Five minutes with...David Gansberg, Arch Mortgage Insurance

The president and CEO talks insurance and the mortgage business, sticking to your word and actuarial mathematics.

Stemming from Arch Mortgage Insurance's recent approval to provide mortgage insurance to the federal home loan bank of Boston, President and CEO David Gansberg weighs in on the macro implications. 

Q: Tell us about Arch Mortgage Insurance.

A: The genesis of Arch Mortgage Insurance in the US was the opportunity to purchase CMG Mortgage Insurance Company, which was a company that was jointly owned. Their business was to insure mortgages insured by credit unions. They were in business for 20 years and the opportunity came up to acquire CMG. Basically we took CMG and the IT platform then changed the name to Arch Mortgage Insurance. Since that acquisition closed January 30th, 2014 we have been focused on not only preserving the credit union business that had existed but to grow the lender channel.

Q: Do you see the opportunity to provide mortgage insurance on mortgages sold to the federal home loan bank of Boston as a positive sign for the market?

A: I think it is very positive. I think the federal home loan bank is a great source of funding for some of the smaller to medium sized entities where we’ve historically operated with the credit union side. It is a very topical issue right now not only with the proposal but there are greater consequences now with membership in the federal home loan bank system.

Q: How did you get into the insurance industry?

A: I started my career in the insurance industry as an actuary. When I was in college I was very math and science oriented. I heard about a career as an actuary, which for years and years was one of the top jobs so it seemed to be a good path to go down. In college I studied actuarial mathematics while I was at the University of Michigan. Then started my career as an actuary in the property and casualty world. I did that for a number of years and decided that wasn’t the part of the job I really enjoyed the most, so I gradually transitioned from being an actuary to an underwriter. That led me down my path and took me where I am today.

Q: What is the best piece of career advice you have been given?

A: The best advice I ever got was from an individual named Paul Ingrey who was one of the founders of Arch and ran the reinsurance group. He used to say all you have in this business is your word and to me that really struck a chord. And to me that really hit home because so much of what we do is based on relationships and the promises we make to people. If you treat people right and they respect you, they’ll do business with you. If you ever violate or break that trust, there is no going back. I’ve always taken that to heart.

Q: What do you see as an ideal insurance professional?

A: I think there are a number of things. In addition to always operating with integrity, you need to respect people, including your employees and the people you work with. I think you need to continually give constructive feedback and voice your opinion. That is so important for young people.  

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