Rising Star Chirag Patel’s Challenging but Rewarding Path in Natural Resources Insurance

“Natural resources is a unique and sometimes challenging sector of the commercial insurance space. We must stay up to date on numerous rules and regulations that our clients face.”
By: | January 5, 2024

Come see the Stars! As part of our ongoing coverage of the best brokers in the commercial insurance space, Risk & Insurance®, with the sponsorship of Philadelphia Insurance, is expanding its coverage of the Rising Stars, those brokers who represent the next wave of insurance brokering talent.

Look for these expanded profiles on the Risk & Insurance website and in your social media feeds throughout 2023.

Here’s our conversation with Chirag Patel, account executive at CAC Specialty and a 2023 Traditional Energy Power Broker winner.

Risk & Insurance: How did you decide to embark on a career in the insurance industry?

Chirag Patel: Like a lot of others, I “fell into” the insurance industry.

I graduated college in 2010 with a degree in finance and a goal to get into the banking industry, which was still reeling from the 2008 financial crisis. The career path I had always dreamt of did not seem like a stable and viable option.

I took a couple insurance courses in my time at the University of Houston and they piqued my interest, so I decided to pivot to insurance. Zurich was hiring new graduates and was offering a two-month training program at its North American headquarters in Schaumburg, Illinois.

I interviewed with multiple groups within Zurich and was ultimately hired by the energy casualty team.

R&I: Can you explain your role at CAC Specialty?

CP: I am an account executive at CAC Specialty, which means I am responsible for maintaining our current book of business and working alongside producers to secure new business. I work on the overall strategy and execution for the property and casualty.

R&I: What sets the natural resources space apart within the insurance sector? And how do you stay abreast of this segment of the industry?

CP: Natural resources is a unique and sometimes challenging sector of the commercial insurance space. We must stay up to date on numerous rules and regulations that our clients face — from governmental agencies, along with ever-evolving underwriting guidelines from our insurance carrier partners.

This requires reading and watching the news daily and meeting with underwriters to gauge how they view the natural resources landscape.

R&I: What do you strive for when it comes to client relations and service?

CP: We view ourselves as an outsourced risk manager for many of our clients that do not employ a formal risk manager. We are stewards of their money and have a duty to get them the best coverage and premium possible.

At CAC, we have stringent guidelines on how quickly certain tasks need to be completed for our clients.

I personally try to make myself available to our clients anytime they need me and respond to any requests the same day.

R&I: What do you find most rewarding about the insurance industry in general and the natural resources segment in particular?

CP: I revel in finding creative solutions for clients that help them manage their business in a more effective way.

The natural resources segment in insurance is tricky, and I find myself asking questions and researching topics daily, which keeps things interesting.

R&I: Who do you see as a mentor and what motivates you to delve further into the industry to continue to develop your skills?

CP: I have had many mentors throughout the years and try to learn something from everyone I work with. I am motivated to develop my skills so I can better help my clients solve their insurance challenges.

I want to also be seen as someone who others look to in difficult situations, and this requires a lot of work in honing your craft.

R&I: What excites you the most about the future of the insurance industry and your role in it?

CP: I think commercial insurance is a people business that will be here for years to come. Technology has certainly helped make us more efficient and gives us access to information in an instant.

However, I am excited that I will always need to sit across from my clients and learn about their business and individual needs. Likewise, I am fortunate enough to be able to cultivate and maintain relationships with the various underwriters, many of whom I consider friends. &

Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Maura Keller is a writer, editor and published book author with more than 20 years of experience. She has written about business, design, marketing, health care, and a wealth of other topics for dozens of regional and national publications. She can be reached at [email protected].

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