Just over two years ago I had the good fortune to take over as CEO of specialist insurer Hiscox’s U.S. business unit.
Executive SummaryFor Hiscox USA CEO Ben Walter, taking on the role of chief executive was a challenge considering that he'd never worked in the insurance industry. But past experiences in management roles for Barclays Global Investors, Gap Inc. and Continental Airlines have shaped his vision over the past two years, providing lessons about branding and distribution directly applicable to insurance.
Leading this business is a humbling challenge. Hiscox has a sterling reputation with both clients and shareholders alike that has been built with hard work and persistence over many decades.
But at the same time, the road is littered with European companies that have tried to penetrate the U.S. market only to return home with their proverbial tails between their legs. And I am, to be blunt, not an insurance guy by trade.
I have spent the past 20 years in five different industries: airlines, management consulting, retail, investment management and now insurance. So after two years of strong growth and a break-even result a full year ahead of schedule, it’s a good time to take a step back and reflect on how my experiences in other industries have influenced my thinking here at Hiscox.