A Day in the Life Series, brought to you by FuturePLUS, dives into different roles in the Professional Liability industry to give readers an idea of what a typical day for the role looks like.
In this edition of A Day In The Life, we will give readers an idea of what the typical day looks like for an Account Executive. Carlos Serio from Marsh has kindly volunteered to give our audience an exclusive look into the typical Day In The Life of this fast-paced career. In this edition we will discuss Carlos’s background, the variety in his daily tasks, the skills that ensure success in this position, and finally, for what has become the trademark of this blog, a picture of his adorable dog, Mupsy.
Account Executives are responsible for the holistic management of individual accounts, serving as a main point of contact, liaison, and trusted advisor to their clients. They help cultivate effective long-term relationships with clients (and client decision makers) by monitoring changes within their client organizations to update new business and renewal strategies while preserving their own company’s business plans and profitability goals. Account Executives must develop a thorough understanding of their clients’ business, risk management and insurance needs to ensure the services offered to them are able to meet their specific needs.
What is your current position? What was your major in college?
I am a Senior Account Executive, responsible for strategic oversight of accounts, serving as the primary liaison between clients and the various resources within Marsh. In this role, I interact with clients, carriers, and internal teams, such as brokerage and industry practices, legal, finance, and compliance.
I graduated from Florida International University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. Go Panthers!
What positions have you held to date? Why did you get into the insurance industry?
I started my career as a Risk Analyst, completing administrative tasks such as certificates of insurance, invoicing, document preparation, filing, etc. From there, I’ve elevated to various levels of account management roles at several prominent brokerage firms. I got into the industry because I saw first-hand from my mother, who is also in the industry, that if you are willing to work hard, there are tremendous opportunities for challenging and engaging work.
What do you love most about your position?
I love the breadth of my position. I am a naturally curious person, and my role affords me the opportunity to work with clients across multiple industries and engage in all lines of insurance needed by large companies. In a given day, I can work on optimizing the data quality of a statement of value for a large real estate client’s property renewal, analyzing securities litigation loss modeling for a publicly traded client’s D&O renewal, and reviewing IT security controls that a financial institution client will need in order to maintain favorable coverage terms on a cyber renewal. Oh, and making sure a client gets their certificate of insurance on time…
What professional designations do you hold (if any)?
I hold the CPCU and RPLU+ designations. I credit PLUS and the RPLU designation with giving me a strong technical foundation. Understanding terminology, concepts, and applicability to real life scenarios are the building blocks for technical development. Analyzing my clients’ business models, both from an operational and financial perspective, assessing their associated risk tolerance and exposure to loss, and viewing those through the lens of an underwriter or adjuster are critical skills that allow me to excel in my role, and the RPLU courses were instrumental in developing those skills.
What skills make someone successful in your position?
Beyond technical acumen, time management, organization, and prioritization are by far the most essential skills needed to succeed as an Account Executive, simply because of the sheer volume, pace, and variety of items that need to be managed. Beyond that, strong oral and written communication skills, and the ability collaborate well in large teams are critical. Most times, I am communicating with CFO’s, Risk Managers, and General Counsels, so conveying information clearly, accurately, and professionally are very important. I also wouldn’t be successful without the large team of amazing colleagues that help deliver the best Marsh has to offer for our clients.
What does your morning routine consist of?
I like to wake up early to allow ample time before starting my work day. I usually get a work out in, eat a light breakfast, and drink some Cuban coffee while catching up on the news of the day. Once I start working, I use the first 15-30 minutes to set my priorities for the day.
What tips do you have for hosting meeting effectively?
For virtual meetings, be prepared in advance to ensure that your audio and video are clear, and any presentation that will be shared on screen is functioning properly. We have all witnessed or been victim to technical issues during a meeting, and they always seem to distract from the main objective.
How do you achieve work-life balance?
I do my best to get adequate sleep, so that I can wake up early to exercise. I try to avoid virtual meetings during lunch, so I can step away from my computer, have a real meal, and decompress before going into the second half of the day. I tend to work late during the week, but set the boundary of not working on the weekend unless it’s an emergency. I think work life balance is a process we’re all trying to get better at…
What do you do to ensure you are progressing in your career and continuously learning?
I try to take a balanced approach to learning, expanding outside of just insurance. I subscribe to various business, political, and cultural commentary outlets, and I feel like the more well-rounded I can be, the more effective I’ll be at my job. But I do always make sure to read the PLUS daily top stories, which always come in handy when talking to clients!
What is the most challenging part of your day and how do you tackle it?
The most challenging part of my day determining when to end it… In my role, you are never truly “caught up”, and there is always more that needs to get done. I’ve learned that it takes more discipline for me to stop working, than to keep going into the evening. I try my best to tackle this by being intentional about setting cut offs, so I can sustainably maintain high levels of energy and focus throughout the year.
What is your favorite part of the day and why?
My favorite part of the day is getting to interact with clients. I consider myself so fortunate to be able to work with and learn from so many successful people and organizations.
What advice would you give your younger self?
You are where you need to be right now.
What is one of your goals you are working towards and have not yet accomplished?
Use all of my vacation days…
What can the insurance industry do to attract and retain talent?
Highlight the opportunity for lateral and upward career mobility, and the attractive compensation. Many young people have no idea what a career in insurance can lead to. And then follow up on those things; foster and reward hard work with upward mobility. As an industry, we will need to continue hiring massive amounts to people to support the growth and generational transition.
Do you have a professional mentor? Could you describe this relationship?
I have a few professional mentors. My mother, Georgina Serio, instilled in me a strong work ethic, sense of urgency, and high standard of excellence. My colleague, Anthony Nowakowski, has always been kind, patient, and generous with his time and knowledge, and empowered and trusted me to push beyond my comfort zone. And lastly, my leaders, Michael Parrish, Julie Layton, and Janette Wilcox, have supported my professional development every step of the way, coaching me and holding me accountable, providing career advice, and helping me learn the soft skills needed to be successful. I am so thankful to have these folks in my life.
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