Employee Spotlight – Amanda O’Brien knows the importance of timing

Amanda O’Brien, Sr. Underwriter for Velocity’s Large Commercial team, knows that timing is everything. After graduating from the University of California, Irvine, with a Psychology Degree, Amanda continued bartending during a difficult job market, until a friend at a party encouraged her to apply at Swiss Re. The job would take her from Southern California to San Francisco and would be the start of her love for insurance.

Amanda enjoyed five years in San Francisco with a view of the Pacific Ocean from her apartment. When Swiss Re wanted to expand its property presence in Houston, Texas, Amanda was ready for a new chapter and knew it was time to make the move. Houston brought many new adventures including a husband, a new job and a new respect for hurricanes.

Two days after returning from her honeymoon, Amanda experienced the worst 48 hours of her life. They were expecting rain and had stocked up on supplies. But no one expected 50 inches of rain. They got creative and used bags of flour and sugar as makeshift sandbags to keep the water out of their home. They crafted miniature boats from pool noodles for the dogs. They watched neighbors on canoes float past their house. Thankfully, the water receded, but not before creating a toxic mold situation in their rental home. It was time to move.

While unpacking belongings in a new rental home, Amanda received a call from Velocity Risk Underwriters. The job sounded perfect, and it was in Chicago. Even before the interview, Amanda turned to her husband and told him to stop unpacking boxes.

Amanda interviewed with more than a dozen employees at Velocity’s Nashville and Birmingham offices. Rather than finding the interview grueling, she was impressed with the culture and the team, and loved the idea of helping to open the new office in Chicago. In fact, opening the new office was one of the best memories of her two years of working for Velocity.

“Amanda always has a positive outlook that is contagious to those around her,” according to Carolyn Parker, Chief Underwriting Office for Velocity’s Large Commercial Team. “She’s not afraid to take on new challenges, which was evidenced in her work at helping to open the new office right out of the gate.”

Since joining the organization two years ago, Amanda has been promoted and has a team of her own. She enjoys training them and helping them progress and grow.  As a Sr. Underwriter she also works closely with brokers, negotiating pricing, and providing the coverage they need to protect the customers from catastrophic insurance losses.

Nina Chiappetta, VP of Large Commercial, couldn’t be happier with Amanda’s tenacity and drive for success, adding that “She goes above and beyond in everything she does and has proven to be a natural leader and a mentor to the newer folks on the team.”

In February, timing was again in Amanda’s favor, as both sets of grandparents were able to meet their newest granddaughter, Cameron, right before the chaos of COVID-19 began. Since then, they’ve had to rely on video chats and look forward to another in-person meeting soon. When Amanda is not working or caring for her new baby, she and her husband consider themselves foodies. They enjoy exploring the neighborhoods and restaurants in Chicago, which has evolved into cooking new recipes in their own kitchen.