This RIMS 2016 panel gathered senior industry executives from brokerage firms to weigh in on issues within the insurance marketplace.
Todd Jones, Co-Head North America, Willis Towers Watson
Donald Bailey, President, Global Sales, Marsh
J. Patrick Gallagher, Chairman, President & CEO, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.
Steve McGill, Group President, Aon PLC
Don Bailey, what are the current threats posed to brokers today?
Too many of our conversations with clients are dominantly focused on price of product. We have to pivot conversations to conversations of risk, rather than price. If we don’t make that transition, we are going to have bigger threats. We must have the right leadership, technology and analytics to make that change.
Pat Gallagher, how do we move the conversation from needing diversity in our industry to action?
I’m pretty proud of the diversity within the industry today. Before the 1970’s, this industry was a white man’s game. The women that entered the industry shortly after that blazed a trail for the women entering the industry today. We are starting to learn that we will be much better organizations when we are more diverse. We plan to have over 300 interns this year and it is a very diverse group. What I find interesting is that my age group wants to create women’s groups to address this trend, however, the women do not want to be in a separate group. They want to go toe to toe with the men.
Todd Jones, what’s the state of talent development in our industry?
I’d give the industry a B- grade at this point. Educational programs are growing, so the industry is attracting more and more young people. Our business is becoming more analytical and the universities are responding to that with appropriate curriculum, which is making the industry more attractive. We still have our challenges regarding how young people perceive the industry, but when you talk to them about what it really entails, they start to get interested. I think that we are doing great on the education component, but our struggle is developing a career path for those young people once they enter the industry.
Steve McGill, what are the continued benefits of placing business in Bermuda or London?
Diversification of carriers is important, especially with the bigger and more complex risks. The capacity that comes out of Bermuda and London is the best for our clients. London is a tremendous center of excellence for the risk industry and has been a hub for innovation and product development.
Is the trend toward mergers and acquisitions good for risk managers today?
- Every time we merge with another company, we’re gaining expertise. We never could have gotten there organically and it has been great for our clients.
- The industry is in a pretty good place. Putting these organizations together has been creating a lot of mind power and new products. We are all trying to figure out how to get better. I think, at the end of the day, it is great for the business and something that will continue.
- On paper, these are of extraordinary value. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work that way. Fortunately, insurance buyer get a chance to evaluate if this offers value to them or not. Time will tell. These are difficult transactions when they are being dealt with at a large degree of magnitude.
Do you think we have a talent problem?
- Yes. I don’t think the industry is replenishing the aging population with new talent quickly enough. The industry is trying, but we have to communicate that this industry offers the best job opportunities.
- 60% of those young people entering the industry leave within two years. Retention is as large of a problem as attracting talent. This industry is extraordinary and we have to help the next generation understand that. We make a phenomenal impact on people’s lives and communities. We need to work harder to communicate that.
- The key of focus should be a 21st century approach to training and professional development. The industry is very behind in this. A day of training with PowerPoint slides is not going to cut it. We should be using video and other technology as it is available today. This is our way out of the talent problem.