Meet Peggy Menard, Vice President, Regional Underwriting Executive, Business Development
What is your backstory? Tell us about your path to Sompo International.
I like to think I have a pretty unique story – both within the industry, and throughout my life. I’m Haitian-American; I was born in Miami, FL and grew up in Brooklyn, NY. I have six brothers (two sets of twins) and I am the only girl. My career started at Chubb in 2000; I was just sixteen years old! I was part of a program in my high school called Cooperative Education. If you maintained a stellar GPA, you were able to have an alternate school schedule that allowed you to spend time both finishing school, and spending time at a reputable firm receiving on the job experience – and you were randomly placed into the companies. Long story short, after high school graduation in 2002, Chubb re-hired me as an administrative assistant. I was already enrolled at John Jay College of Criminal Justice ready to dive into the world of Forensic Psychology, so I declined the offer. After all – that sounded much more exciting than insurance! After I declined, I was told to stay in contact in case I changed my mind. After giving birth to my first child, I realized insurance sounded much more appealing and Chubb was still happy to have me. After sixteen years in various roles at Chubb, I took the leap over to Marsh, where I managed a small team of property brokers. In 2018, I joined Sompo International in a hybrid Regional Underwriting Executive/Business Development Manager and Underwriting role. I would say the relationships I’ve cultivated and maintained throughout the years as well as my passion for business distribution and growth led me to where I am today.
What is something about your role / Business Unit that people may not know?
When it comes to my role as a Regional Underwriting Executive/Business Development Manager, it always surprises people that I am also an Underwriter for large complex deals. Our roles are nothing like the traditional business development roles you’ll see at some of our competitors. We are an extension of the Underwriting team – we need to know the business just as well as they do, and we need to know what we want and what we don’t want which will ultimately lead us to higher hit ratios. It’s done by design that the Regional Underwriting Executive/Business Development team all have an underwriting background and it makes total sense to me.
What do you think makes Sompo International unique?
I think what makes Sompo International (specifically my business unit, Sompo Global Risk Solutions) unique is it’s entrepreneurial and innovative spirit. I can say this is honestly a huge differentiator having worked at two other large organizations. The entrepreneurial spirit is attractive and will help us retain the best talent out there; people enjoy being seen and heard. There is a lot to be said for truly feeling like you have a seat at the table. This approach allows us to adapt in this ever-changing industry. Something else that makes Sompo unique to me is that the leadership team looks like me.
Can you shed light on a current project / initiative you / your BU is working on?
What are we not working on these days?! We are working on several projects, concurrently. Some of that include crafting 100% dedicated exclusive deals or white label product offerings between us and our trading partners, expanding our Asian Risk Solutions platform and finding creative ways to maintain brand presence and visibility throughout Covid-19.
Any advice to your younger self?
Don’t be afraid to take up space.
What do you do when you’re not working?
When I’m not working, I’m usually spending time with my family, my partner, and my sister-friends (preferably outdoors), traveling, exercising, being a plant mom, a dog mom, mom of a witty teenage daughter or my favorite – redesigning my home. No, really. I firmly believe that I have interior designer superpowers.
Last words – anything else you’d like us to know?
Never forget to pay it forward and be a trailblazer while doing so. All the gems that you receive throughout your career, share them by any means necessary. There are several younger versions of us out there just as eager as we were to learn, grow and be tremendously successful.