Working During the Pandemic: Argo Insurance’s Success Story

Working During the Pandemic

Argo Insurance’s Professional Lines team found ways to thrive during 2020.

Professional headshots of Kimberly Lewis, VP, Professional Lines; Bill Wharton, Head of Argo Insurance; Donita Stevens, AVP, Professional Lines

As one of the most challenging years on record draws to a close, Argo Insurance’s well-established Professional Lines team reveals how they have bucked the trend and flourished throughout lockdown in Bermuda – achieving exceptional levels of productivity and performance.

Virtual meetings promote focus and engagement

Prior to the pandemic, the team relied mainly on face-to-face meetings to discuss all risks before offering terms to brokers. When restrictions came into place, the team replaced their daily in-person roundtables with videoconferencing to ensure all members could still weigh in.

“The lack of face-to-face meetings is a definite negative; however, our discussions now are more focused, leading to more effective and efficient group meetings,” says Sherron Williams, SVP, Professional Lines Underwriter.

Remote working creates time for physical well-being

The whole team reports that despite working harder than ever, they are enjoying a better work-life balance and finding more time to focus on health and fitness.

“We were a seasoned and highly functioning team prior to the pandemic, which made the transition to remote communication relatively easy,” says Bill Wharton, Head of Argo Insurance in Bermuda. “Early on, we had twice-daily underwriting calls, but that has settled down and now the pace and time of communication is dictated by need.”

Mike Butler, SVP, Professional Lines, believes that remote working through the pandemic has actually had a positive impact on the way the team operates.

“Going completely paperless has been a welcome change, and while there may have been a few hiccups early on, I believe the process is working well now,” he says. “From a team perspective, using MS Teams has improved how we underwrite and communicate as a group.”

“In the beginning I was working longer hours; but over time, I was able to find a balance and adjust to a more normalized working day,” says Kimberly Lewis, VP, Professional Lines. “Back in April, I started a morning workout routine, which I continue to do.”

“I’m often working early in the morning and late at night, but working from home gives me far more time to spend exercising,” says Bryant Trew, VP, Professional Lines. “I started yoga during the pandemic, and I’ve found that it’s a great balance to running and weightlifting.”

Shared values lead to team success

Underwriting Assistant Deana Bailey puts the team’s success down to three fundamental rules:

    1. Teamwork – dedication to meeting both team and company goals
    2. Inclusion – respecting each other’s strengths, weaknesses and differences
    3. Communication – being open and honest, with lots of compassion

The entire team also believes that occasional face-to-face catch-ups have been an important factor. Since March, they have met for a few outdoor lunches, enabling them to reconnect in a safe environment and within COVID-19 guidelines.

“Periodic lunches help to re-energize the team,” says Lewis. “These meetings help me to feel connected and provide a sense of togetherness.”

“It’s always great to see the team and catch up in person to celebrate the work we’re doing from home,” says Donita Stevens, AVP, Professional Lines.

Trew echoes the sentiment. “We meet for an outdoor lunch every two or three months. Face-to-face contact is still vital, and it’s great fun to have a laugh together.”

And the overall secret of their success? Trew credits 19th-century French author Alexandre Dumas for their team motto: “All for one, and one for all!”

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