The Hartford’s Peter Burns Doesn’t Shy Away from a Challenge. That’s Why He’s an Executive to Watch

Empathy and compassion have always been central to Peter Burns’ leadership philosophy.
By: | November 14, 2022

Peter Burns has never been one to shy away from a challenging situation.

Early in his career, when he cut his teeth in claims and led the underwriting team at Chubb, he helped build risk management programs for the National Hockey League and NBA.

Later, he went to AIG, where he aided in its efforts to enhance the firm’s reputation across its National Accounts, Excess.

“I love challenges. I love complexity,” he said. “I enjoyed the challenge of rebuilding, of being a part of bringing in folks and in building teams in the marketplace.”

Now, as vice president and head of complex casualty and national accounts for The Hartford, Burns faces a new — but just as formidable — obstacle: fostering lasting connections with his team and his clients in a world challenged by post-COVID-19 economic conditions.

“We’ve been coming together, talking about all our struggles and what we went through,” Burns said.

When it came to forging strong partnerships, Burns was up to the task.

He reimagined in-person meetings so that they included community outreach opportunities.

“We’re doing things a little bit differently,” he said. “We’re trying to get together with purpose and be impactful in the community as well.”

His zeal for helping others and building lasting relationships is part of why Burns was named one of Risk & Insurance®’s 2023 Executives to Watch.

Burns came to The Hartford in 2019, when the firm he was with, Navigators, was acquired by the carrier. After the acquisition, he brought together talent from Navigators and The Hartford and formed the new complex casualty team that combined complex liability and umbrella/excess teams, providing solutions for commercial clients.

Even as the team transitioned to The Hartford, Burns made time to build strong relationships with teammates, focused on building an open and inclusive culture and helping lift team members to achieve greatness.

He currently acts as DEI co-chair in middle and large commercial and is a coach and mentor for 27 different individuals in the firm in addition to his efforts to reimagine how in-person meetings can incorporate community engagement.

His penchant for helping others is inspired by his great-grandmother, who he cites as his first real mentor.

“My compassion, my empathy all comes from the women who have been in my life in my family,” Burns said.

He said the greatest achievement in his career has been seeing how people he first hired as fresh-faced college graduates have grown in their careers: “The greatest accomplishment is to see others succeed.” &

Peter Burns has been selected as a 2023 Risk & Insurance® Executive to Watch. To see the other executives selected this year, visit here.

Courtney DuChene is a freelance journalist based in Philadelphia. She can be reached at [email protected].

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