Underwriter Trainee Program Helps New Hires Thrive

Underwriter Training Program Helps Surety Hires Thrive

A mix of self-learning and lessons from senior leadership sets up underwriter trainees for success in surety.

Underwriter trainee program participants Kelvin Knight, Eryka Lizama and Joseph Sciarrino

To help acclimate underwriter trainees to the industry, Argo Surety developed its own in-house training program. It’s primarily designed for first-time underwriters, but the industry-specific training can also be helpful for new hires with prior experience.

Finding good candidates for surety roles is a challenge 

  • Surety is a niche industry, often overlooked by job seekers because it’s rarely discussed in a university setting.
  • Surety touches a lot of industries, many of which require vast technical expertise.
  • Surety underwriting requires a diverse skill set – from financial literacy and resourcefulness to relationship management skills.

“We expect a lot from our underwriters, so it’s especially important to put them in positions to succeed,” says Amanda Weiss, VP, Distribution Strategy & Portfolio Management.

Learn more about Argo Surety’s innovative hiring approach that helps attract and retain talent.

Learning driven by senior leadership

The program typically involves underwriter trainees coming together for a six-week in-person, on-site bond school. Because of the pandemic, this year’s class was adapted to an at-home model:

  • Individual reading
  • Video training guides
  • Virtual lessons from senior leaders

“A lot of this year’s training consisted of reading material on their own,” Weiss says. “But we developed videos on certain subjects to provide more color and had senior leaders go over individual sessions virtually.”

In addition to the video guides and virtual lessons, senior leaders held weekly calls to build rapport among the team and answer questions about the material.

Read on for a Q&A with a few recent Argo Surety underwriter trainees.

Q&A: Surety Bond Underwriter Trainees
Professional headshot of Argo Surety underwriter trainee Kelvin Knight
Kelvin Knight
Credit Analyst
Credit Analyst
How has your experience so far compared to your expectations of the industry?
I expected the industry to be “cookie cutter” and found that it’s very flexible. Each opportunity requires close consideration to get to the best outcome for each party involved, and collaboration is an integral part of the business.
How did the underwriter trainee program help set you up to be successful in your role?
The program walked us through each industry we work with so that we have the appropriate exposure to feel comfortable approaching new tasks. It also helped me build a network of colleagues who are open to answering my questions.
Professional headshot of Argo Surety underwriter trainee Joseph Sciarrino
Joseph Sciarrino
Credit Analyst
Credit Analyst
As you finished college and weighed your career options, what most interested you about a surety career?
I didn’t know what surety was prior to applying to work for Argo. I was looking for a career where I could use my financial skills and be able to interact with clients and brokers. When I interviewed for Argo, the people stood out to me. Everyone was very welcoming, helpful and responsive.
How did the underwriter trainee program help set you up to be successful in your role?
The program was very helpful. I’d imagine many of my new co-workers had no idea what surety was either, so it was beneficial to get a comprehensive training program. The program has shown me that Argo Surety is committed to its new employees, and they want to develop the best talent.
Professional headshot of Argo Surety underwriter trainee Eryka Lizama
Eryka Lizama
Underwriting Support Associate
Underwriting Support Associate
How did the underwriter trainee program help set you up to be successful in your role?
The training program helped me understand surety and provided representation of different perspectives within the commercial and contract teams. Being on the contract team, the program provided a clear picture of the bonds my team works with and the submission process.
After completing the training program, what skills are you most interested in developing further?
I am most interested in understanding the depth of construction surety, mainly to develop an expeditious judgment when it comes to underwriting.

Visit our careers page to browse open positions and learn more about working at Argo Group.

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