What might hold you back from doing great things?

SVP shares career transition from law to insurance

What might hold you back from doing great things?

Insurance News

By Gia Snape

It’s an old cliché that people “fall into” their insurance careers. But plenty of individuals also choose insurance, even after years spent in other fulfilling professions.

In honor of Insurance Careers Month, Matt Movafaghi (pictured) shared how his legal career led him to see vibrant opportunities in insurance and why he seized the chance to be at the forefront of an innovative field.  

As senior vice president at CAC Specialty’s tax insurance practice, Movafaghi provides insurance advice and solutions for multinational corporations facing complex tax risks.

Before joining CAC, Movafaghi was senior tax counsel for Chevron, where he provided sophisticated tax planning for the global organization.

He was also a tax attorney at Willkie Farr & Gallagher, LLP, where he represented corporations, private equity funds, and investment funds over domestic and international tax-related aspects of transactions.

“I was very happy there and on track for a long and successful career with the company. But then this opportunity [with CAC] knocked,” Movafaghi said.

“But being satisfied or doing good work can prevent you from pushing yourself into something else and doing great things.”

‘Potential for growth’ in tax insurance space

For Movafaghi, the field of tax insurance presented a fresh challenge. The application of tax insurance outside of mergers and acquisitions was relatively new, and Movafaghi saw the potential for growth.

“When I was an attorney working at a law firm, and in-house, I saw that companies, especially public companies, wanted certainty about their finances. But unfortunately, tax authorities worldwide are unpredictable,” he told Insurance Business.

“Tax insurance was being used in one context, in M&A transactions. But I thought if they can implement tax insurance to help solve an M&A issue, companies could also use it in the ordinary course of business to enter transactions that they might not otherwise enter.”

While tax insurance has been around for more than 20 years, growth has taken off in the last five years, according to Movafaghi.

“I work with thought leaders in the transactional liability space, and we solve risk problems that no-one else has in the past. I think that’s what’s exciting about tax insurance: being at the forefront of a new business,” he said.

Harnessing transferable skills to transition into an insurance career

Movafaghi has found the most fulfilling aspects of his legal career – being an advisor and an educator – in insurance, too.

“In my role now, I can put my skills and talents to use - both my legal skills and people skills. The best part is a chance to talk with different people and complex businesses and hear the challenges they’re facing,” he said.

“We can offer advice and services that give companies safety and security as they navigate the ever-shifting marketplace and the tax rules both in the US and abroad.

“The other thing that I enjoy is that I get to listen to other people’s problems and help them, and that’s what you do as an attorney, generally – you try to help people solve their problems.”

Another aspect of insurance that brings Movafaghi pride is working with talented colleagues.

“We truly work as a team. We rely on each other,” he said. “I do love working with CAC, and I respect the people greatly, but it’s what we do for our clients that sets us apart.”

Movafaghi acknowledged that it’s not always easy for professionals from different backgrounds to leap into insurance.

While his legal background helped him understand some aspects of tax insurance policies, the learning curve and the uncertainty of a new venture can be daunting for many.

“Whenever you make a career change or even enter a new industry, you don’t know how things will go or if they will work out,” he said. “But in my case, I’m fortunate to say there’s been a great reward to take this opportunity.” 

Did you enter insurance via a different career path? What was your experience transitioning into the industry? Please share in the comments.

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