P&C Firms Ramp Up Hiring, Seek Execs with Soft Skills, Courage
The P&C Specialist article, “P&C Firms Ramp Up Hiring, Seek Execs with Soft Skills, Courage," quoted Russell Reynolds Associates Consultant Dave Seeley. He explains that the insurance industry is beginning to place more importance on particular search criteria in order to find leaders who can drive change. The article is excerpted below.
An anticipated increase in business activity means personal lines insurers plan to hire workers in the next year. While tech prowess definitely is a skill they want to see in applicants, it’s not the only one. Aptitude in the soft skills, including courage, that are the markings of a future leader also are in high demand.
A major need in the P&C industry is technology staff, and that holds true in the personal lines, even though they’re ahead of the commercial lines and life insurance industries in digital advancement, says Dave Seeley, a consultant in the insurance practice of Russell Reynolds Associates. That’s because personal lines insurers are closer to the customer’s personal insurance experience than are other lines.
Seeley notes that he recently placed a CEO and a CFO for a mid-sized insurer in the past two or three months. The company has been placing digital officers in personal lines companies over the past two to three years and is leading a search now for a chief digital officer, a position two levels below a CFO, for a commercial lines company.
InsurTechs are looking for two type of leaders, Russell Reynolds’ Seeley says. The first is the highly technical leader who knows about actuarial and pricing elements and has a game plan to formulate product and pricing strategy. The second type is more “external facing,” someone who has deep relationships and knows the market, opening doors at the top of the house within the industry, Seeley says.
There are two worlds combining, as conservative, risk-averse insurers are seeking to embrace more innovative and entrepreneurial ways of conducting business, Seeley says.
A high-tech executive might view an insurance company as an attractive employer because he or she can come in and drive change, set direction and strategy, and be at the forefront of what is being shaped, rather than just being one of many in Silicon Valley, according to Seeley.
The recruitment in InsurTech reflects the high premium companies are putting on soft skills or the right cultural fit. The insurance company wants the “right experience, the right personality,” Seeley says, an executive “who is patient but can push to do things differently.”
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