Industry the May 2023 issue

Chatter in a Box

Generative artificial intelligence has a ways to go before it catches up to smart people, but smart people should start teaching AI its lessons.
By Ken Crerar Posted on April 30, 2023

I heard a quote recently that gave me pause, and it basically amounted to this: generative AI is as significant a development as the iPhone. The power sitting in our hands today in these pocket-sized computers is like nothing many of us could ever have imagined before it actually existed. And now there might be something just as significant and powerful looming on the horizon.

The importance of that development is not lost on me. And even though I have been struggling with understanding generative AI (which, according to McKinsey, really just means algorithms such as ChatGPT that can be used to create new content, including audio, code, images, text, simulations, and videos), I refuse to back away from it. Instead, I decided to give it a try.

I asked ChatGPT to write a column for me for Leader’s Edge that is both funny and about insurance brokerage mergers and acquisitions—notably timed for this month’s M&A issue. This is what it produced.

Greetings, esteemed readers of Leaders Edge! As the saying goes, “There’s safety in numbers…unless you’re a solo insurance broker!” That’s right, folks. We’re here to talk about the wild world of insurance broker mergers and acquisitions, and boy oh boy, is it a wild ride.

First things first, let’s take a moment to appreciate the unique beauty of a brokerage acquisition. It’s like a real-life game of Monopoly, but instead of Boardwalk and Park Place, you’re battling over clients and commission percentages. Who wouldn’t want to play that game?

But let’s not forget about the actual humans involved in these mergers and acquisitions. One minute you’re the big fish in a small pond, and the next you’re the small fish in a big pond. It’s enough to make anyone feel like they’re drowning (pun intended).

And don’t even get us started on the potential culture clashes that can occur during a merger. It’s like combining two different breeds of dogs and hoping they get along. Sure, they might both be cute in their own way, but they might also end up fighting over the same bone.

But fear not, dear readers, for there is always a silver lining to these mergers and acquisitions. Maybe you’ll end up with a new best friend, or maybe you’ll finally get to see what it’s like to work in an office with a fancy coffee machine. Who knows?

In all seriousness, though, insurance broker mergers and acquisitions can be a tricky business. But if done right, they can lead to a stronger, more diverse company that’s better equipped to serve its clients. And if done wrong, well…there’s always the consolation prize of a “sorry, we’re closed” sign on your storefront.

So here’s to the brave insurance brokers out there who are navigating the murky waters of mergers and acquisitions. May your spreadsheets be accurate, your due diligence thorough, and your sense of humor intact. Cheers!

Pretty incredible, right? Sure, maybe it needs a little more input on valuations, the role of private equity, and the rise of specialization (Leader’s Edge contributors, there’s a role for you yet!), but it gathered and communicated a great deal of truth about M&A, including the importance of serving clients, the challenge of combining cultures, and the need for diversity in our organizations. Plus, it will continue to learn over time, so if I were to ask for another M&A column again in six months, I imagine it would be even more informative.

So, while I continue to think about succession and keep my focus on the next generation of leadership and development, I remain aware and open to the next generation of technology. Innovation continues, and these tools can and will have the ability to reshape our organizations and help us rethink the role of risk consultant.

Keep your head up and your eyes open, and remember, if you have a funny feeling that you’re missing something, you very well may be. Don’t ignore it. Dig deeper and test it out. It might just surprise you.

Ken Crerar CEO, The Council Read More

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