Canadian Underwriter

2022 Underwriters of the Year | Andre Trottier, Commercial Regional Underwriting Specialist, Economical

October 3, 2022   by Canadian Underwriter Staff

Andre Trottier

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Andre Trottier joined the industry 23 years ago and today prides himself on providing a variety of property casualty products and solutions that help his broker partners.

In his current role at Economical (Definity), Andre works closely with his broker partners to write new mid-market accounts and provides technical support to colleagues and younger brokers.

During his award-winning career at Economical, Andre also serves as subject matter expert assisting brokers with construction clients’ needs. When he’s not working, Andre says you’ll find him having a BBQ with friends, travelling or on the golf course.

Says Andre of his Canadian Broker Network (CBN) award: “I’m very proud, happy and humbled! I’m extremely grateful that the Smith Petrie Carr & Scott team thought of me for this recognition.”

Q: What is the biggest challenge for underwriters, and one thing underwriters/insurers can do to overcome this challenge?

“Labour/staffing shortages can be very challenging for underwriters in the P&C business. Staffing shortages can lead to stress due to increased workloads, longer hours and just trying to keep your head afloat. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, however there are things that insurers can do to help retain staff, including allowing employees to reasonably voice concerns without fear of punishment; employee recognition and appreciation; avoiding micromanagement; and offering growth opportunities. I’m fortunate that my employer does this – for example, we recently implemented a mentoring program where underwriters work closely with underwriting assistants. This initiative has already resulted in a number of promotions allowing our company to fill underwriting vacancies as quickly as possible.”

Q: What’s one opportunity you think underwriters should focus more on?

“Underwriters should focus more on continually enhancing their skillsets and work hard at building and reinforcing key relationships. This allows underwriters to adapt to things like changing trends, brokerage and/or company mergers and business being more commoditized. This is a people business – having great relationships and excellent customer service is key to keeping the opportunities rolling in.”

Q: What makes for a great working relationship between an underwriter and broker?

“As an underwriter, good communication, consistency and the ability to make decisions are key. Simple things become important, such as promptly responding to a submission request or giving advanced notice if there is going to be a challenge. Brokers appreciate an underwriter who has the ability to make and stand by a decision as well as follow-through on commitments. I’ve been working with Smith Petrie Carr & Scott for over 10 years. It took a little time to develop the relationship we currently enjoy, however, I’ve always tried hard to be a partner that is responsive and easy to do business with. This is especially important during the hard market.”

Q: Why did you become an underwriter and what do you love most about it?
“I started my career shortly after graduating as a junior commercial property/liability underwriter and I’ve stuck with it ever since, progressing into more senior roles over the past 23 years. Within this fast-paced environment and evolving market conditions and technologies, there’s never a dull moment. I really enjoy the people aspect, and love that I get to provide solutions on a wide range of operations, and constantly learn about different business and unique coverages.”