Meet Chris Pickering, SVP, Product Development, Multinational
Please tell us about your career journey and your path to Sompo International.
My 34-year career in the insurance industry has always been on the carrier side, but I have held many different positions. Technically, my initial insurance training was in commercial underwriting. Other positions after my time spent in production “field” underwriting include regional underwriting management and geographical expansion, director of marketing and agency/broker management and several others. In 2013 I was recruited into Sompo America and took the role of VP of Home Office Underwriting. Sompo was attractive to me since my background was all with domestic carriers focused on domestic business and I wanted the opportunity to learn more about global insurance.
What advice do you have for prospective Sompo International candidates?
Insurance is not boring; there are so many career paths within a company that you are bound to find a place. I think two things really helped me: Firstly, get a mentor or two. Make sure you find people smarter than you that seem generally happy with their career choice. They can serve as excellent “sounding boards” to help you navigate the challenges within the organization and the industry. And secondly, don’t stop learning! Designations aren’t just fluff; those classes will help you grow in knowledge and help you connect to other professionals outside of the company.
Tell us about an initiative at Sompo International that you are excited for in 2023.
It is hard to decide, but I think the diversity and inclusion initiative has me most excited. One of the hidden treasures within my current job is working with people coming from various cultures and living in different countries. As we work to be more inclusive of diversity within our own offices, we are enriching our company culture. I can only see things the way I see things, but when exposed to diversity, I can also be helped to see things differently, through the eyes of someone else.
What is your idea of a perfect day outside of the office?
Besides crashing on the beach after ditching my cell phone and Webex somewhere else…? A good project well-done counts as a perfect day. Anything important to me that I can take care of from start to finish gives me that feeling you get when you look at a well-groomed front yard and garden and know you just did that – and you almost pat yourself on the back! But some days that is hard to find at the office…