When she was in college, Cassie Wideman heard that underwriting was a good fit for introverts.
“That couldn’t be further from the truth,” says the Argo Environmental underwriter. “No matter what aspect of insurance you’re in, it’s about building relationships.”
Wideman initially envisioned a career as a neonatologist, but she changed direction in college to pursue a business degree in risk management.
“It suited my personality well,” she says, explaining her inclination to analyze and carefully consider situations.
Putting down roots
Long before she set her sights on an insurance career, Cassie Wideman moved with her family every few years until they landed in Atlanta when she was 11.
“I told my parents, ‘This is the last time we’re moving.’ They said, ‘Deal.’”
Wideman put down roots, attending the University of Georgia and launching her career in the Atlanta area, working in automobile insurance. She considered other options before pursuing specialty insurance; prior to joining Colony Specialty in 2015, she worked as a substitute elementary teacher to see if her calling was in the classroom.
In the end, she chose environmental insurance, an area of the industry that piqued her curiosity because its constantly changing landscape seemed challenging.
“I do love the variety and being able to look at these different accounts and analyze them instead of going through the motions,” Wideman says. “I love that it’s a more unique and tailored line of coverage compared to personal lines.”
Competition – a challenge that never stops
The environmental insurance market is highly competitive, Wideman says.
“That’s been the most difficult part, being able to compete but not just on price,” she says.
“Coming up with different growth strategies, finding new channels and avenues, continuing to provide excellent customer service, and being a dependable carrier that the broker can count on.”
Advice for others just starting in the industry
Building on experiences is key to career growth, Wideman says, as is being open to exploring different areas of the industry.
“Learning everything you can in the position you currently are in just helps you more with the next step,” she says. “You can still learn a lot from where you are right now, and that can put you in a better position for where you want to go.”
Family time and helping others
An only child, Wideman enjoys spending time with her extended family and going out on the lake with her parents to wakeboard.
“We call [my father] Captain Dan because he handles the not-so-fun parts of getting the boat ready,” Wideman says.
Fixing up the house she recently bought has also provided ample opportunity to pick up new skills.
“I’ve learned electrical, a little bit of plumbing, how to take out different kinds of floors, and install baseboards,” she says. “It’s a hobby that I wasn’t necessarily intending. It’s been more interesting than I would’ve thought.”
Volunteering is important to Wideman, who pitches in at a nonprofit in her community to help people find resources to weather tough financial situations. She also mentors students in the risk-management program at her alma mater.
Her late great-grandfather inspires Wideman. He was a World War II veteran who started his own chemical distribution business, raised eight children with his wife, and earned his master’s degree late in life.
“I just try to work hard, be a good teammate, be kind to people, and help when I can and where I can,” she says. “At the end of the day, people are out there who need help. I’ve learned kindness and humility from my great-grandfather, and I try my hardest to emulate that in my daily life.”
Learn more about Argo Environmental at argolimited.com/argo-environmental/.