Rising Star Lael Chappell on the Wealth of Opportunity the Industry Has to Offer
Come see the Stars! As part of our ongoing coverage of the best brokers in the commercial insurance space, Risk & Insurance®, with the sponsorship of Philadelphia Insurance, is expanding its coverage of the Rising Stars, those brokers who represent the next wave of insurance brokering talent.
Look for these expanded profiles on the Risk & Insurance website and in your social media feeds now and continuing into 2022.
Our next Rising Star is Lael Chappell, director of insurance distribution at Attune, and a 2021 At Large Power Broker and Rising Star.
Risk & Insurance: What has been your proudest moment in the last year of your career?
Lael Chappell: Reflecting on the last year, my proudest moment is our organization continuing to navigate the turbulence of everything occurring in the macro economy. Above all, small businesses are very much impacted, which is our focus.
Being able to evolve and be nimble while delivering to agencies and distribution partners with empathy and understanding has been important. From a strategy perspective, we’ve added product, personnel and resources to support our strategy and are continuing to invest on enhancing our abilities to be even more impactful in the short and long-term (Attune was recently acquired by Coalition Inc.).
For me, these moments not only show our culture and values as an organization, but it has validated that we are doing the right thing to be a true contributor in this market.
In addition to our company efforts, I’m also proud to see the insurance industry taking increasing responsibility for continuing conversations from a diversity, equity and inclusion standpoint. Amid all of the challenges from a day-to-day perspective, having continued focus and execution on initiatives with various partnerships and leadership of organizations in the industry to truly drive changes has me excited about the future.
R&I: What trends are you currently watching in the commercial insurance space?
LC: An exciting trend I continue to observe is just how much the uncertainty and conditions around the pandemic are expediting the development and acceptance of Insurtech. The uptick in innovation around digital transformation, acquisitions, or strategic partnerships [around Insurtech] are not only taking off, but there’s a commitment from distribution partners, vendors, and carriers to embrace these efficiencies in support of providing a better experience to the insured.
These products and services became extremely important when we’re not able to walk into offices and have in-person meetings or finalize deals in the same manner as we have done historically. Even internally, organizations have been working virtually, so it made it even more imperative to embrace the digital products and services to maintain their operations.
Continuing to watch how that industry continues to evolve and develop, and what additional products are being added to add value and efficiencies will continue to be an important trend moving forward.
R&I: Who has been your biggest mentor throughout your career?
LC: They say it takes a village, and I’ve been very fortunate to have an amazing one. I’ll start with my family. My mom and dad have always been those key individuals that not kept me on track and were very supportive throughout everything.
There’s also a multitude of key people in professionals associations, former managers, current team members, and even people I have been fortunate enough to mentor. I can’t just pick one; it’s been a true team effort that has continued to allow me and my peers to grow together.
I’m very grateful for my entire team and the support I have and continue to receive at each milestone of my career.
R&I: What is your brokering philosophy and how do you implement this philosophy into your work every day?
LC: My role is really focused on distribution, relationships and strategy. It’s all about finding ways to optimize the entire experience. But as much as we’re embracing Insurtech, the “insurance” comes before the technology portion of it. The technology provides efficiencies, but the core of the business remains focused on the relationships.
When I think about my interactions with my clients and partners, I really try to live by the Golden Rule: treat others the way I want to be treated. I’m constantly reminding my team that the work we do externally is just as important as the work we do internally in terms of building those relationships.
Both internally and externally, you really do have one chance to make that first impression. I try to remind people to make that count, hold themselves accountable and differentiate ourselves from the masses. Without the relationship, it’s easy to get into an apples-to-apples comparison as the market is becoming more saturated by the day.
Living by the Golden Rule and understanding the need to build these long-term relationships and invest in [the relationship] the same way is kind of my soapbox, if you will.
R&I: What advice would you give to a young professional interested in a career in the insurance industry?
LC: There’s a multitude of opportunities within the industry and a chance to align with your purpose. I know that a lot of people think of the insurance industry as not as dynamic as some other industries, but it’s very much evolved in regards to the opportunities.
Whether you’re passionate about writing, marketing, or truly the day-to-day service components, there are roles and opportunities for everyone. As we watch the more seasoned talent preparing to make their transition into retirement, there’s going to be a world of opportunity for the upcoming generation of talent.
As I’m seeing more effort, engagement, and initiatives to create an inclusive culture, there’s steps towards building a welcoming environment for people that have not embraced insurance as an opportunity to come in and grow their careers.
It really excites me about what the future of the industry has to hold and the opportunities it will provide for high potential talent across the globe. &