By Angie Biancalana, RPLU, ASLI, Great American Insurance Company
Over three centuries ago, insurance was born. While it has withstood the test of time, the burning question today that rocks our industry is:
How do we attract and SUCCESSFULLY grow our insurance businesses?
On May 3, 2018, the PLUS Foundation’s Women’s Leadership Network, along with the Midwest Chapter Committee, had the honor and pleasure of hosting Inga Beale in Chicago. Insurance professionals gathered and were captivated by the CEO of Lloyd’s of London, listening to her story. She touched on how even decades ago, insurance was drastically different. Today we need to change and evolve with the times.
Beale focused on three key themes – Trust, Diversity, and Inclusion.
“We need people to trust us,” she explained. “We are selling a promise to pay when things go wrong. That trust needs to be there. And that means that every single one of us has to work on this aspect, and particularly as leaders, we’ve got to show true authenticity when it comes to trust.”
She talked about how a commitment to diversity will attract individuals with a healthy complement of thoughts, ideals and strengths, and welcome ideas that can only help growth and success. She also noted how inclusion ties everything together. As Beale put it, “…if we can get the inclusion piece right, it will help rebuild the trust that much of big businesses have lost with the people all around the world or many parts of the world.”
If my reaction is any indication, her ideas will resonate across the industry and will light a long-lasting fire.
I graduated with a Finance degree during the financial downfall of 2008/2009. If I was qualified for a job, I applied and applied AND applied. Student loans were not paying themselves. I was fortunate enough to accept an underwriting role. Why not? My grandfather was a door-to-door insurance salesman and my mom is an underwriter. It was familiar to me. Fast-forward nine years: I’m still here, and for a reason. I like underwriting; I thoroughly like it due to the lifelong learning, fast-paced environment, and vast array of interesting people. It definitely wasn’t my plan as a Finance major, but I am so glad I took that first job!
As an early career professional with just under a decade of experience, my growing concern is: How can I get my generation and generations after me to enter the insurance sector? How do I attract them?
Our industry gets a bad rap with words like ‘boring’, ‘desk job’, ‘cold calling’. Instead, I believe the buzz words should be ‘second family’, ‘never a dull day’, ‘meeting new people.’ We need to embrace Inga Beale’s idea of diversity and inclusion to bring fresh, new ideas and demonstrate the wealth of personal and professional opportunities in our sector.
We need diversity, trust, and inclusion, because if we have those, it can be a start of something great. I imagine insurance will last another three centuries; let’s just hope it’ll be even more successful than the first three hundred years.
Angie Biancalana is a Senior Cyber Underwriter at Great American Insurance Company in Schaumburg, IL. She serves as the Future PLUS Representative for the Midwest Chapter and is a member of a Future PLUS task force working to address the workforce shortage in insurance, specifically professional lines. (Future PLUS is the young professionals’ group at PLUS, for members aged 35 or younger.) She has been a PLUS member since 2015 and earned the RPLU designation in 2016.