When Victoria Learned-Fenty entered the insurance field in 2012, she went in to win.
Unsatisfied with her work in annuity account management, the Indiana University Bloomington graduate made the switch to insurance after googling underwriting jobs in the area and encountering a listing with Burns & Wilcox.
Today, she works as a professional liability broker for the company, responsible for growing its market share across all professional liability lines in the Midwest. In the short four years she’s been in the industry, Learned-Fenty has managed to develop a book of business totaling more than $1.4 million in premium; complete her AINS, AIS and AU designations; and garner recognition from the Professional Insurance Agents of Indiana.
She’s also hard at work volunteering with industry groups like the National African American Insurance Association, InVEST, AAMGA and the Independent Insurance Agents of Indiana.
It’s a list of accolades that would make an industry professional with far more experience proud –but it’s also a compelling case study in why insurance organizations ought to give more credence to current and potential millennial employees.
Learned-Fenty, whose work with InVest and the NAAIA focuses heavily on recruiting young people into insurance, has some thoughts on that score.
“If you truly want millennials in your business, I would say make a space for them,” she told Insurance Business America
. “We don’t know everything when we’re hired, but we’re fast learners and we’re prepared to meet high expectations on day one. Waiting five years before giving a young person a promotion is an antiquated way of looking at things, and you’ll drive away some talented millennials if you take them for granted.”
Learned-Fenty says she has benefitted from a supportive culture in Burns & Wilcox, which invests in new hires through an extensive onboarding process and higher-level management that creates an inclusive work environment.
She herself rose from assistant underwriter to commercial underwriter to her current position of professional liability broker in just four years – a quick career progression she feels shouldn’t be unusual for talented young people in the industry.
And like many millennials, she’s still challenging herself with new opportunities. Since her promotion in April, Learned-Fenty has been spearheading efforts in the Midwest to expand Burns & Wilcox’s footprint in cyber insurance and data security.
“As an industry, we’re already writing $1 billion in cyber premium and that’s forecast to hit $20 billion by 2020,” Learned-Fenty said. “That’s $19 billion out there available to someone who can be an expert in the area and contribute to true risk management efforts for society.”
Outside of the industry, Learned-Fenty also volunteers as a mentor to local Girl Scouts’ troops and is preparing for the release of her novelty cookbook, a holiday-themed publication that will teach children simple recipes for everything from Valentine’s Day to Christmas.
She hopes one day to be in a leadership role and develop a professional liability team in the state of Indiana, and eventually the Midwest.
“I always want to earn the respect of others, and I want to make something that’s my own,” she said.
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