Our “A Rewarding New York Life” series shines a light on the breadth of opportunity available at New York Life and explores how a role here could check a lot of boxes when it comes to finding a rewarding career and nailing that work-life balance.
With a history spanning 177 years, New York Life is an insurance company that thrives on its people. And when it comes to group life insurance, New York Life has been protecting employees and their families for several decades.
In 2020, with the acquisition of Cigna’s group insurance (CGI) business, New York Life took an exciting step. This was the largest acquisition in the company’s history and resulted in what is now known as New York Life Group Benefit Solutions (GBS).
We spoke to a group of our dynamic GBS employees about who they are, what they do, and how New York Life supports their personal and professional goals.
Underwriter, GBS – Staci Johnson
Without a strong team of skilled underwriters, insurance companies would struggle. The success of insurance products relies on the work of an accomplished underwriter—and Staci Johnson is exactly that.
In this conversation, Staci explains why she finds her work so rewarding, and how she has found New York Life’s culture to be supportive, flexible, and inspiring.
The Person / “Finding a balance”
Staci had something of an “ah-ha” moment while majoring in finance during college. Imagining a life in wealth management or financial planning was what lay ahead, Staci took a class in risk management on a whim. Suddenly a different door opened.
“It was this whole other side of finance! I was able to combine my finance and math background in a full-time training program for underwriters. It just sounded like the perfect fit because I could use the finance experience alongside risk analysis skills—and get to help people as a result. It was such a good balance.”
Now, eight years into her career working as an Underwriter for New York Life Group Benefit Solutions, Staci explains that doing something to help others is still a huge part of what motivates her professionally. Staci’s tenure in her career represents the combined time she spent working at CGI and New York Life.
“While we don't work with customers and clients directly, we do find out how these benefits work and how they impact people on a personal level. And when you start to grow in your role you can connect the dots—maybe you know someone who has had to utilize life or disability insurance. It is absolutely a driving force to know you are a part of something that is helping people.”
“There's a lot of people from different backgrounds and experiences at New York Life. I love getting to work with people in other hubs. You can start to expand your network outside of the office and I think it's a huge advantage. "—Staci Johnson.
The Role / “Math meets creativity”
So, what does an underwriter do exactly? Staci finds the role is a rewarding mixture of analytical and creative thinking.
“I analyze the demographics, profitability, and the overall risk of a company’s life and disability coverage for their employees. We determine the appropriate pricing and premiums based on the client's financial needs, while balancing risk management.”
“I love when I can find a creative solution to a complex problem. I've been here for almost eight years and I'm still learning new things and being challenged in my day-to-day role. So, while it's primarily a finance space, I love the creative thinking that is a huge part of it.”
While for the most part Staci works individually on new business cases, she is part of a larger team of underwriters who reach out to each other often. Beyond that, she regularly needs to collaborate with colleagues in sales and wider departments across the company and country.
“There's a lot of people from different backgrounds and experiences at New York Life. I love getting to work with people in other hubs. You can start to expand your network outside of the office and I think it's a huge advantage. I think it expands creative thinking and stimulates collaboration—it is great to interact with and get exposure to a variety of perspectives.”
The Culture / “Flexible and challenging”
When it comes to balancing the personal and the professional, Staci finds the culture at New York Life to be a perfect fit.
“New York Life offers my ideal work-life balance flexible paid time off, and 1/2 day summer Fridays. It is a standard 8-5 job, but there can also be flexibility in those hours when needed. A lot of people in our office have kids and sometimes you might need to leave early to get to an appointment or something, and that is supported.
“Personally, I recently completed my MBA. I was able to go to school part time and if I had finals coming up, I felt supported to take time to study (Staci was able to use PTO as needed for her studies).”
But it isn’t just flexible working that Staci values. In her experience, New York Life emulates an environment where professional growth is facilitated and encouraged.
“One of my favorite things about working at New York Life is the career development opportunities. They really cultivate an environment where everyone's successes are championed, and I feel like managers who I've worked with are truly looking to help their employees achieve their individual goals.”
Finally, how would Staci summarize being a part of New York Life?
“Everyone is really supportive of each other! There's a collaborative team environment and community culture. It’s a great place to work.”
New York Life is an equal opportunity employer M/F/Veteran/Disability/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity
Feel inspired? Why not apply to one of our many open roles today.
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