Reflections on a Great First Year

By: Dave Fowler, Divisional Vice President, West Profit Center

David Fowler

Having joined from a large, generalist insurer, I continue to be impressed at the breadth of products we offer and the collaborative spirit of the department. Regional differences create different opportunities for marine underwriters, and the Great American suite of products allows each office to grow in the most profitable areas. The resulting “centers of excellence” freely share insights and expertise via work on product line committees and in referral/clearance consultations. The value of this collaboration cannot be overstated. From hull/P&I risks in the Northwest to freight forwarding clients in Southern California, this diverse specialization allows for success across many segments of marine insurance.

The team in the west is highly regarded for their areas of specialization and business acumen, and the unique broker/agent relationships we have tend to be centered on specific areas in which we excel. This recognition translates into receiving opportunities on the agent’s very best business, which is exactly what we want.

By: Gordon Lewis, Divisional Vice President, Metro Profit Center

Gordon Lewis

Joining a new company during a pandemic has had its challenges. The first and perhaps steepest challenge has been learning all new IT systems remotely, including finding underwriting reports and basic HR functions like approving PTO. I am grateful for the support of other divisional managers who have been generous with their time and guidance.

Another challenge has been getting to know my team and for them to get to know me. While I have managed employees remotely before, I have never had to “meet” an entire team remotely! I think it took everyone (myself included) quite a long time to become comfortable with connecting via a video camera. When we implemented a monthly video call, this helped not only me to connect with my new team but for them to reconnect with each other. Luckily, our regional team gathered for a small barbecue over the summer, so I could finally connect with colleagues in person. All in all, we have done an excellent job of getting to know each other in less-than-ideal circumstances.

Despite these challenges, everyone stayed focused on their goals, and we had a very successful 2020 in terms of production and underwriting results. I look forward to connecting in person with all Metro producers when travel resumes. We appreciate your continued support of Great American Ocean Marine.

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