Anamae Saavedra: Demonstrating the Significance of Ethics in the Insurance Sector

Top 10 Most Inspiring People in Insurance, 2023

Women have a surprisingly long history in the insurance industry. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, when very few women had work outside the home at all, companies like New York Life, Prudential, and National Life Group are proud of the tales they can tell about their first female agents. For more than a century, the insurance industry has built on that early foundation, and it now employs 60% women. A diverse leadership and workforce are essential to providing customers with better service because the client base of the insurance sector is evenly split between the sexes. Numerous insurance organizations have started large-scale initiatives to assist and empower women in the sector, as we will cover below.

As an intermediary between agents and insurance companies, Anamae Saavedra, Vice President at RLA Insurance Intermediaries, LLC (a member of Bridge Specialty Group, LLC), brings her expertise and knowledge to every transaction. Anamae states that this is a relationship business, and loyalty and trust are keys to being successful.

Anamae is a producer and team leader, and her book of business has grown significantly since she started at RLA. She has contributed, together with her fellow colleagues, to making RLA a strong wholesaler in 2022. She believes that having a positive outlook and being eager to assist others promotes overall progress.

Anamae serves as an expert liaison between the local agency and the market as a wholesaler. Her primary goal is to negotiate the finest terms and premiums for insureds. She worked at CRC as a wholesaler before joining RLA.

Journey to fit in the Sector

Anamae enjoyed the years she spent underwriting D&O at the St Paul Companies in San Francisco and believes that the best brokers are those who have previously worked as either retailers or underwriters. It was at CRC in Chicago, where Anamae’s insurance career really got started. She and her colleagues encounter varying degrees of difficulty with respect to the accounts they work on as wholesalers. They face challenges from the submissions they work on practically every day. Anamae was listed in Insurance Business America magazine’s list of the Top Specialist Brokers for 2021. She asserts, “Knowing that clients voted for me was humbling and made me very happy.”

The Company

Peachtree acquired RLA in 2020, and by the third quarter of 2023, it will be integrated into Bridge Specialty Group. RLA aimed to establish connections based on collaborative efforts that promote mutual progress through value-added services, and this goal still holds true today. The RLA principals and associates support retailers by providing a structured approach to successfully accessing the wholesale market, which includes insurers in the United States, London, and Bermuda. They do this by utilizing their strong technical skills, market awareness, and personnel relationships. When developing marketing strategies, one will provide wholesale market intelligence to support their efforts while being aware that they are typically only expected to play a supporting role but have the ability to take charge and direct the effort in the case of extremely complex or challenging insurance placements. The company states, “The principals are young and dynamic and understand that their extensive experience with some hard work will result in positive outcomes for them and their partners.”

Love for Home, Work and Travel

Anamae frequently travels. She enjoys exploring a new city and getting a taste of the local cuisine. She spends as much time as she can in Alicante, given her Spanish upbringing. Currently residing there is Anamae’s father, with whom she enjoys spending time. She also has several friends whom she has known since she was a young child. She shares, “Alicante is where my heart is. Being able to come and go helps me maintain a healthy balance and recharges my batteries to deal with work’s challenges.” 

Having a good and responsive team is extremely important and the only way a broker can truly be successful.  Anamae mentions, “You can be the best broker around, but you cannot grow alone so surrounding yourself with quality teammates is key to being successful.” The members of Anamae’s remote team gather via Zoom at least once a week to discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly. She wants her team to know they are valued and provides them with suggestions that encourage growth. She believes that the success of her book is truly the result of not only her hard work but also that of her teammates Marina Saavedra and Josh Caruthers.

Meaning of Success

Anamae defines success as not just achieving her professional objectives but also making sure that others she works with enjoy their interactions with her. Anamae’s definition of success is very much aligned with Ralph Waldo Emerson’s poem on success, and she thinks the end of that poem gives the best definition and one that is very much her goal in life: “to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived—this is to have succeeded”.

“Personal growth leads to your dreams changing,” says Anamae.  She further adds, “The things you thought were goals have a way of shifting and becoming something much better and bigger than you ever thought.  As long as I am in growth mode, I will never be done.”

Learn from Mistakes

Anamae thinks everyone encounters challenges, and at times, being strong is the only option. She thinks, “We don’t realize how strong we are or can be, until we are faced with obstacles that don’t leave us any other choice.”  She has certainly had her share of challenges, not only in her career but also in her personal life and she has always relied on her faith to deal with each of these situations. She shares, “From dealing with my mom’s cancer diagnosis and her death – one of the toughest periods of my life—to losing my largest client for no apparent reason other than a new marketing person who wasn’t interested in getting to know me, and having to make up that business, if it hadn’t been for my faith in God, I don’t know how I would have overcome those difficult times in my life.”  In addition, hard work and diligence in dealing with her clients/agents have been important elements in getting her where she is professionally.

Anamae has learned that people are always evolving, and just because they lose someone or something, that loss is part of the journey. She asserts, “The way we handle ourselves during that time and how we choose to move forward are key.” She further adds that being a victim is never a good idea; choosing to learn from experience and becoming a better human being going forward are key.

Ideas for Future

Several years ago, RLA was acquired by Bridge Specialty Group. The umbrella includes a number of wholesalers and MGAs. The group will merge sometime around the end of the third quarter of 2023 and work as Bridge Specialty Group going forward. Anamae believes that this consolidation will benefit not only her but all of her Bridge colleagues. She intends to keep expanding her book in the hopes of having an effect on the agents she works with and addressing the risks their clients may have. Her message for emerging leaders is to “always be truthful and never compromise your integrity for commission. No account is worth a guilty conscience.  Wholesalers only have their reputation, so never do anything to tarnish it for an easy buck.”