“[We] do have boots on the ground, which helps us get a leg up in another area,” she said. “The legal [frameworks] between California, Colorado, Texas, Mississippi, Minnesota, Wisconsin are all very unique. But I believe that based on the fact that we do have people on the ground, we’re able to navigate and be a solution provider as well as have absolute top-notch claims handling, and [we] can operate in such a way that really gives us a competitive advantage.”
That competitive edge has brought opportunities for Markel not only in the Western states, said Houser.
“We’ve been in business almost 100 years and over time we’ve made several acquisitions and grown considerably. It’s using the power of the platform that we have available in making sure that our clients know [the] expansive offering that we have,” she said.
In addition to having frontline capabilities and thriving program operations, Markel continues to innovate, she said. It also educates its customers while collaborating more closely with international or national counterparts, which is expected to further strengthen the company’s performance in the years ahead.
Houser highlighted the importance of developing the expertise of organizations and individuals in the specialty marketplace by “constantly learning and being aware of what’s going on in the world and educating [themselves] almost on a daily basis.” She believes that because insurance is a “relationship industry,” professionals need to network with people they can learn from.
“The mentors that I’ve had in my life have greatly contributed to the success I’ve had. I also believe in reverse mentorship for early careers. I dedicate a tremendous amount of time and giving back, you know, to try to bring others along, [and in] that I learn as well. And then finally, not be afraid to take risks,” she said.