Sai Gadam

Underwriter in Commercial Insurance

Sai Gadam went to Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Finance. After graduating he moved back to Sarasota, Florida and began working for a commercial insurance company. He started as in intern in the Finance Department. As an intern, he was handling checks that would come in from customers. He would process the checks by entering them into the system and handled cash transactions that were donations for the company charity from employees. He also had the opportunity to go around and experience what it was like in other departments and seeing what he would like to do in the future.

Once his internship was completed, he got hired on as an auditor. He worked as an auditor for about a year. He would check payroll, profit and loss statements, income statements of insurance clients. Sai Gadam would make audit comments and submit it to the company. The results of the audit would generate either a return premium or an additional premium as necessary, and the insured might have to pay more or would get a check back.

Sai Gadam works for a company that provides a line of credit to insurance companies just in case they ever fail or if the company defaults to provide protection for the project owner. He enjoys dealing with the customers and the service aspect of it, while he also has the necessary skills to look at the financial reports. Sai is very much a people person as well as enjoys the financial aspects of business, so his current position is a great fit for him. Initially he had moved from department to department to learn more the business and his career options. Now he is at a point where he likes what he is doing and is in a place where he wants to excel.

Where did the idea for your career come from?

I never knew that insurance was going to be a perfect spot for me. I thought I was going to go into more of like the financial sector side, like a financial advisor position. I was thinking more about wealth management and investment banking. I never thought insurance would be a part of it until I interned at an insurance company and began experiencing the different departments. It made me realize that there is a good, solid career path in commercial insurance for me. I did not learn much about insurance when I was in college, so I was glad to learn of this industry and I feel it is a good opportunity for me. I’m using the knowledge that I learned obtaining my degree and I also enjoy the interaction with clients.

The Surety Department provides surety bonds to construction companies. The surety is a guarantee to the project owners that they will complete the project within a given time and on the same budget. If they don’t do so, then the company would step in to complete the project or pay a penalty. The amount of the surety is based on the construction project size because we are bonding their project. Other departments provide companies with commercial insurance, such as worker’s compensation, general liability, commercial auto, and umbrella type of policies.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I usually get up early and go work out. From my gym I go to work. I feel like when I wake up and exercise in the morning, it gives me brain power to get my day started. I get to the office around 8 am and get started with my work. I read all the financials that are given to me and analyze accounts as necessary. I get home around 5 pm. Usually around 5 pm I’ll just check my email once more to make sure there’s nothing pressing coming up, and then if there’s nothing there, I usually spend time with the family in the evening.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I bring ideas to life by having conversations with friends or by reading books. It brings my imagination in. If I read something and if there is an idea suggested, then I say, “You know what, I can probably make this better by doing this” and that is how I create an idea. It is by reading and hearing from friends and family that I often get new ideas.

What’s one trend that excites you?

I think a lot of people now are wanting to succeed and excel and they’re willing to help each other out. I see a lot more positivity. When I was in high school, there was a lot of negativity. Maybe it was just in high school that I saw that. Once I got into the adult world, I have seen a lot of more positive things going on with trying to make people happy.

I think putting mental health over everything else is very important, and I see there is a bigger trend on that now, a needed focus on mental health. I think that’s a very positive trend.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I am more productive because I double check everything and being concise in what I do. It never hurts to double or triple check. That is the biggest thing is do is double and triple check and make sure my work is good. I spend more time on things. Even if it seems simple and easy to do, just spend a little more time working at it and making sure it’s accurate. That way you don’t have to come back and do it again.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Life throws obstacles in your way. Never let those things hold you back. Keep going and keep your head up no matter what life throws at you. There will always be better days. Keep working hard and all the hard work you put in will pay off.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Money isn’t everything. When I talk to some of my friends about that, they disagree. In reality, money isn’t everything. To me, it’s just how happy you live your life today. Overall happiness does not come from money. It can come from other places, like having a good family, friends, and your surroundings. I know people who think that money will solve all their problems when in reality it could create bigger ones.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

In my business, you have to make sure your numbers are right, so, as I mentioned before, I always double check. If you don’t have your numbers right, then you’re not doing a good job and you might cost the company money. Being careful with numbers is a key to success in this kind of job. Making mistakes will affect your chances to excel and your supervisor will have to take time out of their day to come back and recheck it. I always want to avoid that. Making the job easier on your supervisor helps to ensure your own success.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

One strategy is to always have an open mind and to listen to people, especially when you are meeting with clients. It’s important to listen to what their needs are. By doing that, you open up yourself to being better at your role and may bring in more business that way.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

When I was an auditor, you would have people upset all the time when they had to pay more money. Typically, people don’t like to pay more money for their insurance. My job would be to draw up these audits which would result in an additional premium or a return premium. There were times when corrections would need to be made. When the customer calls back and they’re upset, your job is to deal with that and calm them down. There was a time that an auditor was unprofessional. The customer called and I was the one that picked up. She was very upset and threatening to take her business to another insurance carrier. I spend an hour talking to her and working with her to understand her needs. Eventually, at the end of the day, she was very thankful for that. I had to redo the entire audit and make some corrections. I also helped her to understand some of things that she asked about that were correct. She was thankful and she stayed with the company as well.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I think a one-stop shop for financial needs for companies would be a good idea. It might even include attorney services, wealth management services, accounting services, marketing services, and insurance. I could see a lot of businesses benefitting from that and not having to go to several different offices.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Spending money on a good suit has been a good investment for me. If you are going to succeed in the business world and especially when meeting face to face with clients that you have to look professional. It helps you stand out.

Business books are also a good investment. It is important to me to learn so I can sell better and get a better grip on the industry as well. Personal development books to build up character, confidence, and self-esteem are relevant as well.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

I use Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word every day. I rely on Excel a lot because it helps you to be organized when dealing with numbers and financial information.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

The Power of Now is a really good book. It is about living today and not living in the past. You should put the past behind you. It also helps with building self-esteem and confidence. In today’s society, we’re just living in a social media world and sometimes it can bring people down. This book helps to boost your confidence and helps with mental health and that is very important today.

What is your favorite quote?

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” Mahatma Gandhi.
I like that because it means to live to be your best potential. Don’t have any regrets. Do the right thing. Learn as much as you can because knowledge is power.

Key Learnings:

• Exercise helps increase productivity.
• Be committed to personal development.
• Always double check you work.