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Five Questions for Peter Arkley

Five Questions for Peter Arkley

The PETER ARKLEY INSTITUTE FOR RISK MANAGEMENT at USC Marshall was founded to increase opportunities for students, providing scholarships, and graduate fellowships. 

Color photograph of Peter Arkley

Peter Arkley [USC Photo]

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How were you first introduced to the risk management and insurance industry? How long have you been in the industry?

I knew that I was interested in a position in finance as that was my college major. After graduation, I started my career in mutual funds; and quickly moved on to being an analyst reviewing the financial position of companies purchasing Directors and Officers (D&O) liability insurance. I became intrigued by the insurance industry and what insurance meant to the financial wellbeing of an organization.

I started my insurance journey in 1980 in New York City with Johnson and Higgins where I became a believer in industry specialization as insurance cuts a wide swath across every industry. After brief stints in reinsurance, I moved from New York to Los Angeles where I had the opportunity to work with large construction firms. I spent the next two decades focusing my efforts and energy on the contractors and owners that have built the largest and most impressive projects in the United States. In my current role as president, Alliant P&C, I am fortunate to work across all industries and all insurance lines.

To be successful as a construction insurance broker, I had to understand insurance as well as what is important to the contractors or owners who are building the projects. Construction is a tough yet exciting field. My clients are building a wide variety of projects: airports, railroads, ports, stadiums, theme parks, water treatment facilities, hotels/ casinos, and buildings that are architectural gems.

What prompted you to give a significant gift to the USC Marshall School of Business to create the Peter Arkely Institute for Risk Management?

Risk management is a global business and plays an important role in protecting lives, assets, and the environment. The commitment USC and I have made to the success of the program is real. We want the Marshall School to be the institution that creates future leaders in the insurance field around the world.

Why did you select the USC Marshall School of Business for this generous gift?

I was interested in finding a university in the western U.S. where my financial commitment could have a direct impact on the education, awareness, and quality of professionals entering the risk management field. There are a significant number of universities in the East and Midwest that offer degrees or certificates in risk management. Those do not exist in the West.

I selected USC due to the University’s stellar reputation and because USC has the vision, focus, energy, talent, and resources to create an outstanding risk management program. I know the gift, combined with the influence and scholastic excellence of DEAN GEOFF GARRETT and Professor KRISTEN JACONI, will change the course of education in risk management in the West and across the country.

Risk management is a global business and plays an important role in protecting lives, assets, and the environment.

— Peter Arkley

President / Property & Casualty,Alliant

What has contributed most significantly to your personal success in the industry?

My father was a subcontractor in NYC. I worked during the summer months with my father while building the NYU Law School and refurbishing parts of the Chrysler Building. From my father and my time on the various projects, I learned that in the challenges a contractor faces each day, insurance plays a part in the answer. I did not understand at the time how important insurance was, but the founding of the Peter Arkley Institute for Risk Management stems directly from my summer work with my father.

What are some qualities and characteristics you believe are important for individuals who want to build a career in the risk management and insurance industry?

Loyalty, trust, and the ability to build relationships. So much of what I do is based on relationships. Any of the “success” I have achieved is based on the long-term relationships I have formed with clients and, most importantly, the people I have worked with over the last 40 years. Trust and loyalty are the basis for those relationships.