Throughout history, the (re)insurance industry has evolved to deal with new challenges. Everest's Head of North America Reinsurance Jill Beggs provides perspective on how the industry must continue to advance its perspective and demonstrate how the industry is purpose-driven.
While at a recent executive conference, I noticed that one of the few topics that both new hires and veterans in the industry unanimously agreed on was the importance of working for an organization that is committed to doing the right thing and benefiting society. Given the dynamics of how the world, the industry and perspectives are shifting across the board, purpose has become the priority.
People rely on Everest and the (re)insurance industry as a whole to provide protection and peace of mind when the unthinkable happens – a tremendous responsibility we can’t fulfill without empathy and understanding. That is our purpose. We aren’t here just to hit a target combined ratio, we’re here to pick people and businesses up when things go wrong to get them back on their feet and that’s why we love what we do. Hitting our profit targets allows us to continue to thrive and serve society, but it’s not why we exist.
We’re committed to providing superior service and creating the best customized solutions for our clients and brokers. And rather than defaulting to traditional and obvious solutions, our team of diverse thinkers collaborates and focuses on each client at hand to identify the best and most efficient solution to meet their individualized needs. This dedication to serving the industry is core to who Everest is. But now is the time for the entire industry to truly embrace and rally around purpose.
As we continue to navigate the current supply chain crisis, inflation, an ongoing pandemic, and the reverberating effects of war, risks are continuously inflating and influencing our industry. To remain resilient in spite of these challenges, it’s more important than ever to fully understand and embrace being a purpose-driven industry and the good we do for the global economy.
How the industry can evolve by embracing purpose
Here at Everest, we are actively developing our next generation of leaders to lead with purpose, be of service to others and inspire their cohorts to do the same. For the industry to continue to grow and combat current and future challenges, (re)insurers need to determine what their individual purpose is and what they’re committed to achieving. To help do so, there are three key areas to focus on when it comes to building a culture that’s led by purpose:
Value diverse perspectives: In our industry, perspective is everything. And as an industry, we need to actively seek and hire those with diverse perspectives and regularly provide inclusive opportunities for employees to voice their ideas and challenge the status quo. Exchanging new perspectives is how we, as (re)insurers, practice empathy with one another and our customers. At Everest, I’ve found that bringing unlikely collaborators together to problem solve and apply their respective expertise in new ways not only leads to better business outcomes but builds connections across differences and enables us to better serve our clients.
Mentor the next generation: Having formal mentorship programs provide opportunities for mentors to lead with purpose and inspire mentees to do the same. And it’s why I believe so strongly in mentorship relationships. Pairing younger colleagues with senior executives and seasoned team members not only opens lines for succinct, meaningful communication while closing knowledge and skills gaps, but it also fuels inclusive, collaborative environments where people can bring their very best, authentic selves to work. At Everest, we also have a Leadership Summit program dedicated to training rising executive leaders. Dedicating time and space to discuss what brought them into the industry in the first place, building on their depth and diversity of skills and teaching them how to use their unique experiences to drive innovation and change has already proven instrumental in their career growth.
Seek out difficult truths: During my career, I’ve seen good leaders miss great opportunities due to a fear of failing or a resistance to doing things differently than before. But being changemakers requires us to challenge the norms, and sometimes that means asking tough questions that expose growth opportunities or charting a brand-new course. Organizations need to take the time now to clearly define their purpose and be prepared to change paths to properly align their business strategy. At Everest, our north star and client focus is clearly defined and we’re quick, lean and nimble in how we course correct to ensure we’re tracking towards it. We’re not afraid to push the boundaries and try something new and it’s what enables us to reaffirm our purpose throughout our company culture.
The pace of change and dynamic issues we’re facing today weren’t even on the radar when I started in this business, but we’re proving every day that we can tackle them. Recognizing the importance of our purpose and living it, will drive a shift to empathic and meaningful leadership that people need now more than ever. Progress is slowly being made to integrate purpose into our industry, but I’ve been in the industry 30 years and we can’t wait another 30 years for the industry to shift perspective and fully become purpose driven. So, what are you waiting for?
The content of this article is intended for informational purposes only. The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the individual author and do not reflect the views of Everest Re Group, Ltd. (“Everest”), and its affiliated companies. Additional information about Everest, our people, and our products can be found on our website at https://www.everestglobal.com.