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29 Mar 17 15:38

"Don't people in insurance stay in the same job their entire career?" A student recently asked me that question at a Columbia University speaking engagement. "I think that used to be true, but certainly not anymore," I replied. "In addition, being a one trick pony isn't enough these days." 

Even after the conversation, the question made me think about the talent needed in this rapidly changing industry.

If you're an underwriter who is only a top-notch data analyst, will you be able to help form the marketing strategy for your product that best serves your client's needs and meets your company's goals? If you're an actuary, but not an effective communicator, how are you going to explain your analysis to internal and external stakeholders? 

At Swiss Re, I'm glad to see there's a shift happening where we are changing our culture to be more entrepreneurial. We have to be outgoing and thought leaders where in the previous culture being inwardly focused might have been acceptable. We're sharing new ideas openly because we know we can’t continue to operate today -
and in the future - like we have always done.

For starters, we can't work alone, and we need to work in diverse teams. Whenever I want to bounce an idea off someone, I go to a handful of colleagues around the office with various expertise; I explain the scenario and I usually get five different takes which helps me think about the situation from all angles. 

At Swiss Re, we need to continue to maintain our brand as a knowledge company. On my team, we're talking about emerging trends in cyber, terrorism, and smart homes. We're working on how to increase the world's resilience to natural disasters by closing the protection gap while growing the insurance market with our clients.

These are big topics and big issues. Insurance and Reinsurance professionals need to have finance/analytical skills, consultancy skills, and marketing skills all while being a good communicator. Only one of those skills simply won't cut it in this changing landscape where we need to be 'smarter together' — and multi-talented thoroughbreds (not ponies) — to stay ahead.

Category: Other

Location: NYC, NY, United States


Kabukabu Ikwueme - 4 Apr 2017, 9:34 a.m.

This article is certainly an eye opener on the need to broaden our skills in the insurance sector which continues to be dynamic.

Lawrence Njore - 6 Apr 2017, 8:11 p.m.

Lovely article. Lovely organizational culture

Greg Schiffer - 12 Apr 2017, 11:40 p.m.

Thanks Beth. I hope young people that enter the insurance industry make it a career for life. It's an exciting place where the risk landscape is constantly changing and society needs our industry to provide leadership and solutions. It's a lot different from when I joined the business 23 years ago and the risk landscape will surely be different in just 5 years from now. With technological advancements in life, health, construction and the digital world of everything, we need to also accelerate the learning and skill building in our industry. A whole generation of insurance professionals have been retiring and we need to replenish the knowledge base that our industry needs to solve the risk challenges on the horizon. We are at an important point in time in our industry. A changing world is counting on us.

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