Meet Antonio Lee
I am Antonio “Tony” Lee, Vice President of National Distribution Management at Arch Insurance. I manage key global broker relationships in the “Big 4” insurance broker community.
How I came to be at Arch, the values that keep me here and happy, and how Arch is going to grow is a full-circle story.
My career in insurance started right out of university as an intern in the Inroads, Inc. program, which takes many first-generation college students from diverse backgrounds and offers them internships in major corporations; many are Fortune 500 companies. I went to work with Zurich Insurance as an Account Executive in the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area, where I learned a lot. Eventually, I moved into a professional liability role at Victor, where I underwrote architects and engineers errors & omissions. I also spent some years as a wholesale broker at Westfield Specialty in Washington, D.C. Then started my own insurance agency in my hometown of Kansas City, Missouri. I grew the agency from scratch and sold it, and it is still in operation today. From there I went back into corporate insurance broking at Lockton Companies.
I joined Arch six years ago and grew from there, gaining recognition for my leadership, relationship skills and collaborating through a “teamwork makes the dream work” mentality.
Bringing Diversity into the Conversation
A couple of years ago, I was at an insurance dinner sitting next to Matt Shulman, the CEO of Arch Insurance North America. We were at a table with a fairly diverse group of people, including several women and other people of color. Matt opened up a conversation about diversity and equity with us. He wanted to know how to attract and retain a more diverse employee base, not just at Arch but in the industry as a whole, admitting that not addressing this would hold us all back. When he asked me the question, I told him about the Inroads Internship program that got me into the industry. Later on, Matt followed up with me and I introduced him to the President of Inroads. Since then, we have had Inroads interns here at Arch every year.
Leaders who seek input from employees and do what they say they’re going to do are a lot easier to follow. I give Matt a lot of credit just for starting that conversation, as a white guy at a table with women and people of color. That took guts. And, he went all the way, following up with me about Inroads, and using his position and influence to bring in interns. It showed me that Pursuing Better Together is a real commitment from the top down, fulfilled by humility and followed through with action, resulting in positive change. I share these values, which is why I’m here.
Meaningful Collaboration Sets Us Apart
Pursuing Better Together is also about partnership. To be successful in working with brokers, it has to be a partnership, with aligned goals, appetites and strategies, so that we, at Arch, understand how we can provide the best solution. This makes sense especially right now, because business risks, as always, are changing every day. In the past, the carrier side of the industry tended to be inwardly focused, mainly because it is a bottom-line underwriting business. Now, our promise is outwardly focused on the customer, and we are thinking about what makes us different, and how we can work together with our partners and insureds.
The edge we have over other carriers is customization and responsiveness, and we achieve this by engaging in meaningful collaboration with brokers who are critical to the success of Arch. In my role, I work with the broker community, using data and analytics to develop strategies that we build together. This sets us apart in the marketplace.
Seeking Diverse Perspectives
One of my goals is to be a key player in establishing and guiding Arch’s distribution strategy to achieve our goals to be a more relevant player within the portfolios of the brokers I work with. This is measured by improving our share of wallet ranking by written premium within the portfolios of our top trading partners. Another goal of mine is for us to break out of entry-level hiring as the only solution for having more diversity in staff. The message I have heard from diverse groups is that they are seeking mid-career opportunities; it’s not an attractive move if the only opportunities are at the entry level. We could relieve some of our issues by this small, intentional change, and work effectively towards our goal of growing Arch with our long- and short-term needs in mind. I believe a team with diverse perspectives leads to optimal results.
Insurance touches everything, and your career at Arch can take you where your interests are. If you’re interested in biology, we have healthcare verticals; if buildings and engineering are your thing, there is a place for you; it really is limitless. Most people don’t consider this industry to have such a wide range of subgroups to work in, but the fact is, every single field has risk that needs to be managed by insurance. People with a background outside of insurance have a diversity of thought, and we need much more of that for our industry to thrive. We can teach the insurance part.
VP, National Distribution Management
Arch Insurance | Kansas City, Mo.
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