Social Science Scholar: Risk Management Internship

This summer, I completed a 12-week internship with AmWINS Access Insurance Services, a division of AmWINS Group, Inc., at their office in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. AmWINS Group, Inc. is a global specialty insurance wholesaler; they are the largest distributor of property and casualty (P&C) insurance products globally. AmWINS Access is the small brokerage division of AmWINS and has in-house binding authority up to 5.5 million in coverage. My internship centered on underwriting commercial property and casualty products, focusing on risks like catastrophe-exposed property and unique liability exposures.

From the beginning, I was quickly immersed in the insurance industry and received hands-on experience in underwriting. Day-to-day, I shadowed different production teams and worked directly with two team leads, each having more than 20 years of experience as coded producers. I learned how to review submissions, how to evaluate different risks and exposures, and ultimately, how to provide quotes from an array of insurance carriers. As a surplus lines insurer, AmWINS underwriters have more creativity in how they classify and rate risks. I observed this first-hand and even gained experience justifying a rate by learning different sets of underwriting guidelines.

In addition to gaining experience as a full-time underwriter, I also had the opportunity develop professionally through networking, attending meetings with carrier underwriters, and going on marketing trips with different agencies in Florida. This year, as part of the internship program, AmWINS flew all the Access interns to their headquarters in Charlotte, NC for a week where we met with company executives and learned about the many facets of AmWINS Group, Inc. This was a rewarding experience that helped me understand the values that make up AmWINS’ company culture. Lastly, as I previously mentioned, I had the opportunity to meet with different carrier underwriters and hear about trends they are seeing in the market, their risk appetite, and what new programs they are launching for us to quote. This mirrored the marketing trips I went on with agents in Boca Raton, Ft. Lauderdale, and Miami, where I observed how experienced producers built new relationships and gained the trust of their agents when doing new business by being knowledgeable and transparent.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my internship experience and am heavily considering going into production following graduation. What I liked most about the role as an underwriter for a wholesaler was seeing the balance of multiple layers of responsibility. As a broker, it is important to maintain your relationships with both your carrier underwriters and with your agents. To gain trust from both sides, it is important to be an expert at what you do—be ethical, know your contracts and guidelines, and show integrity. Moving forward, I will continue developing myself professionally by going to RIMS ERM in Montreal, Canada, WSIA in Atlanta, GA, and the RIMS Annual Conference in Boston, MA. Currently, I am looking into full-time opportunities for next year and hope to stay in Florida, so I can continue to provide risk solutions for catastrophe-exposed areas. Following graduation, I hope to continue my learning experience by obtaining professional designations like the CPCU (Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter) and the CRM (Certified Risk Manager).

Zara Hood is a junior from Panama City, Florida. She is a double major in risk management/insurance and economics, with a minor in Spanish.

The feature image is from Complete Markets.

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