We hold these truths to be self-evident: A shrinking insurance company will sooner or later run afoul of regulators, rating agencies, distributors and customers. It is virtually impossible to maintain profitability without growth. Growth is fueled by better capabilities, service, customer-focus, and products, which require ongoing investment in capabilities. The math doesn’t work unless you are finding ways to spend less in unimportant places so you can spend more in important ones.

We recently surveyed executives from 26 carriers to get a better sense of the industry’s attitudes about growth and expenses, and how these attitudes influence their behavior. Included were regional, national and global carriers, and carriers writing personal, commercial, life, as well as multiline carriers....

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