For some people, the thought of leaving the warm days in sunny Southern California for a place where snowflakes fall is, well, a chilly one. Matt Nguyen is not one of those people. This Orange County native moved to Queens, New York, to attend St. John’s University and has since put down roots – personally and professionally – in New York City.
Nguyen studied finance at St. John’s and, after graduation, took a job in the banking industry, but he soon realized it wasn’t the right fit. That’s when a friend recommended that he check out a role at a large insurance carrier.
He was hired as an underwriting assistant in the corporate casualty group, and that’s where things began to click. Nguyen was learning more and more and soon saw the possibilities of an insurance career.
“I really became interested in the deal process, what happened behind the scenes to bring a deal together,” Nguyen says. “And I wanted to learn even more, to sharpen my negotiation skills, and I looked forward to someday being in a lead role.”
An insurance career takes shape
A year later he moved on to another large carrier where he worked for more than three years in underwriting roles focused on E&S primary casualty. Nguyen joined Argo Casualty this past spring as a senior underwriter, focused on helping grow the company’s primary casualty book – specifically in the real estate and hospitality areas.
“I saw it as a unique opportunity at Argo, and I’m excited to be here,” he says. “This is a modern, tech-driven company that thinks outside the box in our underwriting. Also, I believe in our vision for the Casualty division, which is growing fast.”
Words of wisdom: patience and discipline
Nguyen says he has found the key to his early success, and it’s an approach he recommends to anyone getting started in the insurance industry: Read everything thoroughly, be patient, and be disciplined. He also suggests identifying a career mentor or two.
“The best advice I’ve received so far was from a mentor. He told me to be the most technical person in the room,” Nguyen says. “It pays to know a topic inside out because that is who the client will gravitate to, and that’s why being curious and asking questions is essential.”
No such thing as downtime
Outside of work, Nguyen is always on the go, taking advantage of the activities and dining available in New York City. When he’s not playing basketball or flag football, he’s watching sports – he’s still loyal to his hometown Los Angeles Lakers and Rams, as well as UCLA Bruins. He and his friends travel as much as possible, he says, with recent trips featuring snowboarding excursions to the French Alps and to the Canadian Rockies.
Food is another of Nguyen’s passions, which he shares on his popular Instagram account, Mister Rice Guy NYC.
“A couple of years ago, just for something fun, I started posting photos and making recommendations at restaurants my friends and I were going to,” he says. “Sometimes I’d let my Instagram followers know where I was going to eat, and people would show up. It really took off.”
And then some. In 2018, Mister Rice Guy NYC was named by the food website Eater as a “Top Up and Coming Food Blog.”
Though Nguyen is in the early part of his insurance career, he can see it as a destination and not a stop along the way.
“Things are always changing in insurance and in the industries that we cover,” he says. “You have to stay ahead of the curve, learn new things and find ways to deliver solutions that make sense for the customer and for Argo. That’s what attracted me to insurance, and it’s what excites me about my job.”
Visit https://www.argolimited.com/argo-casualty/ to learn more about Argo Casualty.