Announcing the 2022 Executives to Watch

Today and tomorrow’s commercial insurance carrier leaders are being called on to manage unprecedented changes in the workforce and technology applications.
By: | November 5, 2021

The to-do list for commercial insurance carrier executives seems to get longer and more involved with each passing week.

The relentless threats of climate change and cyber incursions have now been joined by the ravages of a pandemic which has altered the economic landscape; perhaps most pointedly, in how companies manage their workforces.

It would be incorrect to call the pandemic unprecedented, or even unpredictable. It’s just that no one of this generation has ever seen a global health crisis of this magnitude.

Remote work from home, while it was welcomed as a safe way for many workforces to carry on, has in turn spawned a much more vigorous awareness of employee mental health issues. Many remote workers have been stalked by depression, anxiety and other mental and emotional afflictions.

This is a game changer for how insurance leaders manage their teams.

“Leaders need to be equipped to inspire authentically, understand and empathize with the evolving needs of the real human beings in their organizations, operate in hybrid worlds, and much more,” said Deanna Fidler, EVP and chief administration officer, FM Global.  Fidler is one of 12 Executives to Watch selected by Risk & Insurance for 2022.

As Fidler sees it, “how leaders lead,” as the way professionals’ work changes, is going to be critical to her organization’s success. She sees this as a central challenge moving into 2022.

Remote work challenges are dovetailing with, and perhaps exacerbating, what was a pre-existing condition in the insurance world and many other sectors.  That being a shortage of available talent.

But carriers can’t zero in exclusively on the talent challenge.  On another front, they are wrapped up in a race to best deploy technology to make sure they are charging the right price to cover exposures.

That technology play will come with a significant cost for many.

“The biggest changes we are seeing now is that the larger, more established carriers are investing capital to overhaul technology, including API, and build out digital in all forms to create the next generations of products and services to better serve existing exposures, while being nimble enough to adapt to exposures of tomorrow,” said Natalie Burns, vice president and head of alternative distribution, middle & large commercial, The Hartford.

“The data story is really about having a vision for how we could transform as an organization, bringing that to life, and selling it to the executive team to create the multi-year, multi-million-dollar project that’s now in a position to support other projects and makes us more modern and better,” said Kristen Bessette, chief actuary, actuarial & finance at QBE North America.

Bessette also joins Burns, Fidler and nine others as 2022 Executives to Watch.

Despite these challenges and a host of others, some of those tasked with new and expanding responsibilities express optimism.

“I have the utmost confidence in the long-term success of PHLY, and the commercial insurance industry as a whole, as long as experienced professionals and senior leadership remain dedicated to the ongoing mentoring, coaching, and advocacy of the many high potential, bright thinkers that make up our next generation of industry leaders,” said Kimberly Hamilton, senior vice president of underwriting, Philadelphia Insurance Companies.

Hamilton’s positive outlook was echoed by Madhu Tadikonda, the newly appointed President of Corvus Insurance.

“I’m inspired by the opportunity to push forward and make more relevant this hundreds-year old industry that is a critical part of making the economy go and grow,” Tadikonda said.

“There’s a watershed moment of, is the industry going to stay relevant for the future world and future customer risks or is it not? It’s incumbent on the industry to be responsive and helpful and be a thought partner in how that evolves,” he added.

Well said, Mr.Tadikonda.  His 2022 Executives to Watch profile and others adorn Pages 19 through 23 of this November issue of Risk & Insurance. &

Kristen Bessette
chief actuary, actuarial & finance at QBE
North America

Wesley Hyatt, chief client officer, global risk solutions, Liberty Mutual

Cristina Schoen,
global head of aviation claims, Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty

Madhu Tadikonda
president, Corvus Insurance

Andrew Innes,
global practice leader, products and airports, aerospace, AXA XL

Neil Smallcomb,
head of casualty, Lexington Insurance Company

Bob Meyer,
EVP of North American property, Chubb

Deanna Fidler,
EVP and chief administration officer, FM Global

Kim Briones,
global head of human resources, BHSI

Natalie Burns,
vice president and head of alternative distribution, middle & large commercial, The Hartford

Kenneth June,
associate vice president & associate general counsel, United Educators

Kimberly Hamilton,
senior vice president of underwriting, Philadelphia Insurance Companies

Dan Reynolds is editor-in-chief of Risk & Insurance. He can be reached at [email protected].

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