The 2022 Executives to Watch: The Hartford’s Natalie Burns

The Hartford’s Natalie Burns' recent promotion allows her to utilize previous lessons to combat the most fearsome of challenges.
By: | November 5, 2021

Talent attraction is top of mind for most insurance organizations in light of the Great Resignation. For The Hardford’s vice president and head of alternative distribution, middle & large commercial Natalie Burns, it’s just one part of her company’s commitment to corporate responsibility and sustainable growth.

Explaining that attraction and retention of talent is at the forefront of The Hartford’s drive to be exceptional, Burns said, “It is about carefully considering how we hold the leaders supporting our teams accountable to diversity, equity and inclusion, not just as ‘the right thing to do,’ but as a true business imperative at the heart of our continued relevance in our industry and our communities.”

Burns will have many more opportunities to meet this challenge in 2022. A critical talent in The Hartford’s middle & large commercial business for nearly 20 years, she was a natural fit for her recent promotional opportunity given her underwriting expertise, leadership capabilities and industry knowledge.

Among the areas of focus for in her newest role are the shifting priorities of the ever-evolving industry landscape amid a continued global pandemic, the need to increase ease and efficiency while managing cost, and the critical importance of digital and technology enhancements and process improvements that make it easier for our agents/brokers to work with her company.

“The role I have today with The Hartford allows me to leverage all that I’ve learned, and continue to learn, as we look to future growth,” Burns said.

Among those lessons are the management of natural disasters, which as they increase in frequency and severity, are an ever-present concern for underwriters.

“My proudest accomplishments are my efforts to significantly reduce our footprint of severe wildfire exposure while simultaneously maintaining relevance with our agents and brokers,” she explained.

“At a time when wildfire was an evolving risk, I was able to develop underwriting guidance, model translation, and training for the frontline underwriters. This was an endeavor that I wanted to embrace, and with my team, I was able to successfully lead the organization through a positive transformation of our book.”

Looking toward 2022, Burns is optimistic that both The Hartford and the industry have much to offer in terms of advancements. Citing usage-based insurance and behavior-based insurance as examples, Burns described the future as “incredibly bright and full of opportunity.”

Part of that opportunity is meeting the changes that are coming more rapidly than ever.

“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,”
she said.

“As an industry, we have a wealth of knowledge. Our ability to look at that data in new ways and see our customers differently will drive innovation.” &

Nina Luckman is a business journalist based in New Orleans, focusing primarily on the workers' compensation industry. Over the last several years, Nina has served as Editor of Louisiana Comp Blog, a news site she started in 2014 under the auspices of a group self-insurance fund. She can be reached at [email protected].

More from Risk & Insurance