When Mackenzie Carver, Large Commercial Underwriter, was 4 years old, she began attending insurance conferences with her dad. She remembers competing in sandcastle contests, ice cream by the pool, and souvenirs when her father traveled for work. For her, insurance was always a cool industry. As she learned more about the business of insurance in college and during an internship, it was an easy decision to continue the legacy of her father and grandparents.
Mackenzie earned her marketing degree at Mississippi State and took a few insurance classes. She was also a member of Gamma Iota Sigma, an insurance fraternity considered the industry’s talent pipeline for future careers in insurance. After completing her junior year, Mackenzie was in search of an internship. Thanks to her lifelong connection to insurance, she was able to secure a summer job with one of the largest brokerage firms in the country. She learned a tremendous amount from each business unit and found the property group most interesting.
During her senior year, Mackenzie knew she wanted a career in insurance. During her internship, she heard great things about a small and growing firm and reached out to Velocity Risk Underwriters Chief Underwriting Officer, Carolyn Parker, to inquire about a job. Carolyn recalls the conversion well, “I worked with Mackenzie’s dad and have the utmost respect for her parents. I knew immediately upon talking with her that she bore many of their same characteristics. She was eager and motivated, and willing to jump in with two feet from day one.” Mackenzie was offered an underwriting assistant job at Velocity Risk Underwriters that started a few weeks after graduation.
Mackenzie didn’t just jump in with two feet, she dove into the deep end and quickly learned to swim, thanks to the Birmingham team that launched Large Commercial for Velocity less than two years earlier. She was so impressed that everyone was willing to take the time to teach her. She not only learned insurance basics, she learned how to network.
Nina Chiappetta, VP of Large Commercial, was a great mentor, and when the office expanded to Chicago, Mackenzie wanted to help. “When we were preparing to open the Chicago office,” Nina remembers, “Mackenzie joked that maybe she should move to Chicago too. I told her that we could make that happen. Four months later and she found an apartment, sold her car, and moved to Chicago. I will be forever grateful for all that Mackenzie contributed to the office and the team.”
In Chicago, Mackenzie continued to learn, and took on more roles, including training the newest team members. She loved living in a big city and working with a small team. There was even a direct flight from O’Hare to her hometown of Meridian, Mississippi, so it was easy to visit her family.
While in Chicago, she worked closely with Amanda O’Brien, Senior Underwriter, who took Mackenzie under her wing. “Mackenzie’s positive attitude is infectious. She shows up every day ready to work and with a huge smile on her face,” according to Amanda. “Mackenzie is a team player who is always willing to help when needed; whether that be training new employees, participating in special projects, or going above and beyond to help her underwriting team. I had no doubts entrusting Mackenzie to lead my team while I was out on maternity leave.”
After Covid-19 shut down the city of Chicago and Velocity moved to a remote environment, Mackenzie decided it was time to move back to Birmingham, where she joined a new team. Patrick Carey, VP of Large Commercial taught her the power of “yes.” Patrick had a knack for looking at each risk with an open mind. He taught her to look more creatively and find reasons to write the risk rather than decline for what may have seemed concerns to her in the past.
Patrick believes Mackenzie is a true team player. “She has no ego and wants to get to work in any way she can to further team and company goals. Her work ethic and pace have become legend within Large Commercial as she’s able to handle such a tremendous volume. Brokers are very eager to praise the quality and dependability of her service.”
When it comes to paying it forward, Mackenzie encourages all young people to consider a career in insurance. She may have grown up with insurance in her blood, but she knows that once you invest time in the industry, you’ll never want to leave. She also credits Velocity for her passion thanks, in part, to the wonderful friends she’s made.
When Mackenzie isn’t building business relationships or her insurance knowledge, she loves spending time with her goldendoodle, Wrigley, named after the famous field in Chicago. After moving back to Birmingham, she also had to readapt to life in a smaller city, moving from her 50th floor apartment in the big city to a house in the suburbs. She also loves to travel and spend time with friends and family.