12 \\\\\ RISING STARS
COMPANY: BROWN & RIDING
JOB TITLE: CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER
2017: Chief operating officer, Brown & Riding
2016: Senior vice president, operations, Brown & Riding
2015: Vice president, operations, Brown & Riding
2007: Assistant vice president, property broker, Brown & Riding
2005: Commercial lines underwriter, The Hartford
Why did you choose to go into the re/insurance industry?
Shortly after graduating from the University of Texas at Austin,
I was introduced to the world of insurance by a friend who was
visiting me at the time. He had recently taken a job at The Hartford
as a commercial lines underwriter. Not being familiar with the role,
I began asking a few clarifying questions.
Unfortunately for my friend, a few questions turned into 50,
and although I didn’t understand half of the acronyms he used,
I knew the high-level of autonomy, company culture, and growth
opportunities he described were for me. A few months later, I was
lucky enough to become an underwriter myself.
Do you think the industry is attractive to young professionals?
Although the insurance industry continues to make strides by
improving and expanding its recruitment activities, unfortunately
the true nature and inner workings of our industry continue to
be somewhat elusive. Consequently, many young professionals
find themselves attracted to more well-known or seemingly more
exciting industries or companies.
Those familiar with the industry, however, know it truly offers
something for everyone. Whether you want to be on the cutting
edge of technology (insurtech, cyber liability, etc), test your sales
acumen (retail broker, production underwriter, etc), leverage your
quantitative skills (actuary, catastrophe modelling, etc), assist those
in need (claims, insurance charitable foundations, etc), or influence
public policy (Department of Insurance), there’s something within
the industry to fuel anyone’s passion.
“One need only look at my
own insurance career to know
that this industry has much to
offer in the way of opportunity
and career development.”
Do you think the re/insurance industry offers good
opportunities and career development to young professionals?
One need only look at my own insurance career to know that this
industry has much to offer in the way of opportunity and career
development. I started my career as an underwriter trainee in a
Fortune 100 company, and in 13 years I have had more job titles
than I can count, worked with some of the best people and mentors
anyone could hope for, and now find myself fortunate enough to
be a senior executive and shareholder at one of the largest surplus
lines brokers in the country. Trust me: if I can do it, any young
professional out there can as well.
What are your aspirations for the future?
Since joining Brown & Riding, I’ve watched the company grow
fivefold. My goal is to help B&R grow another fivefold while
maintaining our independence and amazing culture. Along the way,
I want to help the next aspiring leaders in our industry get the same
opportunities and mentorship I’ve been fortunate enough to have
during my career.
If you had chosen a different profession/career path, what
would it have been?
I’ve always fancied the idea of being a professional poker player. n
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