Lifestyle Personal Lines the July/August 2012 issue

Peter Lynch, President, Lexisnexis Insurance Exchange

This industry is built on sales, products and underwriting. There’s not enough focus on efficiency and technology.
By Chris Hann Posted on July 10, 2012
Q
Tell me a little about your business.
A
The insurance exchange is a marketing and distribution platform that helps facilitate the marketing of risks between brokers and carriers. Brokers are looking for cradle-to-grave process improvement. There’s so much coordination that happens, from broker to customer to carrier. This platform gives us a way to help brokers drive business, help carriers get the business they want and to do so within an efficient system.
Q
Where did you grow up?
A
I grew up in Wantagh, New York, on the south shore of Long Island. I went to Chaminade High School in Mineola, and then to Cornell University. Ithaca’s a beautiful town; however, a little weather-challenged.
Q
What do you do when you’re not working?
A
My wife, Barbara, and I have two kids who take up a lot of our time. My daughter is a junior at Holy Cross. She’s plays volleyball and has had a great career. She’s been All-Patriot League all three years and is 28 kills away from setting the school scoring record. Our son is a senior in high school. He’s going to West Point. For as long as I can remember, he has had a desire to go to West Point. He’s worked hard for it, and we’re very proud of him. We’ve been blessed with great kids and a terrific marriage.
Q
Do you have a favorite place to travel to?
A
I have a house on Candlewood Lake in Connecticut. It’s been a place I’ve been going to for 50 years. I ended up buying a house next to my parents up there. Of any place in the world, that’s the place I like to go to unwind. It’s the place I identify as home more than anywhere. My kids had the experience of growing up next to their grandparents. In this day and age, that’s a unique experience.
Q
Any hobbies?
A
I like to play golf, although I’m not very good. Most people like to play with me because I show them parts of the course they never knew existed.
Q
You spent part of your twenties traveling the country doing standup comedy. I bet not many insurance executives have that line on their résumés.
A
It’s a unique way of life. For three and a half years it was my full-time job, although I did hedge my bet and got an MBA from the University of Houston. I mostly performed at colleges and clubs. My last full-time year, I performed more than 270 shows. It gets to a point where you have to decide whether this is going to be your life or not. I decided it wasn’t.
Q
Do you rely on your experience as a comic in your business career?
A
I think comedy is a great equalizer. It gets you out of tough spots. When you’re up on stage, you become pretty self-sufficient. You tend to adapt or fail.
Q
Do you have a funniest insurance joke?
A
You’ve been around a lot of the brokers. They’re a lot funnier than most comics are.
Q
What do you tell young people starting their careers today?
A
So many people I try to mentor now are looking at a formulaic career path. I tell them the world doesn’t work in formulaic ways. You have to have the right balance of aggressiveness and humility. Put yourself in the place you want to be and then let life happen.
Q
How would people you work with describe your management style?
A
I think collaborative and strategic. I believe you need to hire good folks and let them do their job.
Q
If you could change the industry, what would you do?
A
Spend more time focusing on operations and technology. This industry is built on sales, products and underwriting. There’s not enough focus on efficiency and technology. I think there’s a lot of competitive edge people can get if they do that.
Q
What gives you your leader’s edge in this industry?
A
I think experience. I’ve been around this business from many different perspectives—the carrier perspective, vendor perspective, operational perspective, product perspective, claims, underwriting. I see it in a lot of different ways.

THE LYNCH FILE  

AGE: 51
HOMETOWN: Mendham, N.J.
FAMILY: Wife, Barbara (married 22 years); daughter, Megan, 21; son, Timmy, 17
WHEELS: Lexus 460
LAST BOOK READ: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
LAST MOVIE WATCHED: Moneyball
LAST VACATION: Key West

Chris Hann Associate Editor Read More

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