Insurance Is Not Boring: Take It From This Young Brokerage Executive

Brokerage executive Felipe Jose Cuartas of Gallagher says the insurance industry is full of promise and opportunity for young people launching their careers. 
By: | January 6, 2020

As a finance major in college, Felipe Jose Cuartas assumed his career compass was pointed at investment banking or consulting. But fate stepped in, in the form of a friend who’d had a positive experience in Gallagher’s internship program. Intrigued, Cuartas applied, and soon learned that the insurance industry had more to offer than he ever imagined.

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“I realized this industry was perfect for me when I learned how important relationships were,” he said, “and how I could excel at work by doing what I love to do — building great relationships.”

Cuartas notes that working in the brokerage field is also a great fit for his competitive spirit, keeping him engaged and energized.

“I love the competitive nature of what I do,” he said. “When I walk into an important meeting, I experience the same excitement that I felt when I used to walk out on a soccer pitch before a big game.”

Most importantly, after his first summer as an intern, Cuartas connected the dots and realized that many of the aspects of finance that intrigued him could apply to his work in insurance.

“The great part was that I could begin applying those concepts in a competitive atmosphere.  If I could work hard and succeed for the organization, I would directly benefit as well.”

Cuartas thrives on the full customer experience, from the thrill of earning a new client’s business to the satisfaction of keeping that business and helping clients achieve their goals.

“I am the one who gets to tell their stories to our insurance markets and be their advocate to get them the best deal.  That means when I sit in front of any company, I can commit to them that I will be personally responsible for taking care of their business going forward, and that’s very important to me.”

Please Don’t Call It Boring

Cuartas’ experience working in the industry, from his internship to the present, has left him with a sharper view of how dynamic the insurance world is, and how it looks nothing like the public’s misperception of insurance as staid and boring.

“What makes our industry unique is that … you are there to put people’s lives back together. We have the opportunity to come into the picture when someone needs us the most – after a loss.

“We can then provide them with financial security, lifting a huge weight off their shoulders in a time of uncertainty.  Everything that we do along the way is to do our best to get someone back to the life they were living as fast as possible.

“Insurance is one of the most interesting jobs I’ve ever [had],” added Cuartas. “Quite honestly, when talking to most of my friends about their jobs, they always find that what I’m doing is just as interesting as — if not more interesting than — the many jobs they’ve tried.

“I love the competitive nature of what I do. When I walk into an important meeting, I experience the same excitement that I felt when I used to walk out on a soccer pitch before a big game.” — Felipe Jose Cuartas, account executive, Gallagher Global Brokerage

“Every day in this industry I feel that I’m challenged and learning. And when I am good at what I do, [well compensated].”

Cuartas is also invigorated by the broad and fast-moving changes around us, and how they’re all tied to insurance in one way or another.

“This is the most exciting and challenging part of our jobs,” he said. “Insurance touches all industries everywhere in the world.  This means we have the opportunity to leverage innovation to better serve our clients.

“I am passionate about new technologies, and how I can use them to drive positive change for my clients and keep them abreast of ways they can use these technologies to have a competitive advantage in their industries.”

Support for the Next Wave of Leaders

A strong proponent of the importance of mentoring, Cuartas expressed gratitude for one of his own mentors. Gallagher Bassett’s Joe Zinga, Senior Vice President, Risk Management Sales.

“When I started at Gallagher, I had a lot to learn,” said Cuartas. “It was a powerful experience when someone like Joe Zinga – who has been incredibly successful – believed in me and invested time and energy in teaching me day after day, even when he had very important things to focus on.”

The broker believes the industry does a great job of providing opportunities to succeed and to be mentored.

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“There are many experienced people in our industry who help young people entering our industry know how to conduct business and succeed.”

Cuartas said he would not hesitate to encourage young people to explore careers in insurance. In fact, there’s perhaps never been a better time.

“They get to learn about anything they’re passionate about and help companies in that world succeed.  They get to use their understanding of emerging technologies to help business leaders who need them.

“It’s an industry that will be looking to younger generations to step up as leaders. This is an industry where you can build a lifelong career and achieve great success.” &

Michelle Kerr is workers' comp editor for Risk & Insurance. She can be reached at [email protected]

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The R&I Editorial Team can be reached at [email protected]