The 2021 Executives to Watch: FM Global’s George Plesce
In July, FM Global consolidated several related operations under George Plesce with the title of chief client experience and sales officer.
Client services is responsible for existing insureds, sales secures new business, and marketing has the job of understanding the needs of buyers and how those needs evolve over time.
The functional consolidation is the culmination of “an opportunity seen by the executive team a few years ago,” Plesce said.
“I am a bit of an anomaly at FM Global in that I did not come from an engineering or risk management background. I have a marketing and finance degree.”
Plesce worked at two other non-insurance firms before joining the client services group of FM Global predecessor company, Arkwright, in 1991. “I was handling sales and client services in Arkwright’s Philadelphia-area office through the merger that formed FM Global in 1999,” he said.
”After that, I was purely in a new-business role, still based in Philadelphia until I moved into operations at the Reston, Virginia office. That was still client services, but also underwriting.”
He became operations manager at that office, overseeing the entire Middle Atlantic area in 2011, and continued there until early 2017, when he was brought to FM Global’s head office in Johnston, Rhode Island to lead the Client Services Group. That was the genesis of the consolidation that was completed in July.
The timing is propitious, but Plesce stressed it has been in the works for several years.
“It’s critically important that we understand the needs of our clients,” he explained, “and that we are close to our clients and broker partners, because this is the toughest time that many of them have ever faced. There is also so much opportunity for growth, because there is always a flight to stability and quality in tumultuous times. There is value in resilience and that is where we are placing our efforts.”
Which is not to say that FM Global is moving beyond its engineering approach to risk management and mitigation: “We are eager to build our potential base of long-term clients with companies that are a match philosophically,” Plesce said.
“We are looking for clients that are doing smart things to prevent and mitigate loss,” he added, “that have contingencies in place; not because some insurance company told them to but because that is what they believe is the best way to deliver value to their employees, customers and other stakeholders. That is who we want – organizations that want to improve their risk profile. The philosophical fit is our focus.”
In stating all that, Plesce acknowledged that there are other options among underwriters. “Our value comes from partnering with clients that share our belief in resilience. That is one of the reasons we never put aggressive numbers on the organization in terms of growth. While we are looking to add clients, we are not significantly changing our business objectives just because there are opportunities out there.”
In hardening markets, “the best defense for any organization is resilience,” he said. “That enables them to weather the storm of higher premiums and tighter terms and conditions, as well as better assuring their ability to stay on their mission and business plan.” &
For the full list of Insurance Executives to Watch in 2021, view here.