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Despite its reputation for being boring and staid, the commercial insurance industry has had its fair share of iconic leaders – many of whom built great insurance brands.
As the sector is dragged – sometimes reluctantly – into the modern world, the current crop of leaders is building brands for a new era in which insurance must define its purpose to remain relevant. There are many different characteristics the current industry leaders will need to demonstrate to make that happen. We have picked out just three current CEOs who we believe exemplify the attributes that make great brand leaders and to whom others might look for inspiration.
#1 Stephen Catlin
Man and boy in the market, Stephen has probably done more than anyone to set out the value of insurance and how great insurance businesses should be led. And though he concedes “insurance is not much fun. No one likes or wants to buy it,” he understands the commercial value of building a brand. Stephen also prides himself on consistency; back in the day woe betide any Catlin branch office that hadn’t got the brand guidelines right – he even went as far as checking the Pantone colours in the branding. Brand though is about so much more than pretty colours; for Stephen it is about communicating purpose and the insurance promise to pay. This more than anything has underpinned his ability to build great brands. At Convex he hasn’t taken his eye off the ball, again investing in the people, values and brand for the long term…just much faster!
“We as an industry must continue to improve the service we provide to policyholders, especially in the area of claims. It is following a claim when we truly provide value to our clients … because if there were no claims, there would be no insurers.”
#2 Andrew Horton
Andrew inherited the CEO mantle at Beazley from another great insurance leader, Andrew Beazley. CFOs who become CEOs are always able to step up, but Andrew Horton was cut from from a different cloth. He realised the long-term value of Beazley lay in continuing to be a dynamic and distinctive business and he made sure it stayed ahead of the pack by prioritising its culture and values. As a result, Beazley has been a star performer in the Market and become a true brand leader, leading on innovation, and never standing still. Following that same restive mantra, he surprised everyone by taking on the top job at QBE in 2021 and now has the opportunity to leave a double legacy and huge positive footprint on the Commercial Insurance Marketplace.
“I have had a succession of excellent bosses all of whom have taught me a lot. Andrew Beazley has to stand out as he took me on as CFO having no insurance knowledge and not only taught me something about insurance but also how culture within a company is paramount to its success. I hope I have maintained everything he and his founding partner Nick Furlonge set up.”
#3 Evan Greenberg
When it comes to sheer brand audacity no one matches Chubb’s Evan Greenberg. To merge Ace with Chubb was one thing but to adopt the Chubb brand and drop the Ace name was nothing short of genius – though some at the time thought it to be madness. The execution of that merger and the way that the brand has subsequently integrated the best of the customer-focused Chubb and efficiency-focused Ace cultures has been masterful. He is a brilliant leader who describes claims as the “North Star “ of the business – bringing the Chubb heritage front-and-centre in the modern Chubb.
“The Chubb name carries our promise of superior service, underwriting and execution. Our unique combination of people, products and places positions us to meet the needs of clients, no matter where they are in the world.”
These leaders are different in terms of style and temperaments, but all three have built – and continue to build – successful and dynamic insurance brands. Up and coming insurance leaders could learn a lot from them all!
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