HELPING WORKING PROFESSIONALS ADVANCE THEIR CAREERS
Young pro helps others grow professionally through involvement and podcast
By Christopher W. Cook
In the insurance industry, certain dedicated young professionals stand out among their peers and
are members of an elite squad of individuals. These are their stories. “Dun dun.”
We’ve heard the story before. We begin our working journey down one career path, only to discover that it’s not really what we want any-more. For Fela Abioye, managing director at The Hartford in Houston, Texas, this scenario was a reality. And while he didn’t pursue an educational path in risk management and insurance, he’s glad he made the career switch.
Through hard work and determination, Abioye has had several notable advancements in his career, and now through the discussions held on his podcast How to Corporate, he helps others recognize their potential and advance in their careers.
It all started with making a change.
“After many years of pursuing a pharmacy career in college, I realized I wasn’t passionate about the field,” Abioye says. “With the help of my college-professor-turned-mentor, I explored careers that I had never thought of. Eventually, that led me down the insurance track, though I didn’t have a degree in risk management, nor did I know anyone in the industry. Thirteen years later, it’s still one of the best decisions of my life.”
Abioye earned a Bachelor of Science degree in health information management and a minor in business from Texas Southern University. He began his insurance career in 2010 with a brief stint at one firm before being hired later that year by The Hartford.
“I got my start in workers compensation claims as an adjuster in Houston, Texas; while in claims, I lived in Las Vegas and Orlando over a five-year period working as a claims team leader,” Abioye says. “I shifted gears in 2016, relocating back to Houston to pursue an underwriting career. I’ve been a middle and large commercial under-writer since then.
“I moved back into leadership a couple years ago in underwriting. I currently manage the profit, loss and growth of a commercial middle market book of business while leading a team of production underwriters.”
With the responsibilities of leading team members, Abioye believes that continuing to educate oneself in the industry is important, and that includes obtaining professional designations.
“I secured a Senior Claim Law Associate (SCLA) designation in 2018, which I slowly worked on over a four-year period,” he says. “In 2020, I secured my Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation, which I completed in two years.
“Getting my designations wasn’t easy and there were plenty of setbacks along the way, but I’m so glad I stuck it out. For anyone thinking about getting a designation, I would encourage you to get started today. Don’t let fear or worry hold you back.”
“For anyone thinking about getting a designation, I would encourage you to get started today. Don’t let fear or worry hold you back.”
Involvement, achievement and advice
In addition to his responsibilities at The Hartford, Abioye is also involved in several insurance associations.
“I have served on the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation’s (IICF)Houston Associate Board the last four years, and I’ve held the following roles: volunteer committee chair, vice chair and chair,” he says. “I am also the conference committee lead and board member of the National African American Insurance Association’s (NAAIA) Houston chapter. For many years I have also been very involved with the Black Insurance Professionals Network (BIPN), a company employee resource group.”
Outside of insurance, Abioye is a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.
Over the course of his career, Abioye has had “many mentors, who have all poured into me, but my late mom was my first role model,” he says. “My parents never settled for anything less than my best. I carry this mindset with me still and it hasn’t steered me wrong yet.”
This mindset has helped Abioye receive numerous awards, recognitions, and achievements in recent years. Some of these include:
- Winning the 3rd Quarter Middle Market Underwriting Excellence Award in 2018
- Graduating in 2020 from The Hartford’s EMPOWER leadership development program
- Receiving the Middle & Large Commercial Underwriting Excellence Award—Houston Office in 2020
- Earning a 2020 Rising Star award from an industry publication
- Being featured on The Hartford’s website for “tips for owning your career” in 2021
- Receiving a 2021 NAAIA Emerging Leader Award
For young or new professionals beginning their careers, Abioye advises to have patience.
“You’ll get where you’re going intime; be a sponge and seek opportunities to learn at every corner,” he says. “Build relationships and expand your network. Understand the importance of building your credibility. Every now and then, slow down a little when needed so you can roll down the windows and really enjoy the ride.”
When he’s not doing “insurance stuff,” Abioye enjoys spending time with family, traveling, listen to music or working on his podcast.
“The How to Corporate show was launched in 2021 and is dedicated to helping working professionals advance their career,” Abioye says. “We decode the intricacies of corporate America during guest interviews to help people identify what’s holding them back.
“In each episode we dive into varying real-world topics such as negotiating your compensation, imposter syndrome, creating opportunities, building your brand, and more. The interview-driven show reveals the truth that people don’t usually talk about in the workplace but need to know to get ahead,” he concludes.
Episodes are available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify, amongst other podcast platforms, and YouTube.