Finance N Illinois

Assurance's Sue Myers makes global connections through work she loves

Assurance's Sue Myers makes global connections through work she loves,ph01

When Sue Myers first got into the insurance business, she had no idea how much she'd come to love the industry. For some, the words 'love' and 'insurance' might not go together, but Myers is truly inspired and excited by her work.

She studied economics and math at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and got her first job as an underwriter at Liberty Mutual Insurance. In hindsight, when Myers took the job she didn't realize how much she would really discover.

"When I first started I liked it a lot because you got to go out and see all these different companies you never even knew existed," Myers told RE Journals. "I remember going to a beet canning facility where everyone was covered in pink and red all day long."

A few years later, she started working as an underwriting specialist for CNA Insurance where she started dealing more with property. Myers enjoyed real estate because the policies were much more complex. She loved making spreadsheets, focusing on the details and subtle, technical changes. Myers noticed that a lot of property clients were buying policies without really understanding what they were getting. So she got a lot of experience explaining to different companies what was behind all the paper and realized that this is how she wanted to work with clients. That meant switching from the underwriter side of things and becoming an insurance broker.

"An underwriter is basically the person who figures out what it will cost and puts together the program. A broker shows you that policy and how it best serves you," said Myers.

In her role now at Assurance, Myers manages a team and meets with different clients. She loves having a different schedule every day and really getting to know everyone in the business. In her line of work she meets all different kinds of people from architects to lenders to engineers and loves helping them connect with each other. She also put together an e-book with her team to answer some of the insurance questions they get all the time.

Myers said working in insurance is like getting an MBA every day. What she means, is that it gives her the opportunity to meet with brilliant people, CEOs and CFOs, who all think differently and attack problems with fresh, original solutions.

"It's great to help blaze new trails and find a new niche. It's so cool to see how other people think through problems," Myers said. "I tell my team this all the time, I say, I know every day we're doing paper but we've got to build that paper right because it can help clients. It's going to help build something that will be great for the community, something beyond the paper and transaction."

One of the most interesting connections Myers had made through her work begins with a vacation she took to Rome earlier this year. She was touring the Testaccio neighborhood, which is known for some of the best food in Italy, when she looked up and saw a giant street art mural on the side of one of the buildings. It looked exactly like a piece that was featured on one of her clients' Wynwood buildings down in Miami, Florida. It turned out the art was by an internationally famous Belgian artist, ROA. Her client had gone to great lengths to get the artist to come to Miami and didn't actually know if he would show up until he did. When she heard the story from her client, she was amazed.

"I thought there was no way it would be the same artist. It was so surprising to be walking around in another city, turn a corner and then see something that was connected to one of your clients," Myers said.

Outside of her career, Myers is a travel enthusiast, scuba diver and animal lover. She owns two dogs with her husband Mike, a Boston Terrier named Miss Twigglefur and a Chihuahua Dotson mix named Moneypenny. Together the volunteer at Fetching Tails, an organization that helps dogs from kill shelters get adopted.

Her husband is also in the insurance industry and works as an underwriter. Myers doesn't mind that they're in the same industry because they work on different sides of the deals.

"When we go home I'll complain saying that the underwriters won't listen and he'll complain the brokers don't pay attention. It gives me a nice perspective though and reminds me what it's like to be on that side of the table," Myers said.

Myers and her husband also enjoy scuba diving, and they've been all over the Caribbean, to places such as Belize, Aruba and a little island near St. Maarten called Saba. It has the shortest commercial airline runway in the world, essentially the length of a city block between two cliffs, Myers said. It was one of her favorite scuba diving trips and definitely an adventure.

Scuba diving isn't a hobby you really pick up in the Midwest, Myers discovered the interest when she went to Australia for a month after graduating college. When she got back, she mentioned to Mike she wanted to get certified. A month later, they both did just that. So what's next for Myers? She'll be taking a trip with her husband to see the Christmas lights and markets in London.