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Risk Insider: Jon Hall

Risk Management and Millennials

By: | February 27, 2018 • 4 min read
Jonathan W. Hall is chief operating officer at FM Global. He oversees FM Global’s insurance operations and insurance staff functions, as well as the FM Global Resilience Index, a data driven resource that ranks the business resilience of 130 countries and regions. He can be reached at [email protected]

Are you afraid to hire millennials? Do you fear if you do, after all the time and investment your company puts into them, they will just get up and leave your organization in two or three years’ time?

Nothing could be farther from the truth, and that kind of thinking can leave your organization at a competitive disadvantage. As the last of the millennial generation begins to enter the workforce, and the first of that group approach their 40s, it is clearer than ever risk management offers millennials everything they are looking for in a career to make them want to stay for the long-term — growth, challenges and cutting-edge technology.

That’s important because in the United States, 10,000 people will turn 65 every day between now and 2030, according to the U.S. census bureau. While many of those folks will still be working after age 65, it’s no secret that the brain drain on the risk management and insurance industries will be in the hundreds of thousands of people over the next several years.

The Millennial Generation is where we will find the human talent to fill those gaps and position risk management for growth in the future.

In fact, the steps we should be taking to attract millennials are the very same things that set any good business apart from its competition — investing in people, our most valuable asset. It’s been my experience that loyalty is a two-way street; when companies invest in people, people invest in companies.

According to a survey of 1,100 U.S.-based millennials working for FM Global and four other large companies, the most significant factors in employer selection criteria for millennials are career growth, salary, benefits, job security, work-life balance, skill development and interesting work. Importantly, 60 percent of people in the study said they preferred to stay with their current employer, while only 25 percent thought changing employers was the best way to advance their careers. That’s great news!

Today, risk management is not about simply identifying ways to transfer risk; it is about creating a holistic approach to business resilience and maintaining a competitive advantage. But in order to educate millennials about all of the opportunities in risk management, we have to tell our stories.

So what can we do to attract and retain millennials (and others for that matter)?

At FM Global, we heavily invest in enterprise learning programs designed to provide our employees with the skills and knowledge they need now and in the future to continually grow their careers.

For example, we have recently revamped our risk management engineering training program to leverage our newly built 40,000 square foot FM Global Learning Center outside of Boston, Mass. Here students (whether they are employees or risk management clients) receive instruction in specially designed “active learning” classrooms using the latest technology that foster creativity and critical thinking. Each classroom is equipped with surface computing (huge touch screens with built-in intelligence) and interactive whiteboards. There also are smartboards, mounted LCD projectors and video cameras.

In these collaborative classrooms, students work in groups using technology that helps them discover new skills. Facilitators interact with students and encourage critical thinking by discovering new methods and concepts that can be applied to their jobs. This type of learning keeps them excited and engaged.

This program has streamlined our engineering training program from 18 months to just 12 months!

There has been much written that millennials, as a generation, are quick to move from job to job and have no loyalty. The research says differently. In fact, overall, millennials who are happier with their jobs are more likely to be satisfied with their careers and lives and in turn will work harder and stay with their current employer.

The key is they need to be challenged and have the opportunity to do different things. In my own career, I’ve had multiple jobs — starting as an account underwriter, working my way up to senior vice president of underwriting and reinsurance before being named an executive vice president and then chief operating officer.

The great thing is, I have had the opportunity to change jobs all while working for the same company for more than 30 years. When there are opportunities for an employee to grow in their career, and companies are willing to promote from within, your employees will stay with you.

Finally, risk management is an exciting field with multiple opportunities for challenging work and career growth. Today, risk management is not about simply identifying ways to transfer risk; it is about creating a holistic approach to business resilience and maintaining a competitive advantage.

But in order to educate millennials about all of the opportunities in risk management, we have to tell our stories.

At FM Global, we don’t just go to college campuses to recruit student talent — although that is an important part. Telling our stories means senior executives sitting down with employees at all levels — whether Generation X, millennials or the soon-to-enter-the-workforce Generation Z — and engaging in active conversations. It means listening to your people and understanding their wants and needs and actively working to ensure your company reflects the people who work for it.

The secret to success is simple: Invest in your most important asset — your people.

