Scott Kelley learned the value of teamwork and perseverance through multiple deployments during eight years in the U.S. Navy.
“It made me a better team player, focused more on the whole operation rather than on just me as an individual,” Kelley says. “It gave me the will to get through things that weren’t working out how I wanted them to.”
Answering the question, “Is insurance a good career?”
When he was transitioning to civilian life after the Navy, including two years at sea, Kelley took a job working as a personal lines insurance agent for his wife’s uncle. He moved on to work for the brokerage Woodruff Sawyer, where he specialized in financial institutions coverage for publicly traded commercial accounts.
The contrast between his military and corporate careers came into focus when Kelley attended his first underwriting event.
“This is a great industry,” he recalls thinking. “I don’t have watch from 4 a.m. to 8 a.m., staring at a screen on a six-month deployment in the middle of the Persian Gulf.”
Finding the right balance
Kelley joined Argo Group in 2018 and is an underwriting manager for Argo Pro.
“My biggest challenge is balancing my relationships with brokers, giving them enough attention and finding a way to help them out, while being conservative with how I deploy our capital,” he explains.
Yet, those broker relationships are one of Kelley’s favorite things about his job.
“I have people whom I consider good friends now,” he says. “I enjoy financial institutions because there is such a variety of risk, from a giant private equity firm to a small business-to-business vendor. It’s challenging and also very interesting because I get to see cool risks.”
Learning from the pros
Kelley recommends those new to the industry identify colleagues who are on top of their game and emulate them. But above all, he encourages new professionals to perfect the art of knowing when to let go.
“Don’t sweat the small stuff,” he says. “You are going to win some deals and lose some deals. Don’t sweat every single deal like it’s the only one or the last one you’re going to get. Realize in the end you are going to be able to take care of business.”
Enjoying time in nature
When he’s not at work, Kelley enjoys golfing, and he feeds his passion for nature with hikes and family trips to Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks.
“Being in a national park is the best medicine,” he says.
Kelley fulfilled a dream when he went shark cage diving in South Africa with his wife in 2006. Sharks always fascinated him growing up in Petaluma, California, where he lives today.
“You could reach out and touch great whites,” he says. “That was probably the coolest thing I have ever done.”
Kelley credits his 10-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter with motivating him to be a better person.
“My kids inspire me to be more patient and more compassionate,” he says. “It’s fun to watch them face their fears and see them process and grow.”
Learn more about Argo Pro’s coverage for financial institutions.