Hand-in-hand with this niche expertise are the foundational skills that everyone in the insurance industry needs to thrive. That means back-to-basics competencies like mathematical acumen and problem-solving, analytical skills and high attention to detail, not to mention, of course, strong communication. It sounds simple, but these are the building blocks of talent that is agile, adaptable, and relevant. These are the people who can identify a company’s strengths and weaknesses and move forward with confidence and vision.
Leadership and Accountability
It might seem like a given for insurance talent to need leadership skills, but the reality is that many professionals in senior ranks got there because of their superior skills and experience regardless of their leadership abilities. They’re excellent at what they do—but is that the kind of talent who can lead the insurance industry into brighter days?
Instead, modern insurance leaders should have a unique blend of soft skills that allow them to naturally manage, coach, and shepherd their teams and companies at large toward success. Accountability is critical; these are leaders who follow through and commit to a certain outcome. Accountability is driven by discipline and consistency, two more key traits for insurance leaders.
But perhaps most importantly is that they must be able to build trust with the people they are leading. Trust requires communication, honesty, empathy, listening, and often, charisma. It also goes hand in hand with humility. A true leader knows there isn’t always a right answer; they don’t always know every detail or facet of this hugely complex industry at their fingertips. They ask for collaboration and knowledge-sharing, and in doing so, they are able to reach new levels of creativity and innovation.
More organizations are beginning to recognize the deeper value of a diverse workforce, particularly within their leadership teams. Historically, the insurance industry has been dominated by a largely white, male workforce. The modern insurance leader needs to turn this around. Diversity sparks greater innovation and higher performance—but it also better serves a company’s diverse customer pool. Customers want to feel seen and supported by companies that look and think like they do. Gender and racial diversity is the first step.
Nowhere is this more true and critical than the insurance industry, where every resident of the U.S. is impacted. Health insurance, auto insurance, life insurance—these are things people need regardless of gender or racial or ethnic background. But reaching a more diverse customer base is inevitably more challenging when a company doesn’t have the diverse workforce and leadership to respond appropriately.
The future of the insurance industry depends upon diverse leaders—but also leaders who promote an inclusive work culture. Without an inclusive environment, individuals will end up feeling isolated and discouraged, which is antithetical to an innovative, future-focused culture.
In closing, it’s clear that in order to innovate within an established sector like insurance, there must be an investment in the right talent. Key traits of modern insurance leaders include omnichannel and digital understanding, deep domain expertise, accountability and leadership, and, finally, a focus on diversity.