February is Insurance Careers Month, sponsored by the Insurance Careers Movement. During this month, many different talent-related events will be taking place to inspire a new generation to choose insurance as a career. RPS is committed to promoting the insurance industry as an exciting career opportunity through our summer Internship Program. This month, as a nod to Insurance Careers Month, we are featuring some of our talent and their success with RPS and the industry.
My journey to insurance was a no brainer—my father spent the majority of his 89 years selling insurance, so I basically grew up in the industry and knew I wanted to follow a similar path. I started out underwriting general casualty and business, and then found my way into the excess and surplus space.
I immediately loved working in the industry because I could be creative. Nothing was in a box. Everything I saw had unique characteristics that couldn’t get placed into a standard market environment. It gave me a platform and the ability to be creative with my approach.
That creativity led to the founding of Risk Placement Services in 1997.
When we started the company, the goal was to survive and to model ourselves as an independent provider of specialty products. Along the way we expanded into other areas. We started on the brokerage side, and within a year of starting out, we moved into the binding side with our first merger. We were really one of the only firms at that time that was specializing or trying to grow in that space. Today, there’s a lot of interest.
There are a lot of ways to be successful within this industry, and as the old cliché goes, there is no substitute for hard work. The ability to find the right people to fit the personality of your company is key. A top goal should be to build a strong foundation. Surround yourself with people who are smart — even smarter than you. I may not be the smartest guy in the room, but I am smart enough to know to hire smart people. In my experience, if you get the foundation right, you can survive the test of time.
In addition to my role as President of RPS, last year I assumed the role of president of WSIA. I’ve spent a lot of time on industry work—like how to better portray our industry, because it’s grown so big in the last 15 years. We’ve been working on making sure we continue that growth, focusing on the professionalism of our side of the industry and removing some of the mystique surrounding it when we talk to our clients.
I truly believe in this industry. I believe you can have a lot of fun in it, and you can be as creative and successful as you want to be. Growth is always important. Always. If you’re attached to a company that’s growing, you’ve attached your career to growth opportunity. So focus on a growing company in a growing industry, and then the opportunities will be endless.
For someone who wants to be creative and help solve challenges, our industry offers opportunities that are second to none. Especially for younger generations that have grown up with technology, combining insurance expertise with digital innovation is an exciting prospect. You can hear the noise and feel the energy—the insurance business is a captivating place to be.