Cristina currently leads the business development and sales team at Popular Insurance, LLC, in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. Popular Insurance played a vital role in the recovery efforts after Hurricane Maria. In addition to her role as Senior Vice President, Cristina teaches several courses for The National Alliance for Insurance Education & Research.
Born to teach. Lives to learn.
“When I was a little girl, I always wanted to teach.”
Cristina got her first teaching experience in 1992 as a Teacher’s Assistant at University High School in Puerto Rico. That remarkable opportunity motivated Cristina to look for ways to incorporate teaching throughout her life and career. In 2001, she worked during the day and began to attend night school to pursue a law degree.
“As a Compliance Officer, if I was to tell professionals what not to do when selling insurance, I needed to at least be on their level. As a young professional with no insurance sales experience, I quickly realized that it was important for my audience to see me as an equal in order to earn their respect.”
CRISTINA'S Learning Path
Cristina earned her state license in Property & Casualty and Life & Disability Insurance early in her career. Her supervisor then encouraged her to enroll in the CIC Program.
“I still remember my first CIC Commercial Casualty course. It was a different way of learning insurance.”
hurricane maria & the aftermath
Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017. The storm severely damaged the island's infrastructure and its electrical grid. In response to the catastrophe, Popular Insurance agency and all 130 employees processed approximately 49,000 insurance claims. The island is still recovering from Hurricane Maria’s impact, but Cristina likes to point out that Puerto Rico is open for business.
Like other people on the island, Cristina's team relied on generators while power was restored. On December 1, 2017, Cristina and Popular Insurance employees celebrated a small but mighty victory with Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) workers after the power to their building was restored.
“The insurance industry in Puerto Rico will never be the same after Hurricane Maria. What happened was beyond our imagination. People are more mindful about insurance now, and they are asking questions they didn’t ask before.”
“We overcame the disaster by being flexible, learning to reinvent ourselves, adapting, sometimes leading, and other times following. Resilience was our motto. We are resilient people. ”
“After I earned my CIC, I realized The National Alliance needed professors in Puerto Rico. I asked the local Licensee what I needed to do to teach for them. I wanted to give back.”
Cristina went through the protocol to become a faculty member with The National Alliance. She taught her first class, Agency Operations, in 2007. She currently teaches Elements of Risk Management, Life and Health, Dynamics of Service, Agency Management, and Ethics.
“The education I obtained through The National Alliance and the people I’ve met helped me through the difficult times after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico.”
“Learning new things has always been a great motivator for me.”
Cristina’s parents Francisco Pedraza, Esq., and Ana Martinez, Esq., are her inspiration. Her father is a retired college professor and lawyer. Cristina’s mother returned to school to earn a law degree and went back to work after raising five children.
Cristina and her husband, Xavier A. Curet, share the same spirit of always wanting to do more and become better professionals.
“In every job I've had, I've always been able to learn something new or discover a new way to look at a problem and add value.”