4 Reasons Finance Professionals Should Consider Insurance for Their Next Industry Move
by Andy Watts, Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer at Brown & Brown Insurance
Life and our careers take interesting paths at times. We don’t always understand why. What’s important is to learn everything you can on the journey to utilize these experiences for the next chapter.
I started my career in public accounting at Coopers & Lybrand. I had the opportunity to work in many industries, and one of them was insurance. During those early days, I was reviewing loss triangles for life insurance. At the time, I knew this part of the insurance industry wasn’t for me.
But never say never.
All these years later, I am working at Brown & Brown Insurance – the fifth largest broker in the U.S. and sixth globally. In brokerage, we primarily focus on the customer and bringing solutions that align with their risk management strategies.
As a result, we are highly sales and service driven, enabling us to focus on innovative solutions to drive outcomes that benefit our customers, teammates, carrier partners and shareholders. Here, culture is critical and a key differentiator driving our consistent growth profile. I wish I had known about insurance brokerage in college, as this industry offers incredible long-term growth opportunities and potential.
This Insurance Careers Month (February), I have been reflecting on my winding path in the industry—from my days as an accounting major at Illinois State University to being recently inducted into the school’s College of Business Alumni Hall of Fame and mentoring aspiring students to shine in the business world. It’s all a part of what got me here.
If any of the following speaks to you, you might find your niche in insurance.
Why should finance professionals consider insurance?
The financial and insurance industries are more closely aligned than you think. This is because the skills and approach to the work are similar at a macro level. Consider these 4 reasons why financial professionals are an excellent fit for insurance:
1. Financial professionals are “numbers people” who understand risk. At its core, insurance is about numbers and risk. Insurance professionals are trained in finance, management and risk. Financial professionals already have those skills and may have an innate understanding of the vast world of insurance.
2. The jump from finance to insurance is short. The level of knowledge around risk and opportunities means a jump to insurance can be easier for financial professionals. It’s hard to start running a media company or leading a hospitality business, but you could naturally transition to a sales or operations leadership role in insurance with existing skills. You just need to learn the technical aspects of insurance – which are very broad.
3. A broker’s primary customers are CFOs. In most cases, buying insurance, either property & casualty or healthcare, is inherently a financial discussion about terms, conditions and risk retention. In talking with CFOs, controllers, risk managers, or other buyers, you are predisposed to understand their perspective because you know where they are coming from with the evaluation. You’re focused on outcomes, measuring success and managing risks. At Brown & Brown, we have many finance-educated teammates that have been extremely successful and risen to leadership roles.
4. Financial professionals know how to provide solutions. Because you understand how to manage risk, you can speak with a finance leader and offer them solutions. In addition, you understand business, associated risks and the numbers, which helps make you more comfortable with the discussions and decisions.
Finance students and talented individuals: Your future could be even brighter in insurance
Insurance is ripe for significant digital transformation in the next five to 15 years. There will be more tech, increased use of data, less paper, more interoperability and increased flexibility. We need you!
TIP: Be open-minded. Reach out to those who were also initially skeptical about insurance — like me! When you start asking questions, you get to the industry’s nuances — and you’ll find out it’s pretty compelling.
to Support Business Growth
with Andy Watts, Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer at Brown & Brown Insurance
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