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Broker Spotlight: Chris Karcz, ARC Excess & Surplus LLC

Broker Background

With a career spanning over two decades, Chris Karcz has cemented his position as a leading broker at ARC Excess & Surplus LLC, specializing in management and professional liability insurance. His focus on small businesses, particularly in the realms of Directors & Officers (D&O) and Employment Practices Liability (EPL), has not only showcased his dedication but also his ability to navigate the complex needs of these entities. This interview dives into Chris's rich career, giving insights into his experiences, cataloging the changes he's witnessed in the insurance industry, and sharing his perspective on its future.

What got you interested in insurance?

"My entry into the insurance world was somewhat accidental, as is the case for most of us. I had never considered a career in insurance, but my brother had already been in the industry for several years when I found myself looking for a job. At the recommendation of his best friend's father (Al Salvatico), my brother joined ARC, the wholesale brokerage that Salvatico had co-founded (along with Christopher Cavallaro and Richard Fierstein). My brother was the catalyst for my own journey into the insurance industry. He introduced me to the field, and from there I set out on what would become a really rewarding career path. That was over two decades ago, and looking back, it was a decision that set the foundation for a tough-earned, fulfilling professional life."

How have you seen the insurance industry change?

"The industry has certainly evolved. Twenty-four years ago, when I began my career at ARC, nothing was digitized. We didn’t have emails or online forms. The process of submitting applications and documents was heavily reliant on fax machines and sending items through the mail. We expected application responses from underwriters within a week or two, which is unthinkable in today's digital environment. The advent of digital technology and email transformed how we conduct business, making the process so much faster and more efficient — which allows us to do more business."

When you think about the future of the industry, what do you anticipate?

"The insurance industry is undoubtedly moving towards even greater digitization and automation, especially with the rise of online quoting platforms, specifically for small business accounts. Automation offers convenience and efficiency; it also brings challenges, especially for specialized products like management and professional liability insurance. 

These platforms can lack the depth of expertise and personal touch that brokers provide, which is crucial for helping policyholders navigate complex coverages. With this overhaul of automation, the value of a broker is more important than ever, helping policyholders to understand their coverages and choose the policies that are best for their business."

What’s one of the biggest things you’ve learned working in insurance?

"The insurance industry is demanding, and it can be challenging to disconnect from work, even and especially during personal time. One of the most significant lessons I've learned is the importance of striving toward a sustainable work-life balance. I'm definitely guilty of not being able to step away and unplug — including taking calls on vacation, standing infront of the Sagrada Familia in Spain. Looking back on it, it’s highlighted the need for me to set boundaries to protect my own well-being and the time I have with my family."

If you were to give advice to a young person working in insurance, what would it be?

"For someone new to the insurance industry, the best piece of advice I would give is to prioritize service and responsiveness. The nature of our business is inherently service-oriented, and as brokers, our success hinges on our ability to communicate well and manage expectations. Whether it's responding promptly to inquiries or managing hundreds of emails a day, these practices help to build client trust and establish your own reliability with clients. This industry is so relationship driven, and it’s important to always stay on top of your clients' needs."

What is your proudest or most fulfilling career moment?

"Reflecting on my career, the moments that stand out to me the most aren’t awards or recognition, they’re the experiences and satisfaction I’ve had helping clients navigate their unique challenges. Whether it's receiving a heartfelt thank you from a client who appreciates the effort and dedication we've put into managing their risks, or the sense of achievement from securing coverage for a particularly difficult account, these types of experiences remind you of the impact of your work."

What do you value most about your partnership with Counterpart?

"I value my partnership with Counterpart for a few reasons, all of which center around the exceptional level of service you provide. Counterpart's quick turnaround times and proactive approach to business not only facilitate smoother transactions, but also enhance our ability to serve our clients effectively. We have a mutual commitment to responsiveness and efficiency, which directly translates to better outcomes for our clients. Your team not only understands our commitment to excellence and client satisfaction, but you reflect that commitment back to us as well."

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