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NAVIGATING CHANGING TIDES Within a rapidly evolving underwriting environment, Safety National EVP and chief underwriting officer Gus Aivaliotis has managed to steer his team, and the company’s customers, toward success

WHILE THE insurance industry might struggle to attract fresh graduates today, Gus Aivaliotis already had his sights set on underwriting when he finished college in 1988. Despite studying accounting in school, Aivaliotis pursued a position as an underwriting trainee and has made the field his home ever since, today serving as executive vice president and chief underwriting officer for Safety National. “I enjoyed the challenge that comes with needing to understand the wide variety of industries and operations that create exposures for businesses in terms of financial risk,” he says. “Out of college, I purposefully focused on getting into the underwriting field and went through a formalized training program. After three-plus decades in the industry, I have really enjoyed the challenges that come with a dynamic industry that’s critical to the economies of the world.” Following several stints at insurance companies that were later purchased by larger players in the industry, Aivaliotis seized the opportunity to become a senior vice president in large casualty at Safety National in 2008. For many reasons, he says, it was a step in the right direction. “Safety National was the right fit because it’s the right size – we have all the resources

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of much larger competitors, but we have an entrepreneurial spirit that’s very flexible,” Aivaliotis says. “We have all the benefits of being a large company and part of the Tokio Marine group of companies, but we’re a relatively small company in the industry, so we can be very fast-moving and attentive to customer needs.” Looking back on his standout moments at Safety National, Aivaliotis sees immense

to form a team to accomplish tasks, that, to me, has been the most meaningful moment of my career.”

The evolution of underwriting The rapid pace of change in today’s business environment has kept underwriting professionals on their toes. “Emerging industries and technological advancements, along with an ever-changing

“Emerging industries and technological advancements, along with an ever-changing social, environmental and regulatory environment, keep the underwriting role fresh” value in his team’s efforts to accomplish meaningful underwriting results, which in turn has had a bearing on the success of the company’s clients. “Insurance is a critical component of any successful economy, and businesses have to mitigate their exposures to financial loss,” he explains, “so when you find people who recognize the value of insurance, who are highly motivated to succeed and enjoy combining

social, environmental and regulatory environment, keep the underwriting role fresh, and you have to evolve and adapt continuously in order to be successful, so there’s never a stagnant moment,” Aivaliotis says. “You have to figure out from a carrier’s perspective how to react and provide value to customers as they try to protect their businesses and financial assets in this ever-changing world.” The gig economy is one of the emerging

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