Snohti Nmah, Senior Underwriter for Argo Environmental, learned growing up that she’d have to adapt quickly to new environments. Of Liberian descent and born in Utah, she moved many times before eventually settling in the Atlanta area.
“Being able to adapt to people from different backgrounds and cultures made it easier,” Snohti says. “I was always switching schools and had to learn to make friends quickly.”
Snohti began her career as a bank teller, a job she started while working toward a degree in managerial science at Georgia State University.
After graduation, she “fell into” insurance, initially working as a claims analyst. She transitioned to underwriting a couple of years later, seeking a new challenge.
Since then, she’s found that adaptability has been an important part of building a successful environmental underwriting career.
Thriving in environmental underwriting
The difference between claims and underwriting, Snohti explains, is about the difference between cause and effect.
As a claims analyst, her job was to determine the cause of an incident. In underwriting, she’s looking at all the potential risks to which the client or company might be exposed – or everything that could go wrong.
She says it’s led to a change in mindset that’s common for underwriters: wherever she goes, she’s looking for risk.
“It’s a reason I don’t go to amusement parks anymore,” she jokes. “I started thinking about all the possible things that could happen.
“Every time I go somewhere, I’m thinking, ‘Do they have adequate insurance? What if someone slips and falls? Are there signs to warn people?’ As you get further into underwriting, that’s how your mind operates.”
Snohti says the key to success in underwriting is an ability to relate and maintain relationships with people of different backgrounds and personalities.
Her advice for developing these relationships is simple: pick up the phone.
“First starting out in underwriting, I was quick to just shoot off emails,” she says. “The more I talked to my clients, the more I’d just pick up the phone. We can have a relationship through a hundred emails, or we can just have a quick two-minute conversation and build a rapport.”