Interview with LAMP Alumni: Part 3

Venecia Snaith continues our LAMP alumni interview series with her insight and experiences in the industry, PLUS, the the LAMP program. For more content on diversity & inclusion from PLUS, you can read posts here on the PLUS Blog, or watch our member webinar series.

Venecia Snaith is currently employed at Ullico Casualty Group as the Lead Senior Underwriter in the P&C department. Her book of business include underwriting fiduciary and D&O/EPL coverages for multiemployer Funds, Municipals, and union entities. In addition to her underwriting duties, she is also in charge of training and development of the underwriting team. She was instrumental in designing quarterly interactive team training sessions to keep the underwriting and claims team abreast of changes in laws, industry risks, and future trends which could impact policy coverages. Venecia enjoys training and development and also makes her expertise available to retail and wholesale brokers in ensuring insureds’ coverage needs are being met. Venecia is currently finishing a master’s degree in Industrial Organizational Psychology with a focus on leadership and diversity, and she is also studying for the RPLU designation.

How did you get your start in professional liability insurance?

I decided to make the switch from general liability specialty when I realized how much broader professional liability insurance was. At that time, I had worked in general liability for nine years and became intrigued with professional liability after attending seminars and listening to industry experts.

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced thus far in your career?

The biggest challenge I have faced in my career thus far is finding ways to be an exceptional underwriter without it being a factor in not moving to the next level. I have been told by a superior that they didn’t want to lose me as an underwriter and I feel that this has been a factor in my career stagnation.

How did you hear about LAMP? What made you decide to apply?

I heard of LAMP through a PLUS announcement and decided to apply because after reading what it was about, I felt that LAMP could give me valuable information that would assist in taking my career within the insurance industry to the next level.

What challenges in your career or in the industry were you facing that you thought LAMP would help you tackle?

I felt that LAMP could provide me with a mentor who was versed in the insurance industry; who would be equipped with knowledge, tips, and suggestions that I could utilize in the furtherance of my career. I also felt that LAMP would open up networking opportunities to learn from other seasoned veterans in professional liability as well as hearing from other peers.  

What was the most valuable aspect of the programming (e.g. orientation, webinars, mentor, attending PLUS events, relationships with your cohort)? Why?

Every aspect of LAMP was valuable in my opinion. I was intrigued from orientation and the support that was received from PLUS was great. The webinars were informative not only for professional growth, but they also were relevant to how I was as a person outside of the work environment. These webinars really allowed me to see myself more objectively and reevaluate preconceived notions. Working with my mentor Pilar Summerville has been very fulfilling and she has imparted valuable knowledge and suggestions that have help me within my current position thus far.

What takeaway(s) from the program have you implemented in your own life/career and how has it benefitted you?

Definitely assessing a situation before responding and knowing what my goals are and what it will take to accomplish them and also what could be a possible hindrance.

How has LAMP changed your career path?

Nothing has changed as yet however, I am speaking up more and voicing my professional goals to my superiors.

How do you think LAMP has, or will, impact the PLUS community? Impact the industry? What else do you think companies and individuals should be doing to bring about change?

LAMP has impacted the PLUS community by providing a medium for minority groups to have their professional roadblocks and goals heard and solutions provided. We still have ways to go however, shedding light on the struggles in the professional liability insurance industry as a minority is good step in bridging the promotional gap in companies especially at the executive level.

What advice would you give to someone from an underrepresented group who is thinking of entering professional liability insurance? Someone who is in the field but looking to advance their career?

It is a good career industry to be in and there is always room for growth. Reassessing goals, personality traits, and rapport with other team members is vital in taking the steps to advance your career. Portray the attributes and attitudes that you would want in a leader you would be happy to follow.

PLUS Strives to be a Model of Inclusiveness

A message from PLUS President Todd Greeley

PLUS has a long history of being a forward-looking organization that values all members and different opinions. It has encouraged diverse thoughts and respects all views. It strives to ensure a welcoming environment in all that is does.  And it has and remains filled with passionate leaders who care about their fellow members, co-workers and customers. This is being tested even more so today as the spotlight shines brightly on the continued need for change and social justice in the United States and around the world. PLUS is committed to fulfilling its core mission in a way that will help our industry and our communities address these important issues. To that end, I’m excited to outline in this post some recent changes to PLUS’s highly successful Leadership And Mentorship Program (LAMP) that we think will enhance PLUS’s contribution to driving positive change.

