Meet Joann Nichols, Development Underwriter



Joann became a Development Underwriter at Argus in October 2020, moving into the role after spending five years with us as an executive assistant. Faced with a steep learning curve as she shifted careers, her communications background helped her ask the right questions to navigate the Insurance world. We talked to Joann about navigating an ever-changing industry, protecting your assets and taking the road less travelled.


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Education: Bachelor of Arts, York University
Designations: CPCU, AINS
Years at Argus: 5
Department: Argus Insurance Company Limited
LinkedIn: Joann Nichols

Can you tell us about your professional journey? 

After studying Communications at York University in Canada, I worked in Toronto for three years at Great West Life and Royal Bank of Canada. Upon returning to Bermuda I started as an Executive Assistant at Argus for CFO Peter Dunkerely, however I knew then I wanted to learn the foundations of insurance.

Peter was an advocate for me and encouraged my education. With his support, I completed the Associate in General Insurance (AINS) in 2016 and began the Charted Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation in 2017. At that time, I became interested in property insurance, so I asked if I could shadow the property and casualty underwriting team. That definitely put some meat to the textbooks. That experience not only helped me to understand the local insurance industry, it helped me develop relationships with the team before stepping into a full-time role.

 

Share an experience that helped shape who you are today?

I’ve always been open to new experiences. I went to Chile as a Rotary exchange student at the age of 17. Going there challenged me to step outside of my comfort zone, being immersed in a whole new culture as I completed my high school studies. It was an amazing experience and allowed me to become more well rounded culturally and helped me improve my Spanish.

 

What is your greatest strength? 

I definitely am a people person. I’m a good communicator who enjoys real conversations with real people, especially when that involves helping them get the best value for their policy. I also enjoy reviewing and providing feedback on processes to help the team improve its service. The team is very well connected, allows collaboration on a regular basis and encourages development. As my role develops, I hope to become more involved in the commercial side of insurance.

 

How do you make sure your clients get what they need? 

Sometimes you’re just having a conversation about someone’s day, their grandkids, their dog, but what they’re really looking for is a solution. I understand their frustration when their home insurance premiums go up, but sometimes an increase may simply reflect the increased cost of rebuilding a home should it be damaged.

Many Bermudians are exposed to underinsurance if they do not account for the total rebuilding cost of their homes . To avoid this issue, we offer individuals a complimentary home survey during the quotation process to ensure that they understand what is at risk. If a fire completely destroyed the property, for example, they would have to self-insure and put up much of their own cash to cover the loss. Paying a higher initial premium, whether monthly, quarterly or annually, provides greater security and mitigates this risk. 

What advice would you give your 10-year-old self?

Do not be afraid to try new things and to step outside of your comfort zone – this is where true growth happens. Always remember that it is a privilege to learn and be challenged.

 

Our Property and Casualty team are here to support you insurance needs, to contact Joann Nichols directly please email her at jnichols@argus.bm