In the latest segment of our Meet Our People series, we spoke with Deborah Robinson, one of our excellent Senior Commercial Underwriters. Let’s see what she had to say.
How long have you been at Gore Mutual? What first attracted you to the insurance industry?
I’ll have been at Gore Mutual 17 years this fall. Before coming here, I worked for an insurance company and then a brokerage. When I was at the brokerage, Gore Mutual was one of our markets and I got to work with wonderful underwriters like Linda Grummett. They seemed to be having so much fun and really enjoyed the work they were doing so after a few years I made the move to Gore Mutual.
I think what first attracted me to this industry was all of the opportunities it presented. There are so many different avenues that people can go into.
Was your experience as an insurance broker an asset when you came to Gore Mutual?
Yes, it was and I think everybody should have it. I think when you’re talking with a broker, you don’t understand what it’s like to deliver that end message to a customer unless you’ve actually done it yourself. Having that experience definitely helps me when speaking with brokers and allows me to better empathize with what they’re dealing with.
What are some things you love about working here?
Absolutely the people. Everyone’s so welcoming and friendly, and it’s become almost like a family-type atmosphere for me. I think it’s the same for my kids. My daughter was born while I worked at Gore Mutual and my son was a year old when I first came here and so they grew up going to things like the family picnics and children’s Christmas parties, so Gore Mutual has been a part of their lives, too.
What’s your favorite part about being an underwriter?
Getting to work with brokers and build relationships with them. In this industry, you get to meet some really interesting people that you may not otherwise have the opportunity to talk with. I run into brokers at all kinds of places like the gym and even on vacation. It’s great getting to know more about them, their families and their interests.
I also like that I always get the opportunity to keep learning. There are always new coverages, risks and lots of other things that keep this job interesting.
What do you want brokers to know about our Commercial Lines team and offerings?
I think that we’re always evolving. We’re always looking at new products, new wordings, new coverages and just responding to the marketplace with things like our Padlock cyber and data breach protection. I think that’s a very important coverage for all Canadian businesses to have.
As a team, we’re very open to new ideas and have made so many changes over the past few years and that’s a good thing. Change keeps things fresh, right?
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
Look for opportunity in change. The idea of change can be frightening because people aren’t always sure what to expect. But if you flip the narrative and start to look for how it can benefit you, it totally changes your feeling about it. Change always opens up new possibilities whether it’s working with new people, learning a new skill or something else. So, there’s always some benefit that you can see out of change.
What’s something people might not know about you?
I love home renovations! I love the planning that goes into them and the creating. My commercial background has given me a lot of tips for hiring contractors, too. We bought our dream house a year ago, so we’ve been kind of working away on that. We’ve done some pretty big projects so far. It’s been great. I also live with four teenagers and a tween. So, there’s always a lot of change going on in our household. Our family motto has become, “Embrace the chaos.”