Second Career Choice Brought Underwriter From Finance

Rockwood Underwriter Learning to Manage Expectations

Nina Johnson is bringing her knowledge from banking to insurance – and building on it, thanks to Argo’s tuition reimbursement benefits.

Nina Johnson headshot

Two years into her tenure at Rockwood, Underwriter Nina Johnson is relatively new to the company when compared to some of her peers with decades on their resumes.

“It’s pretty intense,” Johnson says. “Even if you have 10 years under your belt, you’re still pretty new here.”

Joining such a close-knit team can be intimidating for some new hires, but Johnson says her colleagues at Rockwood have been extremely welcoming and generous in sharing their knowledge.

“Even if you’re not related to anyone at Rockwood, it feels like family,” she says. “You just feel supported. You don’t feel like you’re on your own in any way.”

Studying globally, working locally

Johnson grew up in small-town Germany before moving to Somerset, Pennsylvania, when she was 12 years old.

She studied international business at Juniata College, opting to return to Germany for a year abroad at the Fachhochschule Münster University of Applied Sciences.

“I try to approach it as if it were my insurance. What would I want to know? What would I expect from it? How would I want to be treated?’

— Nina Johnson

Before joining Rockwood, she worked in business development for a small credit union. Working at a new branch, she learned to be flexible, sometimes filling in as an assistant branch manager and even doing some groundskeeping.

“I really needed to be a jack-of-all-trades to make it work,” she says. “When we first opened, we hadn’t hired a landscaping company,” she continues, “so I worked on the weeding for an afternoon.”

Embracing insurance challenges

At the credit union, Johnson also learned the importance of building client relationships – a skill she applies daily at Rockwood.

“What I love about the job is being able to help the agent and insured reach their goals,” she says. “It’s very satisfying when you can resolve issues and they are pleased by the outcome.”

Johnson says that offering customers a “white glove treatment” is what will set companies apart in competitive industries like banking and insurance.

“I try to approach it as if it were my insurance,” she says. “What would I want to know? What would I expect from it? How would I want to be treated?”

And as she’s adjusted to her second career choice, she’s embraced what she sees as the industry’s biggest challenge: managing the expectations of agents and insureds.

“I’ve found that communication is key,” she says, “as are setting realistic deadlines and being upfront about what we can deliver.”

Argo benefits help continue education

Johnson is taking advantage of Argo’s employee tuition reimbursement program and pursuing her master’s degree in data science from Juniata.

She became interested in the subject while working as a contractor for a tech company. After she started at Rockwood, she realized how much data they were analyzing and how it could be used to shape their products and services.

Balancing such a demanding schedule takes a strong work ethic, which Johnson credits to her parents.

As a water hauler in the oil and gas industry, her father worked long hours and traveled often. Her mother also worked and still found time to make sure she and her brother always had “delicious meals for dinner and properly ironed clothes.”

“Both of them made sacrifices so we could get educations and have better careers,” she says.

In her downtime, Johnson is designing her own cottage garden – a project she expects will take years to complete. She also likes putting together Harry Potter–themed LEGO sets and is a long-time Sims player.

“I think I am well on my way to the 10,000 hours of practice to become a Sims expert,” she says.

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