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

Risk Management

The Profession

The risk manager for Boyd Gaming Corp. says curiosity keeps him engaged, and continual education will be the key to managing emerging risks.
By: | May 1, 2018 • 4 min read

R&I: What was your first job?

I was trained as an accountant, worked in public accounting and became a CPA. Being comfortable with numbers is helpful in my current role, and obviously, the language of business is financial statements, so it helps.

R&I: How did you come to work in risk management?

Working in finance in the corporate environment included the review of budgets and the analysis of business expenses. I quickly found the area of benefits and insurance — and how “accepting risk” impacted those expenses — to be fascinating. I asked a lot of questions. Be careful what you ask for — I soon found myself responsible for those insurance areas and haven’t looked back!

R&I: What is the risk management community doing right?

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I have found the risk management community to be a close-knit group, whether that’s industry professionals, risk managers with other companies or support organizations like RIMS and other regional groups. The expertise of the carriers and specialty vendors to develop new products and programs, along with the appropriate education, will continue to be of key importance to companies going forward.

R&I: What’s been the biggest change in the risk management and insurance industry since you’ve been in it?

As I’m sure many in the insurance field would agree, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 changed our world and our industry. It was a particularly intense time and certainly a baptism by fire for people like me who were relatively new to the industry. This event clearly accelerated the switch to the acceptance of more risk, which impacted mitigation strategies and programs.

Bob Berglund, vice president, benefits and insurance, Boyd Gaming Corp.

R&I: What emerging commercial risk most concerns you?

The fast-paced threat that cyber security represents today. Our company, like so many companies, is reliant upon computers, software and IT expertise in our everyday existence. This new risk has forged an even stronger relationship between risk management and our IT department as we work together to address this growing threat.

Additionally, the shooting event in Las Vegas in 2017 will have an enduring impact on firms that host large gatherings and arena-style events all over the world, and our company is no exception.

R&I: What insurance carrier do you have the highest opinion of?

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With the various types of insurance programs we employ, I have been fortunate to work with most of the large national and international carriers — all of whom employ talented people with a vast array of resources.

R&I:  How much business do you do direct versus going through a broker?

We use brokers for many of our professional coverages, such as property, casualty, D&O and cyber. We are self-insured under our health plans, with close to 25,000 members. We tend to manage those programs internally and utilize direct relationships with carriers and specialty vendors to tailor a plan that works best for team members.

R&I: Who is your mentor and why?

I have been fortunate to have worked alongside some smart and insightful people during my career. A key piece of advice, said in many different ways, has served me well. Simply stated: “Seek to understand before being understood.”

What this has meant to me is try everything you can to learn about something, new or old. After you have gained this knowledge, you can begin to access and maybe suggest changes or adjustments. Being curious has always been a personal enjoyment for me in business, and I have found people are more than willing to lend a hand, offer information and advice — you just need to ask. Building those alliances and foundations of knowledge on a subject matter makes tackling the future more exciting and fruitful.

R&I: What have you accomplished that you are proudest of?

Our benefit health plan is much more than handing out an insurance card at the beginning of the year. We encourage our team members and their families to learn about their personal health, get engaged in a variety of health and wellness programs and try to live life in the healthiest possible way. The result of that is literally hundreds of testimonials from our members every year on how they have lost weight, changed their lifestyle and gotten off medications. It is extremely rewarding and is a testament to [our] close-knit corporate culture.

R&I: What’s the best restaurant you’ve ever eaten at?

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Some will remember the volcano eruption in Iceland in spring of 2010. I was just finishing a week of meetings in London with Lloyd’s syndicates related to our property insurance placement when the airspace in England and most of northern Europe was shut down — no airplanes in or out! Flights were ultimately canceled for the following five days. Therefore, with a few other stranded visitors like myself, we experimented and tried out new restaurants every day until we could leave. It was a very interesting time!

R&I: What is the riskiest activity you ever engaged in?

I am originally from Canada, and I played ice hockey from the time I was four years old up until quite recently. Too many surgeries sadly forced my recent retirement.

R&I: What do your friends and family think you do?

That’s a funny one … I am a CPA working in the casino industry, doing insurance and risk management, so neighbors and acquaintances think I either do tax returns or they think I’m a blackjack dealer at the casino!




Katie Dwyer is an associate editor at Risk & Insurance®. She can be reached at [email protected]