7 Questions for CPCU Society President-Elect Brett Clausen
Risk & Insurance® caught up with CPCU Society President-Elect Brett Clausen to learn more about his goals for his upcoming term. In addition to serving on the CPCU Society Leadership Council, Clausen is the government relations and process improvement vice president at Farm Bureau Financial Services in West Des Moines, Iowa. His designations include CPCU, CIC, LSSMBB and MSIM.
Clausen will begin his term as president and chair of the CPCU Society Leadership Council on January 1, 2023. He has served in various volunteer roles for the CPCU Society in the lead-up to his presidency and brings an interesting background in lean management to the table.
Risk & Insurance: What are your goals for your term as president?
Brett Clausen: The number one objective in my term as president is for the global CPCU Society to “extend our reach.” We have established four strategic goals in our 2022-2024 plan:
- We are the premier community of risk management and insurance thought leaders
- We are recognized as a personal and professional investment that positively impacts and drives successful outcomes
- We are a vibrant and inclusive global community that welcomes and empowers all individuals, ideas and voices
- We are committed to social responsibility, sustainability and resilience
As we enter year two of our three-year strategic plan, it will require us to build upon the growth and success gained in 2022. That will be accomplished through the efforts of all our volunteer leaders, members and staff working together to extend our reach.
By executing our strategies set forth at every operational level, we will achieve much more success moving forward.
R&I: How has the recent membership expansion changed the CPCU Society?
BC: The recent membership expansion is critical to meet the needs of the risk management and insurance industry, community, and workforce demands. Our global CPCU Society is leading the way in fulfilling the needs of the property and casualty industry.
By extending our reach within our membership, we are creating vital pathways for more engagement, diversity and inclusion, which leads to more opportunity for growth, both personally and professionally. Adding additional membership levels has opened the door to tremendous opportunity, not only for our Society but for our members and many employers.
R&I: International growth is one of the goals of the CPCU Society. How will you help drive this goal forward during your presidency?
BC: We are a global CPCU Society and our strategic intent to grow internationally is vitally important to our mission. In 2023, our goal is to attract and engage risk and insurance professionals in at-large international areas. This will be accomplished by extending our reach to these individual members and providing value and connection to a professional community of support through a virtual chapter.
The Leadership Council appointed an international task force late in 2021, and this group of dedicated volunteer leaders has been working diligently over the course of 2022. Their recommendation to launch an international virtual chapter was recently presented to the Leadership Council and unanimously passed.
We are extremely excited to see this virtual chapter come to fruition that will allow us to learn from, share with and grow with it. Once it’s officially launched, I encourage all members to consider adding membership to the international virtual chapter in addition to supporting their local chapter.
R&I: In addition to being a CPCU, you are also a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt. How does this background influence your leadership style?
BC: Lean Six Sigma is a powerful, disciplined methodology to improve efficiency and quality in every aspect of an organization or even life in general. From a leadership standpoint, you are constantly presented with new challenges and opportunities every single day. How you approach, react to, prioritize and solve challenges and, in turn, create innovative solutions to identified opportunities most likely will determine successful or unsuccessful outcomes.
Utilizing this proven philosophy of improvement removes any personal bias or assumptions and forces one to be fact-based and data-driven in solving problems.
R&I: How can the CPCU Society and other industry organizations engage students and the next generation of insurance professionals?
BC: The dynamics of engaging students and hiring insurance professionals to a career in risk management and insurance continue to evolve. We are making great strides and extending our reach within our global Society, starting with the new student membership category. Student members are the first to know about upcoming CPCU Society financial aid opportunities through our NextGen Scholarships and Loman Internship Financial Aid program.
Students receive access to the following all-member benefits:
- Unlimited free monthly webinars; a complimentary subscription to Insights, our quarterly professional journal; and free quarterly online courses from The Institutes
- INteract, which hosts our online community, member directory, Mentor Match program and volunteer opportunities
- Access to local chapter benefits and eight Special Interest Groups
- Access to Career Center tools and resources
- Exclusive member discounts on events including In2Risk plus MemberDeals
In addition, we have a strong relationship with Gamma Iota Sigma (GIS) and have seen this grow from 300 students in 2021 to 2,800 students in 2022. Our Student Action Committee is increasing student involvement by providing connections, experiences and opportunities that invest them in the risk management and insurance industry. In 2023, membership will be free to all students working toward or interested in risk management and insurance.
We can’t keep these opportunities a secret!
R&I: What role do you think membership in the CPCU Society plays in the larger insurance ecosystem?
BC: We are the premier community of risk management and insurance thought leaders. With that comes great responsibility. We are the best of the best and must continue to provide the gold standard in education and leadership development opportunities to promote the next generation of leaders. Our industry has relied on us for decades and that need will not go away.
As insurance thought leaders, we need to continue to be at the forefront of innovation. As highly trained and valued professionals, we need to not only embrace change but lead change. The opportunity has never been greater.
R&I: What inspires you?
BC: Very simply, I see every day as a gift. I strive to get better every day, learn something new, help someone succeed and find ways to make a positive difference.
The global CPCU Society community continues to inspire me to do more, be more and have a lot of fun along the way. I received my CPCU designation in 1999. That was significant and what I often refer to as a “game changer.” It opened new doors and opportunity. I am truly blessed to have an employer that understands the value of the designation and fellow CPCUs that encouraged me along the way. Like for many of us CPCUs, it defined a new beginning.
Obtaining the prestigious CPCU designation is an entry point for unlimited opportunities to grow both personally and professionally. I did not take that for granted. To volunteer and give back, to build communication and leadership skills, to network and build valuable relationships across the globe, to mentor and be mentored — all have been made possible by being an active member of the CPCU Society.
I have the great honor and privilege to work with CPCUs and volunteer leaders throughout the world. But it all started by taking that first step to get involved in the local chapter — getting involved in committee work, becoming a chapter officer, serving as chapter president, chapter/managing governor and, presently, on the Leadership Council. These leadership opportunities are priceless and have led to parallel success in the company I have the privilege to work for. &