Putting People at the Heart of Our Business

By Yolaine von Barczy, International Chief People Officer, Everest

As we continue to grow our international insurance business in Europe, Asia, the Pacific, and Latin America, Everest International Chief People Officer Yolaine von Barczy explains her approach to hiring and building out our international insurance team and how she’s looking forward to seeing how we can make a difference in the world together.

Let me begin by saying that I was perfectly happy as HR Vice President at a global cosmetics company. And that I had become well practiced in politely turning down opportunities from other companies. But then I got the call from Everest.

‘Unique’ is often an overused and devalued word but it’s the only way I can describe this opportunity at Everest – for me, personally, and for the business as a whole.

A unique chance to shape the future

Everest Insurance® is delivering its growth strategy, bringing a world-class offer to new markets and regions. And I have been asked to help drive that expansion in Europe, Asia, the Pacific and Latin America.

It’s such a unique challenge. The opportunity to design our international business exactly the way we’d like to. To invest in having the right people, with the right attitude, in the right places. To build and nurture teams to deliver for customers in all these markets.

Everest’s people have long had a reputation for being at the top of their game in both insurance and reinsurance and we are approaching each new hire with that same high standard.

A unique commitment to people

Our business is fundamentally about relationships and trust, so we always put our people front and centre here at Everest.

The pandemic and other recent global challenges have altered some perceptions about our industry and illustrated the necessity for having a dependable insurance partner. Customers tell us they have felt the benefit of having us on their side as it has allowed them to remain focused on protecting and building their businesses.

Everest is a high-performing business, but it is and always will be an organisation that cares deeply about its people and how each one can feel recognised and valued. I don’t see it as the typical work-life balance, but more of a ‘life balance’ where our professional and personal lives can work together.

A unique HR perspective

As the world navigates new complexities, I decided to create my own HR compass as a guide. The four points of that compass identify the strengths, the demands, and the contribution we should make to our business:

  • North is our talent obsession, which I alluded to above, how we find and nurture the right people as a starting point.
  • South is cultural differentiation in an industry built on people and relationships. These are the so-called ‘soft skills’ that actually deliver hard benefits.
  • West is our efficiency obligation, which acknowledges that we all must work together seamlessly to improve business and drive measurable growth.
  • East is external activation which recognizes that HR is no longer just an internal function, but that it also plays a huge part in driving a company’s reputation and perceived performance among external stakeholder groups, and helping the world become more inclusive, diverse, and sustainable.

Everything we do in support of this growth in new markets incorporates these four dimensions in some way and demonstrates the continued strategic importance of the HR function.

And underpinning it all, I think there’s one defining quality of the Everest culture which may itself be unique. And that’s the quality of humility. We’re a world-class organisation and have long been a destination for the best insurance and reinsurance talent but we have always kept our feet on the ground. Always wanting to learn more, and share more, and see how we can do more together. 

As I look ahead, and using our HR compass as a guide, I believe that we are putting the right teams in place to thrive in the growth of our international business. And I look forward to seeing how, together, we can make a difference in the world and empower more businesses and people in new markets and territories across the globe.

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