Brokerage Ops the October 2013 issue

Day One All Over Again

Leading the way through 100 years of change, we pause briefly, then move on.
By Ken Crerar Posted on October 1, 2013

Through the changes, some of them good and some of them hard, The Council has never shied from addressing issues head on.

We’ve been bold and direct, taking positions that have made others uncomfortable, but we’ve also been thoughtful and strategic. We’ve embraced our role as leaders, and we’ve said what needed to be said when it needed to be said.

Over the course of the last 100 years, there’s been vast change in the world, and our industry has had to adapt to and, at times, even guide that change. Our staple business may have started with ships, cargo and fire, but today we address natural catastrophe, terrorism, cyber liability, climate change and a whole host of other unpredictable loss events. The Council is a reflection of our member brokers’ grit to uncover some of the toughest issues the world is facing and seek new ways to mitigate risk for their clients.

Every uncertainty the industry has faced over the last century—the Great Depression, workers comp or riot insurance, 9/11, the Spitzer investigation, countersignature fee laws, Obamacare or anti-rebating—has opened doors for your firms to expand into new areas of business and to innovate with new solutions for your clients. As an industry, you’ve seen change as opportunity, not as a threat.

“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” Winston Churchill said it. We’ve embraced it.

If I’ve learned anything during my 25-year tenure at The Council, it’s that you understand to remain relevant and survive in the world’s ever-changing environment, we must be nimble and have vision. What makes a good broker is the ability to look at an issue in the context of where the opportunities are. I’ve never bought into the “because we’ve always done it that way” approach to doing business. Industry moves too fast, and business evolution is too sophisticated for tunnel vision.

Our industry has long been an incubator for great ideas and new initiatives that have changed the way we live and work globally. Many of those ideas and problem-solving efforts were born at our venerable and widely attended Insurance Leadership Forum, which for the last century has played an instrumental role in shaping the direction of the industry. The meeting is known worldwide as the pivotal place for market leaders in the industry to meet and conduct business. I believe the values that have driven the meeting for 100 years will be the hallmarks that guide us long into the future: integrity, honesty, transparency and smarts.

We’ve been blessed to work for high-energy member firms and the talented executives who lead them, and though our organization is small in size, it is large in market impact. The great strength of The Council as a collective group is what allows us to stay one step ahead and anticipate what’s around the corner.

It is a point of great personal privilege to be leading this organization into the next century, and my vision for The Council going forward is a simple one: Continue to create the best possible environment to help your businesses thrive and grow. I’ve never been worried about what happened yesterday unless it’s instructive to what we should be doing tomorrow. Our motto is “Think Forward.” for a reason.

I don’t worry about what happened yesterday unless it’s instructive to what we should be doing tomorrow.

In 1968, our association President Cliff C. Jones summarized this well in his state of the organization address: “Our traditions are important, but we have learned that tradition should be used as a rudder to guide, but never as an anchor to hold us back.”

So this anniversary is a moment to reflect…but not reflect too long. We have things to do.

Today we celebrate 100 years. Tomorrow we get back to work. Day one of the next 100 years begins now.

Ken Crerar CEO, The Council Read More

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