An Underwriter’s Perspective
Creating a positive working environment is essential to the overall success of all who are involved; this includes the relationships that are formed both internally and externally of an organization. By forming a healthy working relationship, it allows the possibility of both parties to have positive outcomes in their respective industries and careers.
While there are many paths to take in creating and maintaining healthy relationships, one of our seasoned underwriters gives us her perspective and tips on how to achieve a positive relationship between an underwriter and a broker. While she gives her viewpoint as an Underwriter, these tips can also be used across many different industries and positions.
Michelle Whitecotton, Executive New Business Underwriter & Bond Account Manager writes:
As I reflected on my position as an underwriter, I began to think about what brings me the most joy in my career. I immediately began to think of the brokers that I interact with on a daily basis, the relationships we have formed and the bonds we have made.
Working in the moving and storage industry, the tendency to form close personal relationships with the people you work with is almost inevitable; however, it is important to keep these relationships positive and upbeat. This industry can at times be hectic. It is true more so now than ever, as we all try to navigate our way through these ever-changing times. These expected and unexpected challenges make the connections we have with our brokers more important than ever.
Some of the ways that I have found in my career that helped establish and maintain the relationships that I have are as follows:
- Answer the phone. It is paramount to good customer service and goes a long way to show your brokers that you are available and ready to discuss issues of any sort.
- Respond with a smile. It doesn’t matter how stressful your day can be, positivity goes a long way and your attitude is easy to translate in a phone call.
- Randomly call your brokers to check up on them even if it may not be directly business related. A simple greeting, wishing them a good weekend on a Friday or touching base on a Monday to discuss the latest game that was on T.V. can make a big impact on the bonds you form.
- While visiting offices to meet one-on-one has been put on hold, other personal connections such as video calls are still important in continuing a long-term relationship.
- Most importantly, be your authentic self. It goes a long way in building a trustworthy relationship with anyone.
Some important attributes in maintaining a strong relationship:
- Communication- This is important even when delivering not-so-great news.
- Transparency- Be authentic, open and honest.
- Know your product- Be ready to discuss new and current programs.
- Know your broker on a personal level- Get to know them outside the business.
- At the end of the day, be kind – We really are all in this together.
Lastly, know what inspires you and keeps you motivated at the end of the day. A lot of my positive affirmations come from Henry Ford. Some of my favorite quotes from him are below.
“Teamwork — coming together is a beginning.”
“Keeping together is progress.”
“Working together is success.”
Written By: Michelle Whitecotton
Michelle has been with Paul Hanson Partners for 17 years, quickly becoming a leader in the Underwriting Department for the last 10 years. She was an integral part of the team in transitioning the company to becoming paperless back in 2004 and continues to be an essential team member throughout all departments. In her spare time, Michelle enjoys spending time reading, baking and spending time outdoors hiking and fishing.