Cathie Anderson

Cathie Anderson: Aon Sacramento exec liked idea of a job with no salary cap; do you?

Cathie Anderson
Cathie Anderson

In the past few years, the head count at Aon Risk Solutions’ Central California office has been growing by 15 to 20 percent annually. Senior vice president Alex Michon said he basically never stops looking for account executives and account managers. Right now, he’s got about eight openings.

Michon and his team are the people who stand between companies that need to buy insurance and the insurance companies selling it. They advise their business clients on how to find the most appropriate coverage.

“It’s not always about the best price,” Michon explained. “The coverage has a big impact. Insurance doesn’t matter until it does, right? When you need it, it really matters....It’s probably worth it to you as a business owner in the smaller middle market to have your terms and conditions of coverage exactly like you need them to be, rather than paying a little bit less.”

Michon said he doesn’t want to lose sleep at night, wondering whether his clients are properly covered for the types of risk they could encounter. He and his staff study a client’s business to determine what types of coverage are needed, and then they consult Aon’s proprietary database. Annually, it tracks more than $80 billion in insurance quotes, and the Aon team uses this data to show clients the size and scope of losses faced by their peers. Sometimes, he said, mid-sized businesses aren’t prepared for the cost of breaches in network security and the subsequent loss of customer data.

“If something gets breached, you’re going to have the credit-card companies coming after you to notify everybody,” Michon said. “Then there are the regulatory costs. They’re going to come in and say, ‘We need you to do a forensic study of what you did, so we know what happened.’ You’ve also got PR costs. You’ve got to add that up. So how do you get insurance for that? We have insane models around that. We can show you exactly...what each piece of that (claim) will cost you.”

His team also assesses the need for coverages such as kidnap and ransom, embezzlement, supply chain disruptions or political risk.

The roles of account executive and account manager require strong critical thinking skills. Essentially, Michon added, account executives handle sales, while account managers take care of service.

Job candidates should be able to review a company’s balance sheet with the chief financial officer but also be able to hold up their end in a conversation about culture, science and history.

Michon, a native of Coarsegold in Madera County, came to Aon with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, but he says a college degree isn’t required. Salaries start at around $70,000. Michon started with the firm as an account assistant.

“Fifteen years ago, when I started out, the job market was atrocious,” Michon said. “I got a job through a temp agency as a mailboy in a law firm, and Aon was across the office. I had no idea what those guys did, but I looked at all those nice cars in the parking lot. When I was young, I always said, ‘I need to get into a job where your income is not capped.’...I learned that these guys get commission, and you can renew a policy without spending a tremendous amount of time. If you’re willing to put in the hard work, the sky is the limit.”

Michon said Aon has tried to lure him to a larger office, but he likes the quality of life in Sacramento.

Currently, he is hiring for about eight positions in the Central California office for account managers, account sales execs and some tech positions. To apply, send your resume and references to alex.michon@aon.com.

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