Surety Bond Quarterly - Winter 2014 - (Page 14)
of surety taleNt
NEW PEOPlE COME to the surety industry with a wide variety of education
and experience. Many companies like
to recruit business graduates or those
with strong accounting backgrounds.
Others prefer liberal arts majors who
have demonstrated critical thinking,
strategic planning and communications skills.
Whatever their backgrounds, however, these new talents rarely have
any real knowledge of surety bonds
and the surety industry. Their initial
training becomes key to their longterm success.
New hires at Merchants Bonding
Company start their training program
during their first week on the job. The
self-paced course is done online, with
trainees working under the supervision of underwriting managers. As
the trainees complete assignments
and assessments, they review what
they've learned with the manager,
who may assign additional training
"Underwriting is only half the
program; the other half is marketing," said Josh Penwell, Vice
President, Contract Underwriting.
"We train new underwriters to have
meaningful and productive meetings with their agencies and their
"We spend a considerable amount
of time and energy explaining to new
underwriters how we look at each
account on its own merits," he continued. "Our underwriting involves
WhATEvER ThEIR BACKgROUNdS, hOWEvER,
ThESE NEW TAlENTS RARElY hAvE ANY REAl
KNOWlEdgE OF SURETY BONdS ANd ThE SURETY
INdUSTRY. ThEIR INITIAl TRAININg BECOMES KEY
TO ThEIR lONg-TERM SUCCESS.
the analysis of subjective criteria
and that can be challenging to teach.
You can't fully grasp the fundamentals of underwriting just by reading
books and articles, so we devote a
significant amount of time covering
real-life applications and examples
in their training."
CNA Surety's program is nine to
12 months of training in headquarters or a field office, using books
and online practice. The trainees are
closely monitored by underwriting
manager mentors, who spend time
with them every day to answer any
questions they may have. Trainees
accompany underwriters on client
visits to break up that study time and
garner real-life experience.
J.M. "Bud" Herndon, CNA Surety
Underwriting Director in the Baltimore
Branch, said he meets weekly with his
new employees to review their progress and make sure that they have
thoroughly grasped all the concepts.
"There's a certain amount of knowledge that has to be drilled in early
so that it can be applied later," said
Herndon. "We make a substantial
investment in the trainees, and there
is no substitute for devoting a lot of
time to them."
surety BoNd Quarterly | WINTER 2014
Introducing an employee to the
company culture is a key part of Chubb
Surety's training program, according
to Rick Ciullo, Chief Operating Officer
at Chubb Surety. "We are focused on
bigger, more sophisticated clients,
and those clients expect underwriters
to show up and interact with them as
Chubb's surety school starts with
three weeks of surety and insurance
classes, after which trainees work
with their managers on a professional
development plan. They return to
Chubb's surety school four times over
the next two years, alternating field
time with classes. The later classes
are less about financial analysis and
more about business planning, marketing and running effective client
In addition, Chubb sends trainees to
its own workshops. Top-performing
underwriters with three or four years'
experience may have the opportunity
to intern in a contractor's office for a
week or two.
Bond producer firm Arthur J.
Gallagher & Co. has set up its own
training program because it's harder
for them to recruit new producers
with surety company backgrounds.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Surety Bond Quarterly - Winter 2014
NASBP Upcoming Meetings
2014-2015 NASBP Executive Committee
From the CEO: Education is everywhere and in everything we do
Practical Insights: What You Need to Know-Lease Accounting, A new standard is coming
Surety Up North
Training the Next Generation of Surety Talent
EJCDC’s New P3 Document
The Top 10 Things Public Owners Should Know About Surety Bonds
What's a Construction Company's Most Valuable Asset?
NASBP Virtual Seminars
New NASBP Resource: Information map of advocacy issues
Meetings in Photos
The Importance of Cracking the “WIP” Monthly
U.S. Customs and Border Protection to Deploy eBond
NASBP Outreach Continues Throughout the Year
Index to Advertisers
Surety Bond Quarterly - Winter 2014