The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word “crisis.” One brush stroke stands for danger, the other for opportunity.

Executive Summary

As carriers move past the crises of 2020 to seek opportunity, a renewed focus on purpose is in order, writes Amy Radin, a former chief innovation officer for Citi and former marketing officer for AXA who currently works as a board director and adviser to would-be innovators. Here, Radin, author of "The Change Maker's Playbook: How to Seek, Seed and Scale Innovation in Any Company," explains the value of purpose, offers examples of purpose-led non-insurance businesses and gives a how-to list for creating a purpose-driven carrier. Steps include adding change makers and influencers to the team, serving as leaders and role models that give followers confidence and guidance to embrace change.

In a crisis, be aware of the danger—but recognize the opportunity.

This idea, communicated by John F. Kennedy in a speech he delivered over a half-century ago, certainly resonates now.

Carriers experienced danger on many fronts during 2020—the pandemic, spreading wildfire outbreaks, social instability and economic fallout—translating into financial, employee, customer, distributor, and other business and stakeholder impacts across insurance lines and geographies.

We will live with the long-tail effects of 2020 for years if not decades to come. But if we are able to seek the opportunity, not simply the danger, then we can think through and commit to changes that can accelerate the ability to gain competitive advantage, expand and deepen customer relationships, and adapt with the speed that is demanded now.

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