Insurance leaders play a key role in building resilience by helping communities to mitigate the impacts of climate change, disaster and many other global risks. But in today’s disruptive, ever-changing business environment, how can insurance leaders become more resilient so that they can better inspire and motivate their teams, improve business performance and ultimately take care of themselves?

Executive Summary

"The support for mindfulness from our CEO makes our employees feel like it's OK and has encouraged them to participate," according to the chief medical officer of MassMutual, one of several life/health insurers helping to share the benefits of mindfulness-based training with its workforce. In addition to reducing the consequences that stress has on physical health, experts note that the qualities of leaders—focus, objectivity and balanced decision-making—are exactly the characteristics defined through mindfulness-based meditation.

The answer, at least in part, may lie in mindfulness, or in mindfulness-based training, a practice that is becoming increasingly accepted and practiced in C-suites and beyond.

What is mindfulness?

John Kabat-Zinn, founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, defined mindfulness as: “The awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally for the cultivation of wisdom and compassion.”

Andy Lee, chief mindfulness officer at Hartford, Conn.-based health insurer Aetna and a mindfulness practitioner for almost 20 years, offers a layman’s definition: “Mindfulness is paying attention to the present moment and doing it in a way that is open and receptive.”

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