Brandon Hartley Podcast Transcript

Headshot of Lead Underwriter Brandon Hartley

Brandon Hartley Podcast Transcript

Brandon Hartley joins host Brian Thomas on The Digital Executive Podcast.

Welcome to Coruzant Technologies, Home of The Digital Executive Podcast.

[00:00:12] Brian Thomas: Welcome to The Digital Executive. Today’s guest is Brandon Hartley. As the lead underwriter for QBE North America, Brandon Hartley works to proactively find creative solutions to help win and retain clients by addressing their unique risk management needs. In line with QBE North America’s retail PNC risk appetite, he generally handles both new and renewal business for accounts ranging from 100K to 3 million in premium.

Brennan has nine years of experience managing middle market commercial accounts, all with Travelers, where he was most recently an account executive. During his career, he has also volunteered with several insurance associations and has helped develop various projects and programs at Travelers. He has participated in leadership development programs and coached and mentored summer interns over the past three years.

Well, good afternoon, Brandon. Welcome to the show.

[00:01:03] Brandon Hartley: Thank you, Brian.

[00:01:04] Brian Thomas: Thank you for jumping on, making the time, love doing these things, getting out of bed, meeting somebody new every single day. So Brandon, let’s just jump into these questions here. Got an amazing background, your careers in risk insurance and underwriting.

Leading up to your current role as Lead Underwriter at QBE North America. Could you share with our audience the secret to your career growth and what inspires you?

[00:01:28] Brandon Hartley: Sure, Brian. So, there’s a saying that the best ability is availability. I’ve always focused on being available for opportunities when they present themselves.

So many people focus on doing their best at their job that they’re hired for, but never take on additional tasks or opportunities. What has worked for me is figuring out how to do my job at a high level, while also maximizing efficiency so that I’m available when side projects or opportunities present themselves.

This increases my exposure to others to notice my quality of work, while at the same time, bringing more to the table that benefits the company. Throughout my career, anytime my company needs volunteers for a new project, my hand is the first one that goes up. If not for this approach, I would not be talking with you here today.

You’ve interviewed CEOs and heads of industries on The Digital Executive, and I don’t hold any of those titles, but my availability to seize opportunities have led me here. To answer the second half of your question, what inspires and motivates me the most about underwriting is the competitive nature of the job.

When I underwrite an account, I strive to uncover all of this exposures and controls. To put out the best quote. Most times I’m in competition with other companies also trying to win that account. I’ve always been very competitive, and I don’t like to lose. So anytime I’m quoting an account and there’s competition.

I’m inspired to uncover and find that one piece of information that other other writers may miss that can sway the account in my favor. That’s what motivates me.

[00:02:56] Brian Thomas: That’s awesome. Thank you. I appreciate you breaking that out for us Brandon, and you’ve got a lot of enthusiasm in what you do. So, we appreciate that for sure.

Brandon, you’ve got quite a diverse and seasoned career. Could you tell us how that has helped you in your role at QBE?

[00:03:13] Brandon Hartley: Sure. What has helped me the most at QBE is my prior career experiences. Prior to my career in insurance, I was a store manager for a major Fortune 500 retail company, and I also held a job as a buyer and vehicle appraiser for a major Fortune 500 car dealership.

Through those experiences, I gained firsthand knowledge about retail exposures, shopping center and real estate exposures, dealership exposures, and I learned a lot about different vehicle parts. And how to identify issues with those parts. Once I became an underwriter, every insurance carrier’s focus was writing more manufacturing.

One of the biggest manufacturing industries here in the Southeast is the auto parts manufacturing industry. I began to market to all my brokers that specialize in auto parts industry that I was a former vehicle appraiser or buyer that understood car parts and how they work and what can go wrong with them.

I began to see an influx of auto parts manufacturing accounts hit my desk. For And I learned as much as I could about each individual company and the parts they were making. I attended as many loss control visits as I could to learn the unique exposures, emerging technologies and trends. and controls each company had.

