Women in Insurance: A Career of Service

Sue Coates, president of Trident Public Risk Solutions, is motivated by helping people – her team, their clients and the communities that the company serves.

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Like many people who find themselves in the industry, Sue Coates just happened upon her first insurance job. She took a customer service position at an agency and was surprised at what she discovered.

“On its face, insurance seemed so boring,” she remembers. “But when I found that it’s relevant to people’s daily lives and I was good at helping people understand it, I was hooked.”

Coates was an underwriter for the majority of her career, including almost 15 years assessing risk in the public entity sector, before becoming president of Trident Public Risk Solutions – serving more than 2,000 municipalities, counties, public K–12 school districts, community colleges, public districts and risk-sharing pools.

Personal and company values align

“I’ve always wanted to be of service,” Coates says. “My path has been firmly guided by that. I lead a team of dedicated and remarkable people who are similarly inspired.

“We’re not fighting fires, but we’re providing insurance to people who do. These are the towns people live in, the schools their children attend. These are the most important elements in their lives.”

As they do this work, Coates’ goals are to inspire people to use their full potential, ask a lot of questions and take active steps to understand the industry better – contributions that are meaningful and will automatically deliver valuable returns.

“People were very giving of their time as I was coming up in the organization,” she says. “Part of my role is to pay that forward and develop leaders behind me. I want to be part of creating that environment where people can see their path and be encouraged, engaged and empowered to go for it.

“I get really excited when I see people make the same kind of connection as I have.”

Matching competencies gives women in insurance an opportunity

Traditionally, many industries, including insurance,  have generally employed more men than women in senior roles, but Coates sees a shift beginning to happen, starting with Argo’s commitment to finding the right people to fill the right roles.

“There’s a growing awareness of our changing world and our changing industry,” she explains. “Matching a person’s competencies with the need at any given time means we’re constantly able to adapt around that evolution. And it’s created opportunities for women in insurance to advance.”

Argo’s commitment to developing talent within its ranks is a service to employees – regardless of gender – the company and the industry as a whole.

“We recognize so fully that people are our number one resource. They are the single most important ingredient to our success.”

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