Since the formation and adoption of PLUS’s first Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Committee and D&I plan, PLUS has continued to advance its D&I efforts, most notably with its LAMP initiative. LAMP provides members from traditionally underrepresented groups in the PL industry with leadership development, along with mentorships and opportunities to engage with PLUS leaders. Entering its fourth cohort, the program continues to build momentum. One of the successes about which we are most proud is the number of LAMP “alumni” who are now leaders and key contributors to PLUS. This diversity within PLUS’s volunteer leadership makes us even stronger. But again, we know this is just a part of PLUS’s continuing path toward greater equality, and we recently decided to make a change that we believe will move us even further down that path.

You likely have seen that the PLUS Foundation recently changed its mission. The PLUS Foundation has changed to meet the needs of its members and the industry many times in its relatively short lifetime. Now it is changing again to meet our industry’s evolving priorities. Seeing the need for greater workforce development and ensuring opportunities for all, the PLUS Foundation will shift its focus to advancing tomorrow’s workforce through outreach, education, mentoring and giving back. In doing so, it will support individuals and groups that face obstacles to advancing their career and that have been traditionally underrepresented in the PL industry, particularly in senior management roles.

In light of the Foundation’s new mission and focus, and after much deliberation, PLUS has decided to transition LAMP from PLUS to the PLUS Foundation.  We believe doing this will better serve the needs and goals of LAMP and its fantastic participants. We also think LAMP fits perfectly alongside the Foundation’s successful Women’s Leadership Network (WLN), which provides thought leadership, mentorship and education to advance women in the PL industry. This will allow the Foundation to utilize its expertise and expand the focus on this already successful program to benefit LAMP. To aid in the LAMP transition, and to provide continued counsel for the Foundation Board, the Foundation is also forming a D&I Advisory Committee. This committee will include several past LAMP participants.

This shift of LAMP to the Foundation does not mean that PLUS is diminishing its effort on equality. In fact, it is quite the opposite. We will be heightening of level of commitment by forming a Board level standing committee that will focus on ensuring PLUS looks through the equity lens in all that it does. We recognize our size in the landscape of this large industry, and that our corporate partners have far more and resources to wield in moving the industry in all matters around diversity and inclusion. As a result, we feel our most impactful option is to focus our resources on the PLUS organization, members, volunteers, staff, events, and offerings. This focus will allow PLUS to lead by example, while also expanding its opportunities for all to be heard, have access to, and participate equally in PLUS.

No doubt these are challenging times, but also opportunities for great leadership. PLUS accepts that challenge and will lead by ensuring broad perspectives are considered in every facet of the organization. This clear focus and the actions that follow will hopefully be a model for others.  Thank you for the opportunity to serve you over the last year and I look forward to being a part of this effort to ensure equality and provide inclusive opportunities for all in our industry.  

Interview with LAMP Alumni: Part 2

Our LAMP alumni interview series continues with responses from Eric Tu on his experiences in the industry, PLUS, the the LAMP program. For more content on diversity & inclusion from PLUS, you can read posts here on the PLUS Blog, watch our member webinar series, or attend the upcoming PLUS Foundation webinar, An Open Conversation About Race in the Professional Liability Industry, on Wednesday, October 14th at 10:00 a.m. ET. You can register for this webinar on the PLUS website here.

Mr. Eric Tu currently serves as Assistant Vice President within AXIS Capital’s Professional Lines Division. In this role, he oversees the profitable growth of a market leading specialty insurance portfolio, specifically in Financial Institutions and Executive Risk. Eric works with a broad array of FI and commercial clients ranging from private enterprises to Fortune 500 corporations. In his five years at AXIS, he has helped develop innovative risk solutions to his clients as well as AXIS’ trading partners. More recently, Eric is supporting a company-wide initiative at AXIS in partnership with the organization’s D&I committee. As part of the advocacy team, they’ll provide Unconscious Bias training to AXIS employees focused on promoting diversity and inclusivity in and out of the workplace.

What was the most valuable aspect of the programming (e.g. orientation, webinars, mentor, attending PLUS events, relationships with your cohort)? Why?

LAMP has so much to offer, it’s tough to pick just one. The value of the program comes from a combination of various facets to maximize each candidate’s exposure. Through networking, mentorship, formal training, peer evaluations, the most valuable aspect is its multi-dimensional approach to provide a well-rounded experience.

What takeaway(s) from the program have you implemented in your own life/career and how has it benefitted you?

A major recurring theme revolved around taking ownership of your path both personally and professionally. Being self-aware of your own competencies, aspirations, and formulating an action plan to accomplish your goals becomes second nature. Holding yourself accountable is an effective reminder of this. 

How has LAMP changed your career path?

One of the program’s many benefits includes access to PLUS’ continuing education resources. LAMP emphasizes the importance of technical proficiency and supports its members in their pursuit of this knowledge. There is no substitute for sound expertise and this experience enabled me to further my learning.