Meet Roberto Robles, Vice President, Business Development
What is your backstory? Tell us about your path to Sompo International.
I was born in Puerto Rico and grew up in the Bronx. The youngest of three siblings, I was the first in my family to graduate from high school and continued on to dual major in Economics and Political Science at St. Lawrence University. I spent a year in London during college and interned with the London Labour Party during an election year and was on the path to attend Law School after receiving my MBA. After graduate school, I was recruited to join Chubb as a specialty underwriter focused on public D&O and went on to spend over 21 years there in various underwriting and branch marketing management roles. During that time, I developed a love for the insurance industry and the underwriting craft. In 2019, I took the opportunity to make a career change and connected with Michael Chang, the CEO of Sompo Global Risk Solutions (GRS), and the rest is history. I was immediately captivated by the energy and culture of Sompo GRS. It felt familiar and was something that I knew I wanted to be a part of. The idea of building something with a group of industry experts I respect in a fast-paced family atmosphere was very appealing.
What is something about your role / business unit that people may not know?
Mine is not the traditional business development, or marketing role, that you see in the industry today. Nothing we do at Sompo Global Risk Solutions is modeled by the industry’s historical ways. My current role requires an exceptional balance of underwriting and business acumen, which includes strong interpersonal and coaching skills and an entrepreneurial ability and desire to build something. We understand that our trading partners have options and, therefore, we need to provide extraordinary value for them to want to do business with us.
What do you think makes Sompo International unique?
We are an organization known for international strength and expertise, a unique suite of product offerings and industry specialization. Above and beyond that, Sompo International is unique in its ability to sustain the entrepreneurial energy and structure of a start-up with the resources and backing of a multinational financial powerhouse with over 130 years of industry experience.
Can you shed light on a current project / initiative you / your business unit is working on?
We are in the midst of several exciting strategic initiatives for this new year, including building on a number of panels we joined throughout 2020; pushing new white label product offerings with key distribution partners; identifying strategic partnerships on the digital end; and building a high-level distribution rewards program that will kick off this year – launching an external small commercial agency contest.
What is a trend you feel is impacting the industry at the moment?
There are several key trends impacting the industry including extreme climate change and all the potential exposures tied to the global pandemic and its vaccines. The one that I would highlight is understanding the new normal and managing market engagement in a remote environment.
Any advice to your younger self?
Don’t be afraid to go outside your comfort zone and take some calculated risks. Also, the idea of disconnecting to recharge periodically is not a bad thing.
What do you do when you’re not working?
The normal activities outside of work have of course shifted pre-pandemic to now, but the main theme is my family. I married my high school sweetheart and we have three kids ages 20, 19 and 13 and a dog. Pre-pandemic you could find me supporting my kids at their activities – mainly sports. Now, my time is spent binge-watching shows with my wife and all of us playing board games together as a family.
Last words – anything else you’d like us to know?
Behind every challenge is an opportunity – it is all about your perspective and mindset.