As CICA prepares to start the first round of its new mentorship program, we talked with CICA member and mentee Karen Hsi, program manager, captive programs, University of California, about participating in the program.

“It’s great to have a mentor at work, but it’s much cooler to have a chance to be mentored by someone from the larger captive industry,” Karen Hsi explained. “Right now I only have the perspective of a captive owner, I am looking forward to learning the industry from another perspective, maybe even from a broker or underwriter,” she said.

Hsi, who has been working in captive insurance for two years, says it’s pretty intimidating coming into the industry and not knowing anyone. “Luckily I had my boss, Courtney Claflin, to help introduce me to people,” she said.

Based on her experiences so far Hsi has discovered that “captives are really cool” and that she would like to grow her career in the captive industry. She has leveraged a variety of mentors already and was pleased to hear about CICA’s mentorship program because of the organization’s role in the captive industry and the broad reach of its members.

CICA President, Dan Towle, is excited about the first group of mentors and mentees and says they represent a wide range of roles within the captive industry. “We have people who own or manage captives, handle claims and conduct risk analysis. We also have lawyers, tax experts, and a variety of consultants,” he said.

Hsi is hoping even busy CICA members will consider being mentors. “Being a mentor doesn’t have to be time consuming. As a mentee it’s just great to be able to feel like someone cares about your career and know that they are there if you need to ask their perspective on a project,” She said. “Sometimes it’s great if they just check up on the person and ask if there’s anything they can do to help, like make an introduction for you. A warm introduction to a new resource is way better than trying to find that resource by yourself,” she explained.

Towle emphasized the program’s flexibility saying it was created with today’s busy professionals in mind. “Our approach is for mentors and mentees to design a program that works best for both. Having an initial discussion where they discuss the mentee’s needs and ways the mentor can best help, whether it’s having a monthly conference call, a quarterly in-person meeting or email dialogue will be important,” he said. Towle also noted that mentorship program participants will have an in-person opportunity to meet and network during a luncheon session at the upcoming CICA Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona.