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CHRIS BUTLER Senior underwriter, large commercial

Velocity Risk Underwriters LLC


Chris Butler became interested in insurance after he landed an internship at RLI Corp. On returning to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, he took electives as a finance major that would position him to enter the industry. Specializing in property, after a couple of jobs he helped launch Velocity’s Chicago office in 2018.

What’s your top tip for working remotely?

Communication. Pick up the phone, don’t just email or IM. It’s hard to build a culture remotely so it’s things like a Zoom happy hour or a daily team call that are pivotal to success right now.

What’s your advice on navigating the current insurance market?

Stay flexible. The rules we thought governed don’t govern. We’re in a hard market, but are we really in a hard market with all the capital that continues to flow in? Using underwriting as an example, you need to go beyond what a broker tells you they need because the way that you get the win may not be what they are asking for. You may have an idea that a broker hasn’t considered.

What should the industry do to attract more young people to work in it?

We have to continue to engage with colleges and universities — I think that’s huge — continue internship programs and reach out to people who don’t know that insurance might be for them. And we need to encourage people to bring their authentic self to work — that’s especially important to young people.

What is something about you that would surprise people?

I’m a very shy person and I spend a lot of time and effort being outgoing. One of the things I did when I moved to Chicago was to take improv and writing classes at Second City.

All-time favorite movie?

“Star Wars: Episode III.” I know it’s in the prequels, but it’s surprisingly complex.