The Culture of Growth at Continental Underwriters, Inc.
Today, it’s becoming more and more common for people to have shorter tenures with an employer. But at Continental Underwriters, Inc., we foster an atmosphere of growth. Our goal isn’t just to keep our employees around for the long haul. As each teammate becomes more knowledgeable and experienced, our customers are better served and the forest products industry is better supported.
How CU Helps Grow Careers
Career development is a cornerstone of Continental Underwriters. At the highest level, our team encourages everyone to learn from other employees and gain the skills to make positive career moves. Many of our more senior employees started out years ago in support roles.
For example, our Marketing Director, Melissa Berry, began her insurance career as a Technical Assistant and Assistant Underwriter. As she grew her administrative skills, she became positioned to take on new opportunities and responsibilities that emerged at the company. As Melissa shared, “It pushes you to be a better person when you’re around others who are doing good things.”
More specifically, many of our employees require continuing education (CE) for their licensure. Continental Underwriters doesn’t just cover the cost of the CE classes that our employees need, we encourage our employees to pursue the level of education that they personally aspire to. That includes graduate degrees.
Woody Stanchina: From Intern to MBA
Woody joined the CU team as an intern in 2015 as he was finishing his undergraduate degree in Risk Management and Insurance. Woody’s work ethic and passion for insurance—he was VP of Gamma Iota Sigma, the International Risk Management, Insurance, and Actuarial Science fraternity—made him a natural fit as a fulltime Production Underwriter after completing his degree.
But Woody wanted to take his career even further with a Masters of Business Administration (MBA). He spoke to our President and CEO, Preston Herrington, III, and received the full support of CU. After several years of hard work, Woody has recently completed his MBA.
As Woody shared, “Leadership gave me generous scheduling flexibility, taking Friday afternoons off every week and additional time when I needed it. But the whole team helped me reach my goal. When school work started to build up, my teammates would help me manage my workload at CU.”
What Growth Means for Our Customers and Partners
Woody’s MBA doesn’t fit neatly into his role at CU, and it doesn’t translate directly to greater revenue for the company. But it does broaden Woody’s capacity to grow his career and strengthen his ability to serve our customers and partners.
As Woody said, “It gives me a better sense of all the facets that make a business work—accounting, finance, management, and statistics—and the ability to see the big picture of things.
It’s also helped me become a better leader. Not only can I connect to business owners and groups, but the team growth internally has helped me be a better mentor to my peers and has also allowed me to spend more time on the road with customers and prospects, knowing that my team has everything taken care of in the office day to day.”
What Our “We Proposition” Really Means
We often say that a powerful company is made up of empowered employees. Fostering career development is one of the ways that we empower people.
Our Underwriting Analyst Team Lead, Olivia Wood, CPCU, actively promotes the insurance industry to young professionals and freely offers her advice to anyone looking to improve their recruitment efforts. Melissa Berry works to promote jobs in the insurance industry for women and has done speaking engagements at Women in Insurance conferences.
Every member of our team helped create the “We Proposition”, and it has become a guiding light for our organization. Fostering growth is just one expression of the culture we have at Continental Underwriters, Inc.
Are you looking for a partner in forest products insurance that does things differently? Are you interested in starting or advancing a career in forest products insurance?