Columbus CEO recently ran a profile on the IIRC’s co-chair, Dave Kaufman, who is also the CEO of Motorists Insurance. (See columbusceo.com.) Dave talked about a lot of great things happening at Motorists and in the industry. He also mentioned things like circular dialogue, diverse thinking and culture over strategy. What does that all mean, and why would you want it in your job?
We asked a few folks at Motorists to help us understand.
Jenni Stapleton, commercial lines underwriter, notes that for Motorists circular dialogue “is how meetings are conducted, in person and over the phone. It means that everyone has the opportunity to speak without interruption and everyone has an equal opportunity to voice their opinions and spark conversations.” For Jenni, it has driven her to show up to meetings prepared – to participate and to really listen to others.
Cameron Ruffer, assistant to the CEO, explains that diverse thinking happens when people bring their different perspectives to the discussion. He says that, “When we have this group of people who don’t all approach a problem the same way, we come up with a really great set of solutions.”
Andrew Pfingstler, risk management assistant, adds that at Motorists, he and his colleagues know that they matter. “It’s like playing soccer,” he says, “I play better when I trust my teammates. We’re in it together, and that makes a difference.” That’s what culture over strategy is – it’s about the people.
The business of insurance is about helping people; protecting people, their businesses and their property. Many in the industry compare it to “putting a warm blanket over their clients’ shoulders when they need it most” – after a home fire or when they require medical attention, for instance.