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RENEE BRUNS Area client service director, small business

Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.


After studying psychology as an undergrad and planning to continue her education to become a clinical psychologist, Renee Bruns took a summer job with insurance broker Hylant Group. That changed her career direction, but she said the early training has proved useful in talking with small-business clients and understanding their needs, especially amid the challenges of the pandemic.

What’s your top tip for working remotely?

Stay connected with your team and your clients. There are a lot of ways to do that — Zoom calls, web calls, phone calls, text messages. Talking about things that are not always work related is key to keeping the engagement going — just asking, “Hey, how are you doing?”

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

Communication and empathy go hand in hand. Have that conversation with your client, what they are trying to achieve, where they are … and relay that to the carriers. Many clients are trying to save a few dollars to keep doors open. Have that open mindset to keeping coverages you need.

How will your work change going forward?

The biggest thing I am excited about is we have moved to a remote environment. Our talent pool is no longer limited to one place. We have a tremendous ability to get the right talent.

What is something about you that would surprise people?

I love adventure. I am a big traveler, and I try to do as much adventure as possible. Scuba diving. Parasailing. And I am working on my pilot license. So much of my life (as a person in a wheelchair), people are telling me, ‘No, you can’t do that.’ Let me prove you wrong. I want to live life and enjoy it.

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

I had two plants, and I now have 17.