Aon CEO Urges Courageous Leadership During The Insurance Industry's Pivotal Moment

Aon CEO Urges Courageous Leadership During The Insurance Industry's Pivotal Moment

Aon CEO Urges Courageous Leadership During The Insurance Industry's Pivotal Moment - Insurance companies must innovate in order to survive, but they must do so with less resources while still addressing customer demands that are constantly evolving and financial hardships.

This pivotal moment in the history of the industry is attributed to leaders being courageous and emotionally intelligent, according to Marguerite Soeteman-Reijnen, chairman of the executive board of Aon Holdings BV, the company that is the legal owner of over 400 different Aon companies.

She delivered this message during a keynote address at the Insurtech Insights Europe 2023 summit in London last week.

Innovation is concerned with addressing unmet needs, she explained to an audience of insurance and insurtech leaders, speaking about meeting the need. However, what we see is that in our business, we're asked to do more with less. The infinite growth at a finite limit is simply inconceivable."

Soetman-Reijnen will retire as chairman on April 1st, 2023 after having served for 33 years in the company, Aon announced on Thursday (March 9th).

'Not much has changed since yesterday'

During her speech, Soetman-Reijnen reflected on the changes she had witnessed in the industry over time. However, she also acknowledged that insurance was lagging behind the fast-moving field of technology, such as Amazon and Google, to the point that consumers were experiencing problems.

Every time I return to London, the feeling is that nothing has changed since yesterday, said Soetman-Reijnen. Still, there is much to be accomplished.

While large companies are situated to remain in the market for decades to come, newer companies must contend with the ongoing battle for importance.

Data and technology, which is already plentiful, will have the greatest impact on innovation. However, the change must come from the insurance companies themselves, Chairman Aon Holdings said.

"How can we maintain relevance and ensure that the products and services we produce meet the unmet needs of consumers?" How do we learn and alter our business models in order to adapt to changing circumstances in our organizations?" Soetman-Reijnen asked leaders. That is the greatest obstacle.

Emotionally intelligent leadership

Organizations can more readily innovate if their leaders are emotionally intelligent, Soetman-Reijnen argued.

"If you have a singular product that you believe is pertinent to the world, you want to ensure that it's being followed." Emotional intelligence is crucial in conveying the message and ensuring that people follow it."

The significance of emotionally intelligent leadership has been profoundly felt across the global workforce as a result of the pandemic. However, there is not enough of it in the highest echelons of leadership, as per Soetman-Reijnen.

"The more senior [leaders] become in the company hierarchy, the less emotional intelligence they possess," she cited a study by the World Economic Forum.

Other than being able to respond and accommodate their employees, emotionally intelligent leaders are better equipped to deal with innovation and change.

The most significant aspect of this particular moment in the history of the world we live in is how you adapt. Can you demonstrate the necessary situational awareness to bring your product or service to the people who need it the most?" Soetman-Reijnen asked.

Adaptability is one of the most significant attributes of leadership, as it allows individuals to alter and adapt to changes when necessary. However, Soetman-Reijnen also discussed the importance of resilience and learning to "fail early and smart" as crucial skills for leaders.

Taking a step down as chairman of Aon Holdings

"True leadership is when people follow you even if you are no longer present," Soeteman-Reijnen said, who will be leaving Aon after having spent more than three decades with the company.

She has participated in several leadership positions during her time at the global financial services company, including the position of global chief marketing officer for Aon Inpoint.

Outside of the company, she has participated in various non-executive and ambassadorial positions, including membership of the global alumni board of Harvard Business School and the American Chamber of Commerce's board of directors.

She has also advocated for the empowerment of women as an ambassador for UWC Maastricht, she supported their MENA Women Empowerment initiative.

Eric Andersen, president of Aon, said that the company would host a symposium in celebration of Soeteman-Reijnen's work at a later date.

On behalf of her colleagues at Aon, I want to recognize Marguerite for 33 years of service to the company and the multitude of contributions she made to our business, corporate governance, and inclusion and diversity initiatives. We hope that she has the best of luck in this new phase of her career, said Andersen in a statement.

Soeteman-Reijnen expressed her appreciation for being honored by the company and having the opportunity to pursue her ambitions regarding risk, leadership, inclusion, and diversity within and outside of the company.

During my transition from trainee to Chairman of Aon Holdings BV, I had the opportunity to work with many talented individuals from different backgrounds, all of whom shared my passion for the company's goal of working with clients to improve business decisions.

"It is the appropriate time to pursue my interest in pursuing new dreams and new challenges."

How can the insurance industry innovate amidst today's risks and challenges? Comment on your ideas below.

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