World Captive Forum 2024: Expert Insights on Talent, Risk, and More in the Captive Industry

The annual World Captive Forum (WCF) was held from January 24 to 26 in Orlando, Florida. With topics spanning the state of the market, the use of artificial intelligence, and securing talent, the forum provided captives the chance to learn about what is trending in 2024 and how to best prepare their groups for emerging risks, as well as network with industry colleagues.

Amy O’Brien, VP — Captive Practice Sales, participated in a panel titled, “A Captive Kaleidoscope: Your Captive Through Different Viewpoints,” in which she and other industry professionals discussed the need for diversity in the workplace and how to attract and retain a diverse workforce. She was joined by Gallagher Bassett (GB) team members Sam Terzich, EVP, GB Specialty, and Antoine Green, AVP — Sales (South Central), and they shared their experiences and key insights from the forum with us below. 

What were your biggest takeaways from the WCF? What topics were most prevalent in your discussions and networking?

Antoine Green (AG): The main topics I observed were potential group and single parent captives that were exploring the idea of starting a captive. I was pleased in my conversations to hear that GB is regarded as a trusted advisor in this space, and clients are comfortable talking to us about their ideas and experiences with captives. Our ability to share innovation, data and reporting, and expertise for specific areas, such as cyber, construction, or transportation, allows us to truly differentiate our organization in the market.

Amy O’Brien (AO): As Antoine indicated, we witnessed all types of customers looking at starting, joining, or expanding their captive. The topics of the less-traditional coverages come up often, including specialty lines (cyber, D&O, professional, and other liability lines). As mentioned above, our panel on diversity yielded a lot of conversation and emphasized the need of diverse people serving diverse customers.

Sam Terzich (ST): Specialty topics such as Directors & Officers (D&O) programs and cyber, in particular, seemed to generate the most interest. Whether single parent or group captives are confronted with unique claims, many do not have the depth of experience in these coverages as standard lines. Due to insurance premium fluctuations, more companies are forced to move these coverages into their captive. GB’s ability to address the complex specialty lines generated a lot of interest at the forum. 

Amy, you spoke on an important panel at the recent World Captive Forum, “A Captive Kaleidoscope: Your Captive Through Different Viewpoints.” What were your main takeaways from that discussion?

AO: Our primary messaging was to increase awareness and to be mindful that everyone can help increase diversity in the insurance industry. Leaders in hiring roles and other positions of influence can help by making sure as many people as possible are represented at the table and in roles within our companies. One of my fellow panelists shared a statistic that “inclusive teams are 35% more productive, making better decisions 87% of the time.*” After all, insurance is a product that benefits all people, and those who serve in the industry should reflect that.

On a personal note, this was one of the most rewarding panels I have ever been on. We had numerous people come up to us panelists after the panel, and throughout the rest of the day, expressing enthusiasm for the topic, with sentiments like “thank you for sharing the message and using your platform to talk about this in a gentle and meaningful way.” This opened up deeper conversations with attendees at WCF. Even as I write this, post-conference discussions are taking place. Part of our message is, “We can talk about this, it’s okay to do so, and it’s welcomed.” So, my hope is that this was just the beginning of an ongoing industry-spanning conversation. 

For those who weren’t able to attend your panel, what would you say are the most important points for captives to consider in 2024 and beyond?

AO: Simple things like making sure a pool of applicants is diverse. Additionally, pursuing interest from diverse colleges and high schools can go a long way. We want young people to know early on that insurance is a solid and rewarding career choice. Mentoring is also really important, whether you are mentoring interns, high-potential team members, or people outside of your organization. Being an ear to them and offering advice is helpful. Many people need an advocate in the room. Our panel was focused on the perhaps lesser-known captive insurance niche, but the messaging applies industry-wide.

Pay equity was another topic raised by our panel. We talked about the importance of having your own personal board of directors—meaning mentors whom you can go to for personal advice. These relationships create opportunities to be your authentic self, and we know it can be hard to manage a career when you feel you have to hide some of yourself. 

What were your impressions of Amy’s panel discussion on diversity in the workplace and attracting a diverse workforce?

AG: Amy’s participation on the panel spoke to GB’s strength in reflecting the global communities that we serve. She tackled several tough subjects—equality in pay and women in leadership, for example—that resonated with everyone in the room. She was poised and authentic with her truth and stood for what she believed in. She also gave hope to a room full of people when she spoke of how we are addressing the issue of diversity within our organization with programs like IN2GB and our mentoring programs.

Considering the challenges in attracting and retaining diverse talent, what strategies have you found effective?

ST: Our group in GB Specialty serves a diverse group of clients that require an equally diverse and talented staff. In this way, one size does not fit all clients, and our well-rounded team can serve each client’s unique needs. Our approach to attracting and retaining staff is to hire experienced professionals who are able to work through challenges and act confidently. This has resulted in a team built to solve problems and persist through complex claims. We work to retain staff by recognizing talent, providing appropriate compensation, and creating career paths.

Following the panel and other discussions at the World Captive Forum, how do you see the future of DEI initiatives within the captive insurance sector? What role will they play, and what impact can organizations expect by embracing these initiatives?

AO: The captive industry is tuned into the need for diversity and hiring people who reflect the global economy. In my role on the Captive Insurance Companies Association (CICA) programming committee and Amplify Women Networking committee, this is an ongoing topic of discussion. We make deliberate strides to include diverse people in what we do. And my hope is that this message, such as this blog post, will result in those who are new or unfamiliar with the captive industry reaching out and inquiring about the opportunities.

I would like to end by thanking Business Insurance for supporting our panel and including this important message at the World Captive Forum. It is through having these conversations and sharing steps for action that we can help increase diversity. And I will share some feedback from a client that conveys the value of attending firsthand:

The panel at the World Captive Forum was especially helpful to me in my ongoing and changing insurance career. As I face a new opportunity after almost 25 years in the business to move into the captive space, I gained so much insightful knowledge from the panel of women who are there now.

My takeaways include a few things:

  • I am not alone in this mid-life career pivot. There is a community of smart, diverse, and confident women in this industry to help me grow.
  • A friendly reminder from the panel that I deserve to be here, at this moment in time, and in this position to lead.
  • Be confident in yourself, and that comes with knowledge.

While I am entering the unknown in my profession, there are so many opportunities to educate myself and learn from the best. So, here’s a simple thank you to the panel for reminding me of my self-worth.” — Cora Beth Hartfield, Mississippi, Truck, Food & Fuel Self Insurers Fund (SIPP Captive Insurance Company).

To connect with our team of experts, book a free consultation here.

*https://www.edume.com/blog/workplace-diversity-statistics 

Amy O’Brien

VP Captive Practice Sales

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