An Insurance Career Proves a Homerun for one Argo underwriter

Insurance Career Proves a Homerun for One Argo Underwriter

Before he built a career in insurance, Kevin Libeg was living his baseball dream.

Argo Construction employee Kevin Libeg

Kevin Libeg had just finished four successful years as a right-handed pitcher for Youngstown State University’s baseball team when he signed a contract to play professional baseball with the Cleveland Indians organization.

But at the end of the 2006 season while pitching in the minors, Libeg suffered a shoulder injury that required surgery, and he was released from his contract soon after. Not ready to hang up his cleats, he headed to Scottsdale, Arizona, to give his professional baseball dream one more shot. Libeg’s fastballs didn’t recover their former speed, however, and a contract didn’t materialize after he worked out with several teams before spring training.

“So here I was, a Midwest boy in Arizona in the month of February,” he says of what he thought was a temporary move. “I hadn’t signed with a team, but it was 75 degrees and sunny, and back in Ohio there were two feet of snow.”

Finding a challenge – and an opportunity ­– in insurance

Libeg chose to stay in the sun. He began his career in sales, a good fit for his degree in finance, and later worked as a wholesale broker in the financial services industry. Libeg made the transition to insurance after learning about the sizeable talent gap forecast in the industry. Twelve years later, Libeg is an underwriter and construction specialist for Argo Construction – and he’s still in Scottsdale.

“I realized that this was what I wanted to do for my career,” he says.

In his current role underwriting large contractors, Libeg enjoys learning about the application of emerging technologies, such as smart hardhats, drones and virtual reality.

“I’ve even seen robots that are able to lay brick and rebar,” he said. “I love seeing the technology integrate into this industry.”

One of the biggest challenges in his field, Libeg says, is the possibility that careful underwriting can be upended by the unexpected.

“You can do everything right underwriting the risk on the front end, but the insured could have an accident or a lawsuit that results in a large claim,” he said.

Advice for those launching their insurance careers

When asked what advice he has for those just getting started in their careers, Libeg doesn’t hesitate. His first tip: Order materials for professional designations and set a testing date.

“The longer you put it off, the less likely you are to get them done,” he says. “They provide a much better understanding of the insurance industry and will only help your career.”

His second tip: Seek out mentors, “be a sponge and learn all you can.”

That second piece of advice has served Libeg well. One of his mentors urged him to read Secret Service: Hidden Systems That Deliver Unforgettable Customer Service, by John DiJulius. The book solidified Libeg’s own commitment to providing top-notch customer service, something he said has been indispensable in building relationships in the industry. Simple acts such as answering the phone are important and prove that customer service doesn’t have to be hard, he says.

“It’s your name, your reputation,” he says. “Care about what you do. Take pride in your work.”

Enjoying time with family and friends

The youngest of three brothers, Libeg grew up in the small town of Hubbard, Ohio.

“I loved growing up in that environment,” he says of his hometown. He credits his dad, a CPA, for setting an example of hard work and commitment to family by working long hours during tax season while managing to attend his sons’ games and events.

Baseball isn’t the only passion Libeg has carried into adulthood.

“I’m a huge ping-pong player,” he says, recalling how his friends would come over to play matches in his parents’ basement, a tradition he keeps up by hosting the “Libeg Invitational” for 20 of his high school buddies every year.

“This will be the 18th straight year we’ve held the tournament,” he says. “We get funny T-shirts made and give out awards. It has evolved into a really fun tradition that’s helped us remain in touch over the years.”

Libeg enjoys hiking, biking and working on home improvement projects with his wife, Ashley.

“We love to get our hands dirty and do the work ourselves,” he says.

More than a decade after his entry into what Libeg calls “the real world,” he still makes time to play in recreational baseball leagues to keep up the sport that taught and gave him so much, including the opportunity to lead his college team to the 2004 NCAA Tournament and set several records.

“I’ve been all over the country, I got my college paid for, made some of the best friends in the world and gave it everything I could,” he says.

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