Employee Feature – Alistair CartwrightQ: You joined Trisura in 2017 as a senior underwriter in Developer Surety. Can you share what drew you in about the company?

A: For most of my career I have worked for small and mid-size companies. I’ve found that working for smaller companies that are growing quickly is the most exciting and rewarding. I had the opportunity to get to know a number of Trisura employees through my attendance at industry events. In my interactions with people, there seemed to be a growing level of excitement surrounding Trisura and what the company has been able to accomplish in such a short period of time. I heard this from both employees and external partners. Trisura has an excellent reputation in the industry. They’re known for being creative, client focused, proactive, and as an excellent service provider. This, coupled with the energy, camaraderie, and dedication of the employees is what really got me excited about the opportunity to work at the company.

Q: How did you get started in developer surety? What have you learned along the way?

A:  I consider myself very fortunate to have ended up working in developer surety. Prior to joining Trisura, I had been employed at a global reinsurance brokerage as an operations analyst. Prior to that, I worked at an insurance and surety company as a business analyst. I had expressed a keen interest in becoming a surety underwriter in my last analyst role. The financial aspects of the job, relationship building and the project-based nature of the work particularly appealed to me. The first available surety opportunity was in the Developer Surety department of the company I was working for at the time.

Developer surety is great because every deal is different. I’m fortunate to have worked with and learned from a number of excellent underwriters. I’m constantly presented with challenges that generate opportunities to learn.  These challenges make me look at problems in different ways. Developer surety exposes you to many different fields. This is due to the involvement of the underwriter throughout the development process. It’s provided me with an opportunity to get a flavor for real estate law, planning, construction and project management, scheduling and project financing.

Q:  Developer surety is a “tightly knit” marketplace. Is that accurate?  Can you briefly explain why this is the case?

A: Absolutely.  Developer surety hasn’t been around all that long. The market includes only a handful of providers. The number of markets, underwriters and brokers involved in the business has grown substantially over the past few years. However, the industry  remains relatively small. This is especially true if compared to other surety lines of business. Many of the people involved in the industry have worked together at some point in their career. As a result, whether it be as colleagues, or in an underwriter/broker relationship the connection remains strong. This is despite the fact that their career paths may have taken them separate ways. One of the primary reasons is that there are many opportunities for members of this market to get together at different developer surety events. Many take  place throughout the year. Ultimately, surety is a relationship based business and developer surety is no different.

Q: What’s the most important thing when doing business?

A: We wear many hats in our role as underwriters. At times, we are risk managers, marketers, salespeople, financial analysts, and advisers. I’ve learned that the most important thing for us to get right when doing business is providing excellent service to our clients and broker partners. These partners have tight deadlines, and are typically working with large and varying groups of consultants, lawyers, and trades and bankers, and sureties. It’s becoming increasingly important that we provide innovative solutions so our partners can complete their current and future projects on time, as efficiently as possible. People want to do business with those that can keep their promises and deliver results.

Q: OK now the fun one. You’ve won a contest. The contest has two grand prizes. You have to choose only one prize. One, an all-expenses paid private box at the next Superbowl. The other, a backstage pass to a concert of your favourite band.

A: This is an easy one! Music has always been a major part of my life. There are a number of bands that I follow very closely. It’s rare that you get an opportunity to meet your favorite band in person. It just so happens that obtaining back stage passes to meet my favorite one, Alter Bridge, is on my bucket list!