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OLIVIA DERDERIAN Master underwriter

Great American Insurance Group

New York

“There’s a need for people who understand the technical side of environmental insurance,” said Olivia Derderian, who has been with Great American Insurance Group for six years and is preparing to expand her staff. Trained as an environmental engineer at Manhattan College, she was told by a friend’s mother of the insurance industry’s needs for environmental engineers. Prior to joining Great American, she worked for Langan Engineering and Environmental Services.

What’s your top tip for working remotely?

Set a schedule for yourself. Stick to a routine — the same routine every day. Work out in the morning, for example.

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

We’re tightening up a little on appetite and doing a more thorough evaluation of each account. I keep communication open with my brokers and try to understand the needs of the insured.

How will your work change going forward?

Right now, what I’m focusing on is managing a larger staff, moving from one to two. I am working toward more of a management role, which will bring an added dimension.

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

Emphasize flexibility, working from home. People are more attracted now to flexibility. Working from home is a big attraction. It’s important to have some sort of flexibility.

What’s one habit or hobby you adopted during the pandemic?

Yoga. I had never really gotten into yoga before, but during the pandemic it gave me something to do before work now that I don’t have to commute. I do short classes, 25 minutes online, and have found that to be very helpful.

All-time favorite movie?

I love the movie “Moonstruck.”

What is your favorite meal?

It’s between pizza and shawarma.