When you attend eight different schools before you graduate from high school, chances are you become skilled at making new connections. That certainly was the case for Mindy Riza, AVP of Underwriting for Argo Property, who joined Argo in the fall of 2018.
“I had to learn how to make new friends at every school I attended,” Riza says. “I think that’s probably why I’m good at building relationships with agents.”
Born in a small town in Arizona where her Dad was a farmer, Riza’s family moved to California and then later to Texas. After many stops in both states, they settled near Lubbock, the home of Texas Tech University, where she played for the Red Raiders tennis team. It was during her college days that she was introduced to the insurance industry, working between classes for a major carrier.
Shifting gears and discovering a new career
After graduating with a degree in Marketing, Riza continued down the insurance path, working first as a rater, then as an assistant underwriter. Still, she had sights on a Marketing career and talked to her manager about a job as a Marketing rep at the carrier.
“I thought it looked like a good gig because they got out of the office and took customers to lunch. Underwriters? We just sat there in the office,” she says. “Then my boss said, ‘That job is going to change.’ And he was right. In fact, that type of role doesn’t exist anymore. So, I got into underwriting, and I’m still here.”
A back-to-basics approach never fails
Riza has some simple but tried-and-true advice for people just getting started in the insurance field: know your forms.
“When I first started in underwriting, every time I would ask my boss a question, he’d say, ‘Go read the form and come back to me, and then we’ll discuss it,’” she says. “He was right. I think everybody should know their forms – other company’s forms too. It’s very helpful in your negotiations because you can talk knowledgeably about a policy’s similarities and differences.”
Enjoying downtime at the movies or on the road
When she’s not at work, Riza spends time with her husband, Wade, and their two grown children.
“Our kids both played college sports, so a lot of our time was spent going to whatever they were into at the time,” she says. “When they got out of school, we had to find other things to do. Now, we go to the movies a lot. Over the weekend, sometimes we’ll see two, three, four shows.”
Movies are only one part of a good weekend. Riza says they like to travel, from Texas days trips – “You can go a long way in Texas in a day,” she says – to the Gulf of Mexico. And just before joining Argo Property, the Rizas visited Alaska, which had long been on their wish list. And, of course, she still likes to play tennis.
“My son and I play a lot,” she says. “But I’ll play pickup games with other people I meet.”
For someone who’s never had trouble making new friends, that comes as no surprise.
Visit argolimited.com/argo-property/ to learn more about Argo Property.