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30+ days ago

Specialty Insurance Underwriter Trainee

Burns & Wilcox Arlington, TX

Calling all recent college graduates. Want to be challenged every day? Do you have an entrepreneurial spirit? We are not your typical insurance… Burns & Wilcox

Burns & Wilcox Reviews

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Alan Jay Kaufman
29 Ratings
  • Helpful (12)

    You are replaceable they say. No respect for experience.

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    • Culture & Values
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    Former Employee - Commercial Underwriter in Arlington, TX
    Former Employee - Commercial Underwriter in Arlington, TX

    I worked at Burns & Wilcox

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO


    Almost none, see cons section.


    ATTENTION COLLEGE GRADS: Avoid this place at all cost. This is a horrible place to learn insurance. You learn by asking question and memorizing answers, but rarely the why, so you can learn the business. First, you will be HAZED by doing a job you were qualified to do in high school, for what could be months. Then you will be placed on a production team that is too busy to alot time for training. You could easily get pigeon holed into a low level assistant job for years, if you are placed on a bad team that doesn't have time or doesn't want to train. There is a great amount of turnover for new hires, so most people are burnt out on training new people. ALSO, don't fall for the KELP program. This is only a branded training with little substance. You may learn selling 101 and get a dog and pony show of home office, but NO technical training on what you're selling. ATTENTION UN-EXPERIENCED HIRES: Read above college grad section and omit the slightest bit of training mentioned and replace it with, WILL BE PIGENHOLD FOREVER. You are the B&W ideal candidate as they can way underpay you and won't get good training to be marketable to the competitors. ATTENTION EXPERIENCED HIRES: Hopefully you already have a good understanding of underwriting, coverage forms, the market place or at least some of these skills. If so, this is only a good stepping stone to learn E&S. They constantly need to plug holes in staffing, but only 1% of new hires have good working experience. People with experience don't stick around as they are highly marketable and good talent is a hot commodity and don't have to endure the culture at Burns. Compensation: You will be paid below the market at whatever level you come in at. The office is in Arlington(on purpose to get Fort Worth and surrounding area employees cheap) which means they automatically pay less than Dallas wholesalers. B&W hired a pay Czar to figure out why people are leaving. The Czar compares wages at the office against Arlington demographics to support their low wages and make them appear competitive. I would suggest a move to Dallas where wages are much higher or just commute. Likely to get at least a 10k bump, probably more. Bonus plans are discretionary for everyone except underwriters/brokers and it the most complicated formula, that they don't explain well. There is a 30% holdback on the bonus for accounting errors, or what I like to call an employee retention tool. If you leave, you automatically forfeit that 30%. Culture: Follow the rules no matter if they make logical sense or not. Don't question status quo. Some employees are extremely disrespectful to peers and/or superiors and get away with it(see favoritism section), but there are some very good people too. The office doesn't close if there is ice on the ground, even if the mayor advises to stay off the roads. No working from home unless it's outside of 8:30am-5pm. Most teams have a quiet, keep to yourself vibe, not typically a fun environment. Demographics: The average age is very young, most under 30, but there are some veterans waiting out retirement. There is an above average amount of females in a low weight class, they are favored and it's obvious in every way. Management: The head person of the office thinks he's the greatest thing to walk this planet. His ideas are the greatest and there can be no other way to succeed in this business unless you work for him, you will be told this. This person directly influences the culture mentioned above. All of the managers below this person are underwriters/baby sitters. Nepotism/Favoritism: This is one of the worst problems in the office. I don't believe someone should get a pass in the door because your mom/dad works here. These people could do no wrong, get put into better situations and could never be fired. They will go to the most golf outings, shop on their phone all day at work 2 hour lunches with dad and the most chances to pass insurance licensing exams(most don't need this though). Everyone knows the situation and there just isn't respect for this in the office. The next part of this is the friends of the higher ups or the friends of the higher ups kids. They will get away with anything and if you bring a problem to the higher ups, they will tell you to mind your own business. Systems: A blast local email to just the approximately 70 people on the office will freeze your computer, this is laughable and just embarrassing for such a large company. You use 2 main systems that barely talk to each other creating a lot of duplication. These systems make no logical sense and are extremely difficult to master. The best thing that helped workflow while there was an excel spreadsheet an X employee built, IT has done nothing to make the systems better or make you more efficient at your job. The data mgmt trusts underwriters to see is useless except to see overall book production. Most data isn't trusted for underwriters to see. Markets: There are a fair amount of in house markets, but I would say half are useless. There are some good brokerage markets, but don't come here to be a broker, not a brokerage mindset atmosphere. The mindset is that the markets are there to burn. Maybe how the name came about. No true partnerships in the traditional way. Underwriting role: This is the impossible job. If you want to grow your book and make good money, you are destined to lose. You are there to build a business they say, but you have no control on who is on your team or their compensation. You will train staff while building a book, which can be done in the early stages. Once you get your assistant trained and productive, management will switch them to another team or promote to an underwriter(you will have no input on how they are progressing, what they know or still need to learn). Now that you have a growing book and a good rhythm and use to have staff with experience, they will give you a new person to train from scratch. You will be doing your job, the work load of your old assistant and training and trying to grow a book so you can make more money. This is the point your book stagnates or shrink until you can get back up to speed with your new team alignment. The other scenario is you have a good assistant and they get poached by a competitor because they were so underpaid and probably unhappy with all of the above. In summary, you are handed usually poor resources to build a team, so the bonus incentive essentially caps out as you are a limited resources and can't do the job of 2 people every time your team is shaken up. This has been repeated over and over again except for some of the veterans. The only way to be successful is to wait everyone out, become a manager, run off your good underwriters(all of the above is enough) and absorb their book; you can easily double your book in 2 years with this approach. Advice to management: Hiring restaurant servers, the hotel cleaning crew and captive agency CSR's is not where you go to find good talent. Stop hiring TCU grads, your getting adverse selection for the most part due to the low starting wage. Do the opposite of almost all your management practices, they are usually backwards to what a logical and methodical leader would do. Create a true training program that teaches the technical side of the business and not just how to type a policy and the Q&A training approach. Listen to your employees, on how they can improve the office, business, systems and whatever else. The few times you do ask for opinions, do it in an approachable atmosphere and not in a fiery meeting where you might fire an employee on a whim for saying something, true story. Overall the B&W model is dated in every which way. You need to improve technology and rethink workload/workflow. For the sake of the ones that are stuck, stop the meaningless reports that track productivity; the reports have very good data, but is trashed on a weekly basis instead of compiling and building off the inputted data. Keep it classy, talking about current/former employees publicly is not achieving what you think it is.

    Advice to Management

    I know you're reading this and will do nothing to change. Your loss.

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