Born and raised in Iowa City, Iowa, Katie Schneider was a Hawkeye long before she graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in finance. But after beginning her professional career as a financial advisor’s assistant in her hometown, she felt the pull of the Windy City.
“I wanted to move to Chicago and experience a bigger city with more opportunities,” she says.
A friend who worked in insurance encouraged her to apply for underwriter positions with insurance companies in Chicago. She did and found her niche in professional liability underwriting in 2013.
“That was six years ago, and I haven’t looked back,” says Schneider, a senior underwriter on Argo Pro’s Architects and Engineers and Miscellaneous Professional Liability teams since 2018.
Staying on top of professional liability underwriting
The day-to-day life of an underwriter involves collaboration on numerous fronts, from negotiating with brokers to working with in-house counsel, she says. Being well informed is essential for underwriters, who must stay abreast of the constant change in a competitive industry.
“As an underwriter, you want to be nimble and speak knowledgably to our brokers so you ultimately are able to educate them,” she says. “It’s a good challenge to have, because it keeps you learning and growing.”
Schneider loves people, which makes the industry’s focus on relationships a great fit.
“I have met some pretty amazing people along the way and made some lifelong friends with brokers, clients and colleagues,” she says.
Finding inspiration in hardworking people
People who have found their calling and strive to excel inspire Schneider.
“Passionate people inspire me to put my best efforts forward each day, and I try to surround myself with good people who are motivated and not afraid to ask questions,” she says.
She urges others beginning their professional journey to recognize their own power.
“Be proactive and take charge of your own career,” she says. “That sounds really simple and maybe intuitive, but this one took me a little longer to learn. You truly are in the driver’s seat of your own destiny, whether in the corporate world or your own life. You have to take initiative and take the first step.”
What does that look like?
“Raise your hand for opportunities,” says Schneider. “Embrace every opportunity to learn and expand your skill set. Have the humility to ask questions.”
Being “satisfied” seeing Hamilton – twice
When the Broadway smash hit Hamilton came to Chicago, Schneider didn’t throw away her shot to see the musical, whose soundtrack she has memorized.
“I saw it on my own dime with my husband first, and about a month later, I won lottery tickets for the first time,” she says. “The second time I won, I ended up giving the tickets away. I’m not lucky at anything else.”
When she’s not working, Schneider enjoys taking high-intensity interval training classes for the camaraderie and the stress relief. She recently completed her 300th class. Along with her husband, she enjoys traveling, pampering their French bulldog, Harvey, and trying out new restaurants.
“That’s the beauty of living in Chicago,” she says. “If you are craving sushi or Indian cuisine, you can find it within a couple blocks of where you live.”
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