as people who have a need that we can assist with.
Best Advice: Say Yes, and Learn from Fails
If I could go back in time, the advice I would give my younger self is, “say yes.” You will feel afraid, you will be unsure of yourself, but say yes anyway, and then prepare yourself as best you can.
Another piece of advice is that failure is your friend. You have to embrace it, allow yourself to get out of your comfort zone and do something you’re not sure you can do. I have a 1-year old son, and my fiancée and I allow him do dangerous things carefully. He’s going to climb onto the back of the couch. We can make sure he doesn’t fall, while allowing him to explore what it is like to make the climb.
It’s the same thing for your career, as it has been for mine so far, and I look forward to rapidly learning from taking chances in pursuing better and saying “yes.”
Chief Information Officer
Arch Insurance | Jersey City, N.J.