What Can We Learn from Vantage’s Alex Blanco? Give Your Team Space to Grow and Thrive
Alex Blanco’s leadership style places him behind the scenes — a point from which he gives members of his team space to thrive in their given roles. Since November 2021, he has been supporting the insurance arm of specialty insurer and reinsurer Vantage as chief executive.
Recognizing that management can be complicated, rather than overengineer his approach, he has distilled his focus to simply “help along the way or get out of the way,” he said.
“Especially for an organization like ours, where we want to be nimble — we want to make accurate, well-informed decisions. Our ability to do so in the least bureaucratic environment is going to be terribly helpful,” he added.
As Vantage celebrates its insurance division’s first renewals this year and an additional capital commitment up to $200 million to fund the firm’s continued growth, Blanco sees the young company’s purpose in the marketplace aligning with the challenges brokers and clients are also facing.
“Generally speaking, we are witnessing right now an increasingly large insurance gap in society, while reversely we’re also operating in probably a far riskier environment than we ever have,” he said.
“Whether it’s cyber risk, [the] pandemic, Nat CAT, macro inflation, geopolitical turbulence — our clients are operating in that risk arena. So as an industry, we have to take on that obligation of helping them navigate and create solutions,” he said.
Striving to meet unmet market demands, Blanco and his colleagues have grown Vantage’s book by developing tools to drive better risk insights crafted by a team of what he calls “athletic thinkers” who see risk differently.
“Our world is changing. It would be folly on our part to not have a colleague base that has that mindset in terms of change,” he said.
Along with leveraging tech solutions that enable its team to apply multidisciplinary expertise, one of the firm’s top priorities in the year ahead will be to continue attracting and retaining talent with diverse professional backgrounds.
“We’ve benefited greatly by drawing top talent to the firm,” Blanco said. “The next trick is the ability to draw emerging talent.”
Blanco envisions the next tranche of Vantage leadership to be “a group of people who can think not only about the business that they have but about issues in general that may not only affect their lines of business but others.
“I can’t underscore how important it is to have not only that athletic mindset but the data and technology [to] enable it in order to unleash our people to do that,” Blanco said.
“It would be difficult to have a set of underwriters try to charge forward without providing them the best tools and a broader view of how data does make a difference in their decision making. I think, formulaically, that’s what we’re seeing or that’s how we’re evolving.” &
Alex Blanco has been selected as a 2023 Risk & Insurance® Executive to Watch. To see the other executives selected this year, visit here.