By: Douglas Donnelly, CEO, CIB
The world is, once again, experiencing a black swan event… and everyone is in panic mode. Yet we should be better prepared for these massive global events that seem to occur every 10 or so years: Y2k, 9/11, the global financial crisis and now Covid-19. In hindsight, they all seem so predictably obvious.
We can be proud of our industry in that the short-term insurance sector is one of the only industries that have actually put physical cash back in the pockets of clients in the form of premium discounts during this period. The majority of insurers compensated their brokers, too, with the loss of commission from the impact of that premium reduction. All this despite the fact that we will ultimately see historic losses across the global insurance industry.
Our brokers and policyholders were very appreciative of this.
My advice to other leaders in these times: Be a warrior and a worrier.
Be a warrior: This is a period when leaders show their worth. Your clients need you and your staff need you. Clients and staff need your constant reassurance. In their eyes you need to be a warrior, showing strength and reassured guidance, constantly communicating.
But when you are alone last thing at night or early in the morning, you need to be a worrier. You need to think about every “what-if” scenario, and have plans a, b and c at the ready. If those “what-if” eventualities happen, you need to think of every way in which this crisis could impact you and your business and plan for it now.
Think: What would happen if you lost your biggest client? What would you do if you were hospitalised with no contact with the outside world? I always like to plan for the worst as it gives me comfort that if the worst happens, there is a solution.
Most importantly, be flexible. Nobody knew what would happen and how things would develop. As leaders we made decisions on the fly, as things panned out. They may or may not have been the best decisions, but they seemed right at the time. As situations change, we must acknowledge that our decisions may become redundant. And that’s fine!
Acknowledge that you may need to change decisions. Don’t defend what you thought last week. It may have been right (or best) then, but you may need a change NOW.