Carson Herron, Underwriting Assistant, grew up near the eastern shores of North Carolina, and when it came time to choose a university, he wanted a change of scenery. Appalachian State University seemed the perfect choice: close to family, a great investment in education and one of the most beautiful campuses in the country.
Carson’s early focus at the university was finance, but after taking Principles of Insurance as an elective, it wasn’t long before he’d found his passion. One of Carson’s first childhood memories was hiding in a bathroom with his family as Hurricane Isabel made landfall as a Category 2 storm on September 18, 2003. Luckily, his home sustained only mild flooding damage, but the memory of that day would stay with him forever. When he learned about insurance and carriers who would build back homes and communities destroyed by Isabel and other hurricanes, he had to know more.
As Carson’s insurance knowledge grew, he discovered Excess & Surplus Lines, which are carriers who specialize in hard-to-place insurance, such as homes and buildings in hurricane zones. Carson also liked the fact that the E&S world was relationship based. Carriers, brokers and customers all talked to each other when shopping or placing insurance. The automated world of online insurance shopping did not appeal to him; he wanted to connect insureds and insurers through human interaction.
In 2019, an opportunity presented itself that would change the direction of his life. He applied for an internship with WSIA (Wholesale & Specialty Insurance Association). After several rounds of interviews, Carson was one of only 20 of the top collegiate prospects chosen. He would spend half of the internship learning more about underwriting and the second half learning more about the brokerage opportunity. This specialized internship was designed to help young scholars make career decisions after graduation.
Carson began his internship at Velocity Risk Underwriters’ Birmingham office where he shadowed a different large commercial underwriter each week. He enjoyed learning that while every underwriter looked at risk differently, everyone had the same overall focus and team spirit. He also traveled to Velocity’s headquarters in Nashville where he gained insight in Claims, Marketing, Personal Lines and other areas of the organization. He spent the last half of his internship at a southern California brokerage, and knew almost immediately, that his focus would on the underwriting side; hopefully with Velocity Risk Underwriters.
As the internship ended, Carson was honored as one of the top ten interns out of the small group of 20. That honor meant he would attend the annual WSIA conference where he again met with Velocity Risk Underwriters. He was hopeful for an offer, but it didn’t come before the Appalachian State University career fair later that year. As he entered the hall in a suit and tie, ready to meet potential employers, he saw the offer letter from Velocity on his phone and walked out. He knew he didn’t need to talk to anyone else. He was excited about the job before he knew any of the details.
Nina Chiappetta, Vice President of Large Commercial, knew during the interview that Carson would be an asset to the organization. “Carson started with us in June 2020 and has already proven to be one of leading stars of Velocity’s next generation. He had an immediate impact on the team from Day 1. Carson isn’t shy about asking questions, speaking up in meetings and volunteering for special projects to help the overall team. I’m excited to watch as he grows in his career and know he is going to do great things.”
After graduation, Carson moved to Chicago and began his career all in the middle of COVID. He was grateful for his manager, Amanda O’Brien, Sr. Underwriter, who was a great teacher and a great mentor, giving him real cases to work on within a week of joining the company. “His positive attitude and strong work ethic make him a perfect fit for Velocity,” according to O’Brien. “He hit the ground running and has already made a huge impact on the Large Commercial team, even taking on more responsibility when we were a team of only two for a short time last year.”
His most memorable case was a current customer whose renewal was scheduled to be received on the same day as he interviewed for this story. Amanda and Carson had been working on the account for months. This billion-dollar schedule of properties was important to Velocity, and that meant it was important to Carson, who brings his whole self to work every day. He knows that what he does and how he does it will have a direct impact on customers. He loves tackling challenging cases and learned before the end of this interview that the renewal came through and Velocity would remain the insurer for another year.
Moving to a big city during COVID was not easy for Carson, but he knew how to make the most of a challenging situation, exploring the city as limits would allow and returning to the office as soon as permission was granted. As someone who loves building relationships, distance learning and working from home was not his first choice.
Carson is also a lifetime learner and is currently studying for his Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation. Chris Butler, Sr. Underwriter in Large Commercial, sees this characteristic in Carson every day. “One of our core values at Velocity is ‘responsibility.’ Carson is a wonderful embodiment of what that value looks like,” according to Butler. “He truly cares about our stakeholders and our customers. Carson actively seeks out new opportunities to learn, whether it be about a mundane task or the industry as a whole. The best part about Carson is that he shares his findings with others. When Carson talks, people listen…and that’s just not something that can be easily replicated.”
When he is not working or studying, Carson like to be active. He enjoys working out at the gym, exploring the Lincoln Park Zoo and other parts of Chicago. He even participated the in the Susan G. Komen virtual walk/run by running along Lake Michigan in frigid weather to help raise money for women’s cancer research.