Company: The DominionPosition: Territory Underwriter, specialty in commercial lines programsEmployed: 4.5 Years Degree: Bachelor of Business Administration from Wilfrid Laurier University, with a concentration in Finance and Minor in Philosophy; Chartered Insurance Professional (CIP) and Fellow Chartered Insurance Professional (FCIP) designations from the Insurance Institute of Canada (IIC)What drew you to your current field?While at Laurier, I learned that I'm an individual who values entrepreneurship. I was looking for an industry that would develop and grow my professional skill set, while allowing me control over my day-to-day work. A friend who had completed their business co-op introduced me to the opportunities available in insurance. After more research about the industry and professional designations available, I felt I was well suited for a career here. How did you find your current position? My career at The Dominion has developed quite quickly over the past five years. I began as an underwriter trainee in commercial lines and ultimately moved to the position of senior underwriter. Commercial lines at The Dominion has undergone many changes recently, and with these came the expansion of our team. I have now been working as a territory underwriter with specialty commercial lines since May of 2011. As changes were occurring, I was seeking the opportunity to work with a team that would play a pivotal role in the growth of our commercial lines team, and help to lay the foundations for the revitalized program.
Tell us a bit about your responsibilities.My current job reflects much of what initially drew me to the insurance industry. I work for a company and a department that values teamwork while allowing for individual success, recognizes the growth potential for individuals, and is at the cutting edge of innovation. 'm responsible for underwriting and managing a portfolio of national commercial lines programs. Working with independent insurance brokers, the territory underwriters create insurance solutions for businesses in our territory that want to be insured with The Dominion. We learn quickly about the world around us: our portfolios dictate the industries and trades we must quickly become experts on!
What is the most challenging aspect of your position?The dynamic nature of the business is a challenge. Insurance is incredibly fast-paced, and this is very evident in commercial lines underwriting. We're constantly learning about new industries and businesses and it can be challenging to deliver in your role while you're still learning. It's a constant evolution that I find energizing and exciting. What skills have you learned through your work experience?My work experience has provided me with invaluable on the job learning. My undergraduate degree and insurance designations have been critical to my success, but my work experience is what truly allows me to grow as a professional.
Businesses management and negotiation skills are two areas that I feel I have developed during my time at The Dominion. Managing business relationships can be a challenge, and this industry is certainty not filled with 9-5 desk jobs. It requires an ability to adapt, to work with different types of people, and manage your portfolio and network as they grow. What do you think it takes to be successful in this career?Like most, this career requires the big four: time management skills, organizational skills, people skills, and communication skills. A career in insurance requires a base level of knowledge about the industry. The Dominion provides both base and ongoing education for all employees delivered through various internal courses, while the IIC provides knowledge and training through professional designations that are nationally recognized. Those who are adaptive and flexible can excel in insurance ÔÇô particularly those who can apply these principles to their client relationships. What advice do you have for students looking to land their first job?Job-hunting can be a challenge and you'll have to work to find a good career match ' anyone who has entered a new industry can vouch for this. Based on my experience, my best advice would be to keep an open mind. You may find opportunities that match your skills and interests in industries that, at first glance, may seem stagnant or difficult to break into. Develop and maintain a network of contacts that know you and your capabilities. Opportunities will come to you from those who know you best. Sponsored by Rogers