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JOHN HEANER Associate managing director, underwriter for commercial insurance

Burns & Wilcox Ltd.

Tampa, Florida

Coming from a family of people working in insurance, John Heaner said he knew the business is all about building relationships. His communications degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill helped him fine-tune some of those personal skills needed to be more effective as an underwriter and broker. “I knew my talent was sales and that I gravitate toward that,” he said. “I did an internship at Companion Property & Casualty Group, and after graduation from college I went back to the same company.”


What’s a problem that needs fixing in your sector?

Client expectations for turnaround time. In a world of everything being available to anyone at the click of a button, so goes everyone’s expectations on insurance. People believe it’s quick to turn around an insurance policy, and the reality is there is a lot more involved. There’s a lot of underwriting that needs to take place before offers are sent. There’s a whole lot of work behind the scenes to find a solution for an account.


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

Continue to invest more heavily in technology. Anything we can do to make it more attractive to people coming out of college. The younger generation are all looking for opportunities that have a sleek and fresh and new way of doing things.


Favorite hobby or pastime?

I love playing soccer. I played my entire life, and I still get out and play pickup ball with people.


What did you want to be when you grew up?

I always wanted to become an orthodontist or dentist, and then when I was in school I decided I don’t want to be in school that long.


Favorite song?

“Keep on Loving You” by REO Speedwagon.