Filed Under:Agent Broker, Agency Management

Profiling insurance pros under 40: Tom Barrett

Tom Barrett
Director — Environmental/Energy
Everest National Insurance Co.
Liberty Corner, N.J.

Years at company: 3.5.

Training my sights on insurance: I graduated from Seton Hall University in 2005 as a finance major. I had never planned to get into the insurance industry, but when looking for a job on my school's career website, I found a training program for the carrier Crum & Forster. It sounded like a fun and interesting opportunity. In this training program, I went through an underwriting focus, but spent several weeks in claims, loss control, and in Property, Inland Marine and Excess Umbrella. These rotations lasted for six months. After that, we were able to select or rank what department we wanted to work in permanently. I was able to get my first choice — the Specialty Brokers Division — where I did more training for an additional six months and wrote Auto, General Liability and Workers’ Comp through wholesalers. Throughout my training, I was really impressed with how much access we had to senior members of the management team. It was a unique opportunity to get to know them.

My career path: I knew I wanted to stay in insurance after about two years. At that time, I had gained more responsibility and could work more independently. After Crum & Forster, I joined Markel where I wrote casualty business and tough products liability like pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals and invasive medical products. In June of 2012 I joined Everest as an underwriting manager in the Environmental department and was promoted to head of the department in May of last year.

Environmental is broader than you think: You can look at any account and identify a pollution exposure and create a policy or solution for that type of exposure. A lot of brokers feel that a General Liability policy covers pollution exposure, but many times, there's not an affirmative coverage grant — meaning most GL policies are silent with regard to pollution.

Getting involved and recruiting the next generation: I’m a member of the New Jersey Surplus Lines Association and NAPSLO's Next Generation. It's about getting to know other young people in the industry and talking about our common struggles. The insurance industry is doing a better job of recruiting the next generation, but additional actions could be taken. I think more companies have done away with training programs, because you get an employee for two or three years and then they leave. But if a company really invests in its retention, and offers development opportunities — both for your career and for leadership, like public-speaking classes — and offers access to senior management and a good salary, people will stay with the company.

Related: 2015's best insurance pros under 40

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