Learning and Lifting with Alyssa

This Emerging Talent Column ran in the January, 2024 edition of Captive Insurance Times. 

Alyssa Preidt of Capterra Risk Solutions speaks to Frances Jones about her experiences and influences in the industry

How has your previous experience prepared you for your current role as underwriting and claims manager?

When I accepted my first position in the captive industry, I was fresh out of college. I had a lot to learn that couldn’t come from a textbook, but I was eager.

My first role was as an underwriting associate. Since then, I’ve worked for a managing general agent and a couple of other captive firms.

These experiences prepared me in the best possible way for my current role. I learned from several teachers, who have global knowledge of both the captive and commercial insurance worlds. They have given me tools to understand how commercial and captive insurance can work together, determine sound underwriting principles, optimise meeting clients’ needs and properly adjudicate claims.

How did you end up in the captive industry?

When I graduated in May 2018, my former professor, Thomas Marshall, gave me a call notifying me that an individual from the industry was looking for a recommendation for a college graduate. He gave them my name and directed me to some resources to research more about captives.

Although we were given a high-level overview of captives in our college course material, it was not a main focus of the curriculum. After reading more, I realised that this unique industry intrigued me. Before I knew it, I was travelling down to South Carolina, spending a weekend interviewing and reading the company’s book on captives. I was offered the position shortly thereafter.

From your experience, what would you say are the key benefits of working in this industry?

The greatest benefit is the opportunity to meet entrepreneurs and executives from various different backgrounds, life experiences and industries. This is something that we get to participate in that is rarely replicated in other industries. In the captive world, I hear success stories from business owners from every walk of life.

Another benefit is the opportunity to customise an insurance programme to protect each business’ risks and assets, enabling me to think critically about specific needs and risks for different industries and businesses within those sectors.

Who have been your influences in the captive space?

There are too many influences to name them all, but there are a few in particular I’d like to thank — firstly my mentor, Alan Morris. He noticed a spark of potential in me and actively chose to develop, strengthen and foster what he saw. He continues to be a source of great inspiration to me.

Secondly, Jeff Ellington, senior vice president at Capterra Risk Solutions, has been a great teacher. He is the embodiment of an open-door policy. Jeff takes time to educate and challenge me when I need to consider a different perspective.

Lastly, Sandra Fenters, Capterra’s CEO and president, whose reputation precedes her. Since May 2022, I’ve had the pleasure to work for her. She is passionate about teaching other women in the industry and never misses an opportunity to mentor. Her ability to tell stories and connect with her clients is unparalleled.

What are your aspirations for your future career in the industry?

I’ve learned that I possess the skill of innovation, having worked on major initiatives to improve processes and systems at captive management firms. In the industry, I aim to make the processes, systems, and ways we do things simpler and more efficient. I want to continue pushing the industry forward.

What advice do you have for someone considering a role in captive insurance?

Be proactive. Put systems in place for renewal season. If you don’t have a process in place, it’s likely you will be scattered. Be prepared, work ahead and do the one extra task a day that will add up to major results by the end of the renewal season. Treat your colleagues and clients like family. Building a rapport with everyone you interact with can go a long way — there is never a situation where having a level of understanding, trust and empathy for your clients and colleagues will not serve you well.

Don’t sleep on opportunities to make improvements during your down season, the nine to 10-month period between renewals. Build a strong foundation in this season by making continual improvements. Ask questions, research, and push yourself outside of your comfort zone. You can learn about anything now on YouTube, even contractual liability!

“I became associated with Alyssa in 2018 at a South Carolina-based firm, Hamilton Captive Management. There, she led and participated in major initiatives where she consistently demonstrated strong technical knowledge of (re)insurance practices, understanding of risk management principles and the ability to effectively apply them to a broad range of functions. Additionally, the capacity to develop and effectively lead major initiatives and projects, to strategise, develop sound and effective insurance programmes, and to effectively communicate legal and regulatory issues to a wide range of internal and external audiences.

“Alyssa’s industry knowledge and her ability to provide guidance over a wide range of insurance initiatives and functions far exceed those common for her level of experience. They speak to her commitment to excellence as a professional and strong desire to add value on an ongoing basis.”

Alan Morris, ASA, ACAS, MAAA Consulting actuary and risk consultant Former chief actuary and risk officer for the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority

About Alyssa

Alyssa was raised in Belmont, North Carolina, among her family of seven. She has a passion for crossfit, is a crossfit coach and has transitioned to competitive weightlifting. In her spare time, she enjoys learning Hebrew and the piano, reading, gardening, playing with her dog Harley, and doing DIY home projects.

Alyssa has a bachelor’s degree in finance with a concentration in risk management and insurance from the Charlotte-based University of North Carolina.

Starting her career as a risk analyst at Hamilton Captive Management, she has previously held underwriting positions at Atlas Insurance Management and in the property and casualty insurance division of AmWINS Group.

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