This has helped me in my role at QDE because not only am I a lead underwriter here, but I am also a subject matter expert in the auto parts manufacturing industry. I am one of the leading underwriters of manufacturing accounts here at QDE and other underwriters value my opinion on manufacturing risks.

[00:04:42] Brian Thomas: That’s awesome. Thank you for sharing the level of effort you went in to learn, the things that you’re doing for underwriting, obviously that’s so important and that makes you an invaluable asset there for your shareholders and your organization. So, thank you.

Brandon, you spoke of unique exposures in emerging technologies, which that’s our platform. We focus on emerging tech. What emerging technologies have you noticed in the manufacturing industry?

[00:05:10] Brandon Hartley: Right now, there’s three emerging technologies that I’ve noticed in the manufacturing industry. That’s top of my list.

They are number one, co bots, number two, additive manufacturing, and number three, computer aided design and manufacturing. Co bots are collaborative robots. Unlike industrial robots that occupy its own designated space within a manufacturing plant, co bots work alongside employees. An example of a co bot would be a logistics robot that transports materials within a building.

When dealing with co bots, there’s four levels of collaboration. First is coexistence, which means employees and robots work alongside each other. Second is sequential collaboration, which is employees and robots share a workspace but they do not work on a part at the same time. Third is cooperation.

Robots and employees work on the same part at the same time. And fourth is responsive collaboration, which is the robots respond in real time to the movement of the employees. The second emerging technology that’s on my list is additive manufacturing. We all know of this as 3D printing. When it comes to 3D printing in industry, There’s metal 3D printing and there’s plastic 3D printing.

Metal powder bed fusion is a process in which metal powder is heated and melted by a laser. This is done in layers until the final product is formed. This process enables manufacturers to create complex designs with the minimum waste, as metal powder can be recycled and reused. With plastic 3D printing, plastic is melted and instantly cooled in layers to create the ultimate shape of the product. The third emerging technology that’s on my list is computer aided design and computer aided manufacturing, also known as CAD and CAM. CAD and CAM is software that allows designers and engineers to create detailed, accurate 3d models of a part or product that they want to fabricate.

And it allows them to test them in simulations before fabrication begins. This reduces the risk of error and wasted materials. I’ll give you a real-life example. Just last week I was working on a automobile seat manufacturer that uses CAM to test new seat frame designs and how those seat frames would react to impact in different crash scenarios.

They were able to run all of the simulations using C. A. M. instead of using crash test dummies. And test cars, thus saving on resources and materials. As an underwriter, it’s important for me to remember that new technology can improve the human work condition and remove manual material handling jobs that causes claims but can also present its own set of exposures.

For instance, with improved technology comes greater risk for cyber-attacks, business interruption if complex machines and robots fail to work or need repair, and machine and robot safeguards to ensure that employees don’t injure themselves on moving parts.

[00:08:08] Brian Thomas: Thank you. And I appreciate you sharing those three different examples of the technology that you’re seeing in the emerging tech and manufacturing industry. So again, so much appreciated Brandon. And Brandon, last question of the day. Can you share something from your career experience that would be helpful for those looking to grow their career in either leadership or underwriting?

[00:08:28] Brandon Hartley: Sure, Brian. The advice I would give to those looking to grow their career in leadership or underwriting would be to frequently set goals that will lead you on your path of growth. Embrace opportunities and display the attributes. For the role you want, not just the role you have.

[00:08:45] Brian Thomas: Thank you. That’s awesome. I appreciate everything that you’re doing there at QBE. You’ve made such an impression, not only here on the podcast, but I’m sure you’re wowing all your customers across the industry. So, thanks again, Brandon. And Brandon, it was a pleasure having you on today, and I look forward to speaking with you real soon.

[00:09:04] Brandon Hartley: Thank you, Brian. It was a pleasure speaking with you today and sharing my journey and experiences. I really enjoyed it.

[00:09:10] Brian Thomas: Bye for now.

Brandon Hartley Podcast Transcript. Listen to the audio on the guest’s podcast page.


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