Kelsi Guinn

Feature Story
Kelsi Guinn
Degree: 
Agricultural Business
Year Graduated: 
2013

Current employment/job title: Nationwide Insurance, Des Moines, IA, Associate Underwriter, Commercial Lines

Describe your position at Nationwide.

I am in the Nationwide Agribusiness division. Since we are commercial, we work with the larger premium accounts. The underwriter works closely with the agents or agencies in their territory to ensure their book of business is remaining profitable. The underwriter coaches the agents on the types of accounts that fit our appetite and the underwriter will then decide if we will take on the account and under what circumstances. Nationwide can suggest risk management programs to bring accounts back in good standing or help prevent future losses.

What do you like about working for Nationwide?

I like working for Nationwide because of the many opportunities to get involved. You have the opportunities to work on your career, get involved with the community, and join associate resource groups that focus on your interests. The best part is that you can make your career at Nationwide your own. You could take the fast track and focus on career development. You can also grow within your role while getting involved in various engagement committees. Nationwide really pushes for associate engagement. For example, I have been on team outings to the zoo and an iCubs game as well as participated in a bags tournament were they served ice cream.

How did you choose to work for Nationwide?

I was an intern for Nationwide one summer and truly enjoyed it. I got along very well with my co-workers as well as the other interns. I was interviewing at multiple spots, but my boss during the internship wanted me to interview for a position she had open  so I decided to give Des Moines a shot. It is not too far from family, close to some friends and I just have to go down the street for a plane ride to those out of state.

How did the Ag Business major prepare you for your position?

I would say a little bit of everything from my major has prepared me for the career path I have chosen. Interviewers were delighted with the knowledge I had of other farming practices outside of the Midwest, which I gained from many classes, including, animal science, agronomy and travel courses. Being a national company, they like to see individuals that have an expertise in other parts of the country. In underwriting, you are also analyzing the applications of the insureds which is where finance courses come into play. However, I would say the biggest success of the job is directly related to your relationships with the agencies. Being able to have that open communication and knowing how to build strong relationships is key. Networking, whether that is through group projects, involvement in clubs or taking on a leadership role will help you gain the skills needed to have strong relationships with different personalities.

What advice would you give to students looking for work in a similar position?

The biggest advice I can give a student is to stay motivated. You don't have to know your exact path or the specific place you want to be in five years. You need to know what makes you happy or feel accomplished and do very well in that position. The piece to remember is to always be looking for more. As long as you can stay motivated and happy you will eventually find your niche in the working world.

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