NCCI’s Industry Roundtable: NCCI president and CEO Bill Donnell engages workers compensation leaders on the critical issues and trends impacting the industry today and in the future. In this installment, Donnell speaks with Stephanie Bush. Bush is executive vice president, small commercial and personal lines at The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., and the outgoing NCCI Board chair.
Bill: There is no doubt that 2020 was a challenging year for our industry and the world at large. In thinking about what lies ahead, we are going to need strong leaders to guide our industry forward. What do you look for when selecting leaders?
Stephanie: I look for individuals who have a track record of consistent performance and a multidisciplined background. It helps to have a 360-degree view and different perspectives. While breaking out from your comfort zone is not always easy, it’s key to being a great leader. Characteristics like humility, accountability, and a collaborative work style are also valuable because one individual doesn’t have all of the answers.
Bill: I agree those are important traits. We know having a pool of great leaders to draw from is important. Can you share your thoughts on attracting and retaining industry talent?
Stephanie: It starts with us. We are walking billboards and storytellers for our industry, and it’s a phenomenal story to tell. We can be proud that the insurance industry is the bedrock of our economy. Think about it—you can’t lease a piece of equipment, buy a car, or build a business without insurance. While the career stability in our industry is a major draw, to attract top talent we need to proudly share our story. We also need to be technology-driven and current.
Bill: I think it goes without saying that we also need to be steadfast in our efforts around diversity and inclusion (D&I). I know this is of particular importance to you. Can you share more?
Stephanie: Absolutely. Our industry still has work to do in terms of getting more women in leadership roles and even further with people of color in leadership. I’m proud that this is something the Hartford recognizes and is committed to. We foster a culture of inclusion and we also have employee resource groups open to all, representing the makeup of our employees and the people we serve. This includes professional networks for women, mature employees, our LGBTQ colleagues, and professional networks for Black, Latino/Hispanic, and Pan-Asian employees. We’ve been intentional about making sure we have broad representation and the right people for the right jobs. There is significant commitment top to bottom to D&I and it’s part of our culture and our business.
Bill: You also mentioned the importance of technology when it comes to attracting new talent. It also will have an impact on the way we do business. What can our industry do to stay ahead?
Stephanie: To stay ahead, we’ll need to focus on pace and data in addition to technology. Today many customers value the convenience of doing business by phone or even text. That means the technology we offer needs to be easy, good, and intuitive. Our data needs to be accurate because it’s the foundation of our businesses. Decisions made in pricing, underwriting, filing, and more are all dependent upon quality data. Pace is closely tied to technology and data accuracy because in many instances our business decisions must be made rapidly. Putting focus on all of these things will better prepare our industry for what lies ahead.
Bill: That’s valuable advice. Speaking of advice, before you go, can you share with us the best piece of career advice you’ve received?
Stephanie: The best professional advice that has furthered my career was three words: “Do it afraid.” When you’re facing unique situations, new roles, or you’re asked to do something you’ve never done before, it’s humbling. It can also be scary. We all have some degree of self-doubt, but power through that and take on the opportunity you’re offered. Just go for it and
do it afraid.
This article is provided solely as a reference tool to be used for informational purposes only. The information in this article shall not be construed or interpreted as providing legal or any other advice. Use of this article for any purpose other than as set forth herein is strictly prohibited.